It Takes Three

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 101


This past Sunday was a double celebration in our household. In the USA we celebrated Father’s Day but it was also our 45th wedding anniversary. That’s quite the double celebration! Today’s podcast is going to be a little different but I hope it will be encouraging to you.

Today’s scripture is: Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

This is Cindi Whitman with Restoring the Foundations. Today I want to give thanks to God for answered prayer and a tribute to my husband of 45 years. Before I get to the answered prayer part we need to look back. If you can stick with me for a walk down memory lane for a bit you’ll get to the reason we give God glory today!

Lee and I met in college. I wanted to go to a Christian college away from home. After visiting several Christian colleges in Illinois, California and Indiana I ended up at Taylor University in Indiana. At the time it was literally in the middle of a corn field. However, through a series of circumstances I believed that God had spoken clearly to me to go there. After deciding to accept the invitation to attend Taylor my decision was confirmed by another series of events. It was God confirming that I had heard from him. This was the first time that I knew that I had really heard God speak to me.

Lee was familiar with Taylor. He had a cousin that had attended there and had visited the campus. He wanted to play football and Taylor had a football team. He played quarterback for 4 years at Taylor.

We met in a Biblical Literature class as freshmen. I liked Lee as a person but I was not drawn to him for anything more. This is really shallow but I didn’t like the way he dressed. I had my sites set on an upperclassmen.

One of my best friends started dating Lee. She asked me what I thought of Lee. I told her I thought he was a really nice guy but just not my type. They dated off and on until the week prior to Spring Break. They officially broke up right before Spring Break 1976.

My roommate and I had signed up to go on a bicycle trip during Spring Break. It was sort of an outreach with a lot of bike riding. We rode 60+ miles a day on A1A in Florida. I was in a lot better shape back then! We stayed at camp grounds and community centers. We would do a modified Vacation Bible School at each of the places we stayed telling the kids about Jesus. The biking organization was called Wandering Wheels. They did trips like this all over the USA with college age students.

The 100+ college students were put into riding groups of 5-7 students. This way we were staggered on the road for safety. We were assigned a group we didn’t pick. Yep, you guessed it. Lee and I ended up in the same riding group. There were 7 of us including my roommate.

Lee and I somehow ended up in the back of the group. He was probably assigned to be the “rear guard” because of his size. We talked as we rode. I have to give you the picture here. I was not interested in Lee so I did nothing to try and impress him. I just didn’t think he was my type. He said that he didn’t think I’d give him the time of day so he was just himself. (I think that’s code for he thought I was stuck up!)

We were riding in Florida in March and I sunburn very easily. Back in that day there weren’t the dozens of sunblock choices that there are today. We had Zinc Oxide. For those of you who don’t have a clue what that is, let me explain. Zinc Oxide was a thick gooey white cream that you put wherever you didn’t want to burn. By day 3 of our 10 day trip I had Zinc Oxide on most of my face. The other parts of my body were covered with some other substance that was rather sticky. There was a fair amount of traffic on A1A and there seemed to be a lot of semi trucks. When semis go by you on a bicycle any dirt or sand that is on the road is blown around. In this case it stuck to every part of my light-skinned sun burned body. I was not a pretty picture.

For 10 days we rode next to each other and talked. Neither of us was trying to impress the other so we talked about all kinds of things. At the end of that trip a bond had been created and I was definitely interested in pursuing a relationship.

So, let’s fast forward. We began dating and we dated the remaining 3 years of college. During our Senior Year I knew that Lee was going to propose. We had talked about marriage and I knew it was coming. I was really seeking the Lord for his plans for my life. I remember one night when we were saying goodnight at the dorm entrance Lee told me that he loved me.
Normally, I would answer with I love you, too. However, this time with tears streaming down my face I said, “I think I love you enough.” Lee was taken back by my tears but he was wise in giving me a chance to process. For the next month I blew hot and cold in our relationship. I knew I had to have an answer to my question before I could commit to marriage.

You see, I was a list maker. I had the list of things that I loved about Lee and the things that bugged me on my list. Did I love him enough that I could put up with the list of things that bothered me? And what about the things I didn’t know about? That was the question.
Thankfully Lee was very patient with me. He didn’t pressure me to make up my mind. I spent many hours on my knees in our “prayer chapel” which was actually a closet that had been dedicated for quiet personal prayer. At the end of the month I knew that God had spoken to my heart. He said, “Give me your list. Do you see the things that you love about him? Yes, Lord. Now look at the things that you don’t love about him. He said that He could change those things if I would trust him.” This was the assurance I needed to say yes!

We got engaged and married June 16, 1979 a month after we graduated. Our adventure began!

