Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Gen. 2:24 ESV
To pledge myself completely in marriage is to forsake former allegiances. I vow to make my spouse’s welfare my priority after my relationship with God. Parents of newlyweds will feel the shift. Mothers will feel a sense of loss over sons who have pledged themselves to a bride. If the relationship was close, the sense of leaving and replacement will be profound.
Fathers will feel a lump in their throat as they walk their daughter down the aisle to give her to another. He knows she is on the cusp of leaving – and then cleaving to someone new. She will dwell under the umbrella and shade of a new man. Her quest for wisdom, protection and encouragement will all fall on her groom.
I remember the morning after our daughter’s marriage ten years ago. Her bedroom was strangely empty. I knew in my gut that she wasn’t away at college or on a weekend trip out of town. She wouldn’t be back to sleep in her twin bed again. Our house was no longer her primary home. I felt the ache and it was magnified by an unfortunate case of pneumonia. That just intensified my emotions.
When a groom doesn’t leave his parents emotionally, he can’t cleave. When he’s consumed with bowing to his parent’s wishes and feels the pressure of them breathing down his neck, he will be too intimidated to take a stand when his bride needs to know she comes first. Feeling threatened, she will ask him to choose in a thousand different ways and if he is not strong enough to know God’s ways in his new marriage, he will cause his wife to feel he can’t be trusted with her heart.
When a wife can’t leave home, she can’t cleave either. Her security still rests with her father, or mother, and pleasing them takes priority over her husband’s wishes. Feeling threatened, he feels his leadership has eroded. He feels disrespected, betrayed, and rejected. If she cannot cut the apron strings, he will feel he can never earn her respect. He is not allowed to be a man. He will feel like a child, her parent’s child.
Leaving and cleaving are found throughout scripture, and it expands beyond the boundaries of marriage. I am to leave and forsake the kingdom of darkness and cleave to Christ. I am to dwell under His umbrella and live under the protection of His household. I bear His name and my identity is forever changed. I am to let Him lead me no matter how different His ways seem than the ways of my former life. He loves me enough to lay down His life for me and I love Him enough to respond wholeheartedly with my unwavering allegiance.
Strengthen marriages today. Teach husbands and wives how to navigate new boundary lines with wisdom. Amen