Friday, February 25, 2011

Story Bible Moms: There Were Three in the Bed and the Little One Said...

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
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.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

Although not one of the more conventional "wedding verses," this was the scripture passage read at our wedding. Or course, I really like it. I think it really highlights some of the best parts about being married. Being a stay at home mom, I have gained a new appreciation for the first line, about having a good return for one's labor. The truth is (and all the parents out there know this one), practically no one tells you you're doing a good job parenting. You might get the random criticism from a stranger at the grocery story, or dirty looks from people who think children should be seen and not heard (did those people ever have children?!), but praise for a parenting situation well done is few and far between. Enter your spouse - the one person who knows what it is you're dealing with, and can offer you some appreciation and support.

As newlyweds, the bit about two keeping each other warm in the bed made me giggle. But five years and one (almost two) kids later, I see the wisdom that the old preacher was getting at when he said this. Yeah, this is literally true (the bed really is warmer with two), and true in other ways too. But the metaphor goes beyond this. Life is warmer with two than with one. It is easier to weather life's storms, to keep out those cold blasts of misfortune and trouble, when you have someone to snuggle up with.

And the last line of this verse is the most enigmatic of all: "A three strand cord is not easily broken." So far, we've been talking about two, and suddenly, there's three. The obvious thing, and definitely true, is that with God in your marriage, it becomes stronger, closer, and better than with just the two of you. But lately, I've been thinking that there's another kind of addition that makes a family stronger and closer: children. Even if it's a simple matter of presenting a unified front when it comes to "eat your peas," or something more complex, like all sitting down together to say night time prayers, the three of us are stronger than two.

However, I will say that while two in the bed is warm, three in the bed can sometimes be crowded, and in anticipation of a fourth strand to our cord, Hannah has been demoted to a sleeping bag on the floor next to Mama and Daddy's bed for her nighttime wanderings.

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