When couples exchange nuptials they probably aren’t thinking about being independent in marriage, but there is a need for independence. Without it, couples can feel stiffed and cramped, and sadly most marriages find the path to independence often through a divorce. Freedom in marriage is necessary, but when freedom is untamed, it can be destructive. Thankfully, there are ways to find happy independence inside of marriage!
Bible Based Dependence
One of the most quoted verses at Christian weddings is Ecclesiastes 4:12. Pastors use this verse to point to a couple’s dependence on God and spouse. It serves as a constant reminder that while alone we will fail, together we will stand strong.
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
– Ecclesiastes 4:12
What most fail to notice are the three distinct strands that comprise this cord. A cord is made of a myriad of individual strands wound, woven or braided together in some fashion. Individually each strand impacts the integrity of the rope. If a strand is worn, snagged or outright cut, the strength of the rope is compromised.
Independent and Together
A spouse bears the responsibility to stay whole, unsnagged and intact. Remaining personally responsible for one’s actions, attitudes and behaviors determine the strength of unity. Unfortunately, many individuals crumble beneath the pressures of work, family, and finances. They turn to vices that wear and chafe the cord’s sheaf placing a burden on the remaining strands.
Husbands and Wives Safeguard Independence
Husbands and wives must work to safeguard the independence of the other. Rather than complaining that a spouse, “Isn’t who s/he was when we got married….I would have made a different decision if I’d known s/he would turn out like this….” each spouse must own the responsibility of allowing the other to act and continue to grow into who s/he is created to be. This requires diligent prayer and, often, a copious amount of faith in God’s plan for a spouse because it directly impacts one’s life.
Hope When Weak
A lifetime of marriage brings seasons of unavoidable struggle. When both spouses find themselves frayed or downright cut, there is still the hope of the ultimate strand. A marriage cannot survive without the strength God provides. Spouses will undoubtedly fail, but God’s commitment never wanes, frays or fails.
Standing Strong Uniquely Together
It’s not impossible to be a couple standing strongly and uniquely together. Accepting that God is at work in both your heart and your spouse’s heart and that you and your spouse WILL change throughout your lifetime prepares your heart for the adventure of marriage.