chord-of-three-strands‘A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart’ (Ecclesiastes 4: 12)

          The principle from which Solomon starts, “ Two are better than one”, agrees with the reason that God gave a mate for Adam, “It is not good for the man to be alone”.(Genesis 2:18) Solomon goes on to give examples that clearly illustrate this principle: when two are together and one falls, the other can help him up; if two are attacked, together they can drive off  the attacker. On the three strands case, the strength is supplied not merely by two together but by three together. Solomon’s “two together” example illustrates the concept of marriage on the human plane, a horizontal relationship, merely between a man and a woman. “ Cord of three strands” illustrates marriage as it was conceived at creation, a binding together of three persons: a man, a woman and God.

A professional rope maker says that the strongest rope is a threefold rope. The largest number of strands that can all, touch one another is three. If you take away one and leave only two, obviously you weaken the rope. But if you add an extra strand and make four, you do not add to the strength of the rope because all the strands no longer touch one another. If you have a rope of three strands one or even two of the strands may be under pressure and start to fray. But as long as the third strand holds, the rope will not break.

There come times of strain when both husband and wife may begin to weaken and feel unable to hold out. But God Himself is that third strand and He holds on until the strain is eased and both husband and wife can be healed and restored. The principle which intervenes the strands and holds them together is covenant. Clearly this makes covenant an essential element of a successful marriage. Covenant leads to shared life and fruitfulness, life that is not shared remains sterile and fruitless.

God has made it clear; It is a covenant commitment-on the vertical plane to God Himself, on the horizontal plane, to our mates. When Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of Great Britain, his marriage was considered one of the best examples in England of true loyalty and love. Often when he gave a speech in the House of Commons, he would not begin until he had received a sign from her. Later in his life, someone interviewed Mr. Churchill and asked, “If you could live again, what would you want to be? With a twinkle in his eye, Churchill replied,“ Mrs. Churchill’s next husband.” What a monumental complement for one’s wife.