In my last post, I wrote about the complementary nature of a ministry marriage. I want to explore this issue a little further and take a closer look at the spiritual power and synergy that comes from a husband and wife serving God together.
When describing his love for Adrianne, Rocky Balboa stated, “ She’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.” I don’t know a better way to describe the complementary nature of marriage. We all “got gaps” and in God’s divine plan, a married couple balances out their strengths and weaknesses.
But its more than that – when two people come together with a mutual love for Christ and a desire to serve Him together, they produce synergy . Synergy is defined as “two or more things functioning to produce a result not independently obtainable.” In other words, “the whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Alone, each person has gifts and abilities. But put together, for common use, those gifts and abilities are magnified and empowered. To put it in Rocky’s terms, while as married couples we fill each others gaps, together we fill OTHER people’s gaps.
Paul refers to this idea in 1 Corinthians 3:9, “We are God’s fellow workers …” The Greek synergos, from which we get the word “synergy”, means “working together” and is used to refer to “one who labors with another in furthering the cause of Christ” (Strong’s G4904).
The church father, Tertullian (160-225 AD), put it this way: “How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice, both servants of the Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together, instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake of God’s banquet, side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their sorrow to each other’s hearts. To such as these God gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present.”
Obviously, the early church noticed and valued the synergy and significant influence of a married couple, active in worship and service together in their communities. As twenty first century spiritual leaders, our marriages should continue to model this principle.
Perhaps you have seen the old illustration that describes this principle. If you try to break one pencil in two, it easily breaks. But add another pencil, and it is almost impossible to break the two together. This is synergy – part of the mystery of a Christ centered marriage. I have heard my husband say in hundreds of wedding ceremonies: “In a marriage of believers, one plus one does not equal two, rather it equals three.” So, while husband and wife each fulfill their God-given role, they also bring an influence and witness to the power of God, which is much greater than just the two of them.