Three strands better than 2 – a wedding address

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble. If you sleep alone, you won’t have anyone to keep you warm on a cold night. Someone might be able to beat up one of you, but not both of you. As the saying goes, “A rope made from three strands of cord is hard to break.”

Friends, after 25 years of Marriage and 4 kids, I think I have discovered the secret of living a happy marriage. It is this – (a frayed rope about 2 metres long with three strands – one coloured red)) the worst looking rope you could probably get. It is frayed and looking tattered in parts, but it is still strong despite the occasional frayed bit – strong enough to hold together – sometimes well, sometimes only just – but strong.

This rope is strong because it has three strands, not only two. A rope of three strands is not easily broken – not as easily as one of only two strands. Of course, you obviously already believe this because you know a particular word of God from, of all places, Ecclesiastes. This belief is a great gift of God for you!

The third strand is God’s presence, promise and power for living. The third partner in your relationship for life is God, Father, Son and Spirit, the One who created you and this relationship, Saves you from meaninglessness and fear and even death, and Helper in this sacred calling of companionship for life.

“COMPANIONSHIP” – now there is the other secret. The secret of marriage is “Companionship”. Doesn’t sound too “sexy” does it? But it is true.

Of course nearly everything in our media and culture say the opposite.

On one hand we have a very idealistic view that one person (our partner) can do it all for us. We seem to believe that marriage is all about great sexuality and lots of stuff; As if marriage is all about our being Mr Right/Mrs Right – able and willing to meet all of our needs and provide all of the hopes and dreams we have for things.

The truth is that no one can do this!

Like the rope, there is plenty in us that is frayed, not pretty and at time quite weak.

On the other hand, we are all a bit worried and maybe scared about marriage. What if our partner does not or cannot meet all the expected benefits I want? What of my partner calls a spade a spade and ask ME TO CHANGE?

But the good news is that there is the God-way of marriage –

God way of marriage is not only about self-fulfilment or achieving your dreams.

God’s way of life-long relationship of companionship and love is about this:

Someone said, “marriage is learning to love the stranger to whom you find yourself married”.

So, marriage is a constant learning lifestyle.

We might think we know each other when we get married, and I reckon you know each other pretty well. But from today your relationship changes into another sphere, both of you in new territory. There’s more to learn of each other. And you can’t know each other fully in the future until you get there together. So either way we have to learn. We have to learn the other person.

And what love? Love in marriage is all about “Doing for your spouse what God does for you in Jesus”. Everything else will follow.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran Pastor in the WW2 era said this in a wedding sermon:

“Until now, you’ve been held together by your love, but from now on your love will be held together by your marriage.”

We are praying that you learn a lot about love and life together in Jesus and see what he is doing in each other as you live the gift of life-long companionship in every part of life.

Learn to love, give, serve, pray for, commit to, understand, appreciate….

You have the THIRD STRAND to help you be best friends, companions in life and all else that come from being best friends.

Amen

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