TWO BETTER THAN ONE
Date: August 17
Category: Marriage and Relationships
"Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken."
The book of Ecclesiastes is a wonderful book that teaches us the balance of life. It's one of my favourite books to read. These verses here teach us that two people are better than one. For example, when two people are working together, they benefit a greater reward than one person working by himself. For example, let's look at marriage. If both spouses aren't in agreement with one another and they're constantly pulling in their own direction, then they cannot be as strong as they would be if they were in agreement. That's why it's so important to always be in unity in marriage. Many people in marriage try to change the other person. But instead we should allow God to use that other person to change us.
We all were created differently. We all have a unique imprint of God on our characters. Some people describe that as a person's temperament. The discovery of temperaments predates the Christian era. Around 450 BC, Hippocrates divided humanity into four basic temperaments: Sanguinic, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Melancholic. This classification of character was usually accepted during the middle ages. But in modern times, psychologists have disregarded it even though recently Christian writers have renewed an interest in and are still accepting the study of temperaments.
Sanguinics are extroverts. They have a happy-go-lucky approach to life. They're warm, lively, and like to be the heart of any party. But feelings rather than reflective thoughts predominate the formation of their decisions.
Phlegmatics are people who lack the sparkle of the Sanguinics, but you can count on them not to rock the boat. They're the easiest of the four temperaments to get along with. They're not overly passionate people and they have no need for attention. They're cool and timid, but they have much more emotion than it appears on the surface.
Cholerics are hot, quick, practical and pragmatic. They're very strong-willed people, and their zeal even extends to their emotions. They tend to be hot-tempered people, but what they embrace becomes so important in their lives. Cholerics are natural born leaders and achievers. They're very independent and self-sufficient people. They recognize and seize opportunities quickly, but they lose patience quickly as well.
On the other hand, Melancholic people are those who enjoy art and the higher things in life. It is said that melancholics long for heaven so much that nothing on earth is good enough for them, which often makes them very gloomy and depressed. They're far more dedicated than cholerics. Because of their timidity, they're slow to embrace new friends, new ideas, and new courses of action.
These are just brief descriptions of the four temperaments. Now in relationships opposites attract. Usually people marry because of the opposite qualities. A sanguinic person will be attracted to a melancholic person. A choleric person will be attracted to a phlegmatic person. Those differences are what brings them together. But once they marry, the very things that initially attracted them now starts pulling them away. That often leads to both spouses trying to change the other person. But we should never do that. We should celebrate and embrace those differences and allow God to use our spouse to change us. Once we realize that, then we will begin to cleave closer to each other rather than try to pull away from one another.
So two people are better than one. But those two people have to understand how to be in agreement and work together. There are greater rewards for their labour, it says in verse 9. Then in verse 10 it says that if one person falls, the other person will lift them up. Verse 11 says that two people keep each other warm whereas one person cannot keep himself warm. Then in verse 12 it says that if an opposition comes, two people can withstand him if they are together.
So it's so important to understand that two people, who are working together in agreement, will receive a greater and more satisfying reward than one person working by himself. But in order to be in agreement, you need to understand your own temperament and the temperament of the other person. Once you understand those differences, then you have to accept those differences, embrace them, and work hard to become the kind of person that is pleasing to your spouse. That is what will make your marriage strong. After all, two are better than one.