And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

This verse is often used in marriage ceremonies, and it is fitting to describe how we should look at our relationship with our spouse. The analogy is one of a three-strand cord with God as the center strand. In most cord making the goal is to wrap two strands of one material around a central “high tenacity” core of a different material. The effect is that the cord as a whole is stronger as the energy is transferred through the core and dispersed in a way that helps keep the outer strands from breaking.

In his devotional, Daily Strength For Men, Chris Bolinger takes this idea a step further and challenges his readers to apply this to all relationships.

Want a stronger marriage? A stronger bond with a family member? A stronger friendship? Wrap your relationship around God. He’s as tenacious as they come.

From Daily Strength For Men by Chris Bolinger

In one sense, you could say that with Christ at the center of your relationship He can carry the heavy burdens or tensions of life and we can wrap our lives around Him, resting on His strength. I think this is a helpful way to view all relationships and is certainly how this three-strand analogy is used most of the time.

Another way I like to think of this analogy for myself individually is with myself as the core strand and the outer strands are what I choose to strengthen myself with. In cord making, the center strand is used to help provide tension and strength while the outer strands also help to support the center strand and to protect it so that it doesn’t become compromised. In the same way, what I choose to surround myself with will determine how at risk I am of being “compromised”. In my life, this manifests itself through my daily pursuits with my time. If my time is spent pursuing my own comfort or pleasure, then I am acting on my own and am a single strand that is easily broken.

If, I instead choose to devote my time to studying Scripture, praying, spending time with my wife, teaching my children, or investing in my friends in a meaningful way, I am surrounding myself with the blessings that God designed me for. I am receiving His strength through His Word and prayer. I am investing that strength into my relationships and what I’ve found when this is the case, is that this strength doesn’t leave me.

Like many men in our society today, I suffer from “burnout” pretty regularly. But, I’ve learned over the years that this burnout is a symptom of a larger problem in my life. I am no longer relying on God’s strength or walking in His will for my life. I am instead pursuing things that bring me happiness and neglecting those people or things that He has placed in my life to both care for and strengthen me.

What do you “wrap” around yourself in your life that may be causing unnecessary stress or burnout?