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sam-manns-378189.jpgWhen God looked at the first human he created he said “It is not good for the man to be alone”.  I believe he was making a statement that has echoed through time from then till now.  Yes, God proceeded to “make him a helper suitable for him”, his wife Eve, but scripture seems to bear out the principle of the benefit of two even outside of marriage.

Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 reiterates the concept.  “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.  But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.”

In work, in friendships, in sickness and in health, good times and bad, there are countless benefits to having someone come alongside you.  

Last week I was visited by my friend Melanie with whom I have shared a friendship for almost 30 years.  We initially met dropping off our toddlers in the church nursery.  Later I moved to Alaska and she moved to Florida.  Neither change of address nor change of life circumstances has altered the friendship we have shared.  Through multiple life changes we have managed to stay connected.

During the week she was here we spent a lot of time reminiscing about both the challenges and the victories we have shared over the past three decades. We have prayed for each other’s children, over jobs, over moves, over things we could control and things we couldn’t.  We have loved each other faithfully and well.  And with the exception of the three years we lived in the same community, it has all been long distance.  Occasional visits and phone calls have kept us abreast of each other’s lives and cemented a friendship which has benefited us both.  And because we don’t always see eye to eye on every issue our conversations expand our thinking and perspectives.

In work, in friendships, in sickness and in health, good times and bad, there are countless benefits to having someone come alongside you.  

Partnerships are great for dividing the work load and multiplying results.  My assistant, Kate, is a young thirty-something who grew up in the digital age.  Her technical skills and awareness of millennial sensibilities have been so helpful to me in my writing.  It is a partnership I value highly and one which increases my ability to reach readers cross generationally.

While sharing skill sets is a definite plus of the benefit of two, sharing accountability is another great asset.  I have mentioned in an earlier blog that my writer friend, Helena, is partly the reason my blog even exists.  I asked her to hold me accountable and gave her permission to ask for weekly reports on my progress in starting something I knew I wanted to accomplish in the field of writing.  

Maybe you have a workout partner, a prayer partner, or even a close friend whom you have allowed to hold you accountable in a certain area of your life.   Just having that one person to answer to can make all the difference in the world in our choices and our actions.

Another benefit of the two is the sharing of information and resources.  My friend, Leisa, is an avid reader.  She actually sets her alarm an hour early just so she will have time to read before work in the mornings!  I am always interested in what she is currently reading and what insights she has gained.  Since we are both “bibliophiles” (a person who loves or collects books), we often trade titles for suggested reading.  And sometimes she will summarize a book for me so I feel as though I’ve gained its content without even having to read the book!

(As a side note, if you love great books but lack the time to read them you might want to subscribe to Vickie Henderson and Jasa Babb’s “The Heart of the Author” podcast.  Each week they review content and theme of a different book which not only gives you a great summation of the book but also introduces you to ones you might want to read for yourself later.)

Another benefit of the two is exposure to perspective and opinion which differs from your own.  Often when my husband and I are making business decisions I will take the opposite view of his general take on the subject just to help him think through all the ramifications involved.  Although he sometimes would just rather me agree with him and not raise objections, we both know our chances of a wise, well thought out plan are more likely if we have looked at all sides of the issue.

While marriage is intended to provide what I call The Three P’s: Procreation, Protection and Pleasure, I see these same fruits produced by many other units of two which are not a marital covenant.  For example, businesses are able to more successfully “birth life” when team mates are working in tandem.  My husband is a brilliant psychiatrist but is only able to produce to his fullest potential by linking his skills to those of his highly organized office manager and his dependable nurse practitioner.  It’s that principle in Ecclesiastes of the two having a “good return for their labor”.

In marriage a spouse ideally covers and compensates for the other’s weaknesses which provides a form of protection as we navigate life.  As Christ followers we are designed to provide protection for our brothers and sisters as well.  We will all experience times of intense trials where we feel incapable of overcoming our circumstances.  There are even times we will fall into sin or fall short of God’s best plan for our lives.  It is then when a loving, committed “other” who stands beside us and has faith for things which seem impossible covers us with the protection of their prayers.  In Ecclesiastes chapter 4 we find this verse, “Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone.”  Having that added reinforcement of another person can make all the difference in the world!

One of my greatest pleasures in life has been enjoying fulfilling friendships.  The companionship, camaraderie and comfort derived from these relationships is worth more than gold to me.  They are my truest wealth.  

 Having that added reinforcement of another person can make all the difference in the world!

When God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden, part of His plan was for them to enjoy the sheer pleasure of each other’s company.  It’s a gift from God to be able to share in a satisfying relationship.  And those relationships are certainly not restricted to that of husband and wife.  I’ve experienced immense pleasure from friendships with very young children, people from different cultures and backgrounds than mine as well as people who are similar in age and interests to my own.  Each relationship brings its own kind of pleasure but they all leave me enriched in various ways.

God didn’t intend for us to live this life alone.  Jesus usually sent disciples out in pairs for the purposes of ministry.  We are stronger, wiser and certainly more effective when we join our forces and walk together.  Indeed we are better when journeying this road two by two.