From the Heart – The “Cord of Three Strands”

By |Published On: July 3, 2023|Categories: From Our Founder|
A picture of Joni and Ken on their wedding day at the altar. Joni is seated in her wheelchair with her wedding dress on, Ken leaning over her. Both smiling at the camera.

More than four decades have passed since Ken and I began our married life in 1982.

And as we celebrate our wedding anniversary on July 3, I marvel at the fact that God has used every trial—every hurt and heartache—on our journey together to entwine us far more intimately together than we ever dreamed of on the day we got married.

It isn’t easy taking care of me, a quadriplegic who deals daily with pain.

But it’s the pain and the problems associated with my quadriplegia that have bound Ken and me together, just like that verse in Ecclesiastes that says two are better than one.

Here’s the thing: the more devastating the trials, the more God has wrapped us both around himself. God has used depression, chronic pain, cancer, and COVID—even far more than quadriplegia— to bind us together tighter than ever… to each other and to him.

That’s the “cord of three strands” that Ecclesiastes speaks about: husband, wife, and the Lord Jesus. If the man and woman twine their lives around each other in marriage, that’s good, and they’ll be stronger for it. But if both husband and wife twine themselves around Jesus Christ, that’s best of all. Because that’s a union that will hold through whatever life—or whatever hell—might throw at them.

It’s a beautiful picture, yet Ken and I are very aware that it isn’t true for every marriage. It’s especially difficult for couples dealing with disability. So many of those marriages just don’t survive the test because we live in a society that doesn’t know what to do with suffering. We do everything we can think of to escape it. We medicate it, mask it, surgically remove it, drug it, institutionalize it, divorce it, or even euthanize it—anything but live with it.

Suffering, however, isn’t about to go away—and marriage only magnifies it.

That’s why we need Marriage Getaways, Family Retreats, Warrior Getaways, and respite events. We’re committed to strengthening marriages, strengthening families, and strengthening faith in the Lord Jesus. I hope you find encouragement in knowing that, well, there’s a quadriplegic and her husband who are entwined around Jesus. Hang in there, Friend.

Life will not always be this hard, or marriage so difficult. There is coming a Day when something so glorious will appear, that it will supersede even the best marriage.

So, take a deep breath and let whatever’s troubling you go. After all, loving others and loving your spouse… well, it’s just another way, maybe the best way, of loving and serving God.



–Joni Eareckson Tada

Discover More of Joni and Ken’s Beautiful Love Story!

After 30 years of marriage, Ken and Joni offer readers a rare and candid account of their journey through quadriplegia, depression, pain, and cancer – and reveal a hope founded on God’s grace alone. Let their story inspire and encourage your own life and marriage!

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