Over the last 45 years we have had many ups and downs. I have seen God change my husband into the man I needed. About 10 years into our marriage I was extremely frustrated. I remember telling God, “I give up!” I think the angels sang that day. You see I had been trying to change the things about Lee that bugged me. How did I do that? By suggesting, by

encouraging, by strategizing which are all methods of control. I didn’t know I was controlling but that’s what I was doing. When I finally threw in the towel and let go of those methods God was able to work. I wish I could say that the results were overnight but God had to work on both of us. Did you notice that I said that God changed him into the man I needed, not the man I wanted? God knows what we need more than we do!

This last season has been tough. I had emergency back surgery in February. I had been to the ER 4 times within a couple of months. The good news is that the surgery was successful and the excruciating sciatic pain is gone. During these last 4 months Lee has had to do basically everything. About the only thing I could do was emails and ask him for help to pick something up off of the floor! I was not allowed to bend over at all. I never realized how many times a day you use your back to bend over. I accidentally forgot one day and bent to pick up something off of the floor. That was a big mistake! So, he was doing all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes and everything else. I also had to wake him up several times a night just to help me get out of bed or to get another ice pack. He has never once complained. This is the kind of stuff preachers are talking about in the wedding ceremony. It is the “for better or for worse”.

We have faced a lot of challenges during our marriage. (financial, communication, broken trust, heart attacks and others) Interestingly we took one of those personality tests about 10 years ago. The facilitators looked at our results and they said if we had done this before we got married they would have recommended that we not marry. The tests had shown that we were so different that there was a high probability of disagreement in just about everything. To me that was proof that God had done a miraculous work in both of us. His grace at work.

There was a time I used the “divorce” word. I was hurt and angry. So how have we done it? When we said, ‘I do”, we meant it. We promised each other at the beginning of our marriage that divorce would never be an option for us. Lee reminded me of that promise the day I uttered that “D” word. We have chosen to forgive and we’ve been diligent in pursuing him. We have sought healing for the wounds of our hearts.God has been faithful through every trial. He has restored us and redeemed us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

Marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. A covenant is different than a contract. A contract says, I’ll do my part if you’ll do your part. A covenant is an agreement by both parties that each will do their part even if the other doesn’t fulfill theirs. There have been times that both of us have chosen to stay in covenant even if the other wasn’t doing their part.

So, those of you who are seeking to find a mate, I would encourage you to focus on becoming the person that your “perfect” mate would choose. If you’re wanting to see change in your marriage I’d encourage you to seek healing for your own heart. When you live from a healed heart it’s contagious! Others want what you have. If you’re praying for your spouse to change in some way then I’d encourage you not to give up! Keep praying and release them to our heavenly Father. He works better when we let go! He is able to do exceedingly more abundantly than we can ask or imagine! Don’t focus on the negatives. Thank God for the man

or woman that he has given you. Let Him work on the things that need changing. Maybe he’ll start with you!

In closing I want to give thanks to our Father God for his faithfulness in our 45 years of marriage. Do you remember the list I talked about long ago? The things that were important God has miraculously changed. The other ones I don’t even remember. I am blessed to have the husband that I have. He has shown me in very practical ways his love for me. We have a great marriage now and God gets the glory. He has changed us both through the good and bad. Experiencing healing through RTF was a big part of our journey to a great marriage!

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” This is true in marriage. The third strand is God. When you’re both woven with him it is difficult to break.

Finally I want to share with you a poem that hung on our bedroom wall for years. It’s called Marriage Takes Three.

Marriage Takes Three by Perry Tanksley

I once thought marriage took
Just two to make a go, But now I am convinced It takes the Lord also.
And not one marriage fails Where Christ is asked to enter, As lovers come together
With Jesus at the center. But marriage seldom thrives, And homes are incomplete,
Till He is welcomed there To help avoid defeat.
In homes where Christ is first, It’s obvious to see,
Those unions really work, Marriage still takes three.


Father God I thank you today for my husband Lee and for the blessing he is to me. Thank you for working in us. Thank you for being there when we needed you to hold us together as the third strand of the cord. Thank you for the 3 children and 8 grandchildren that we have. Thank you that it is your sustaining love and faithfulness in our lives that has allowed us to celebrate 45 years of marriage.

Father I also pray for those that are in a difficult marriage or have lost their life partner. Comfort them. Be with them. Give them the assurance that you are always with them no matter what. Guide and direct them and heal their hearts. Give them hope.

Father and for those that have experienced a divorce heal their hearts. We know that only you can heal the deep wounds. Give them hope. We have no condemnation for them.

Thank you for listening to my walk down memory lane today. If you’re in need of heart healing please reach out to RTF. The tools we learned going through RTF radically changed our lives and the lives of thousands of others.

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.