This month we celebrate Independence Day. We can all be thankful for the courage and foresight of our country’s founding fathers. What a privilege to live free.
In marriage, however, independence can be a destructive force that pulls a couple apart rather than brings them closer together. A better word for marriage would be interdependence. Dictionary.com defines interdependence as “the quality or condition of being interdependent, or mutually reliant on each other.” What a great word for marriage!
Every couple can enjoy the spiritual blessings of being interdependent by acknowledging the following blessings outlined in Ecclesiastes 4.
Blessing One: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (v. 9 NIV).
Laura and I constantly say we have one brain between the two of us. It may not be true for you and your spouse, but after 31 years of marriage, we find that we do our best work when we work together. We see things from different perspectives, and that allows us to see the entire picture when facing a challenge. Working together on your marriage will bring a “good return for your labor.”
Blessing Two: “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (v. 10).
Last winter, I (Jay) contracted pneumonia. I slept all week to gain the strength needed to travel the next weekend for our Ultimate Date Night shows. As a result, Laura took care of everything around the house. She handled both her weekly duties and mine. There is no doubt in my mind that without her help, I would not have been able to perform each weekend.
Blessing Three: “Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” (v. 11).
While this passage certainly applies to cold winter nights, we also think it suggests the importance of having someone alongside you through the “cold days” life can throw at us, which have nothing to do with the weather. A spouse can speak encouraging words during tough times. And sometimes just being there, being “alongside,” is enough—no words necessary.
Blessing Four: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (v. 12).
When we stand together, whether the issue relates to the kids or a life decision, we can stand strong. When Christ is at the center of our relationship, it makes us even stronger. He is the third strand. Keeping Christ as the focal point of any marriage does not mean hardship will not come, but it does mean you and your spouse will have the strength to fight the battle together.
Independence was certainly a good idea for our country over 200 years ago. But interdependence is what will help your marriage thrive and grow. Take time to ask your spouse how each of you can become even more “mutually reliant on each other.”