Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Leaving and Cleaving and Becoming One"

Principle #1: Leave your parents and cleave to your spouse

Genesis 2:24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

Matthew 19:5 and said,' For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh'?

Ephesians 5:31 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.

INTRODUCTION: God created marriage and His word is the handbook and owner's manual. There are just a few biblical principals that can make a tremendous difference in our marriages if we apply them in our lives. The principle of "Leaving and Cleaving" is one of them.

Whenever a scripture appears in the Bible more than once, the Holy Spirit is making a special emphasis. Whenever a biblical truth appears in the book of Genesis, it is one of the fundamental truths of God's word. The principle of Leaving and Cleaving first appears in Genesis chapter two and appears again in the New Testament in both the words of Jesus and Paul. It opens to us a tremendously important biblical principle about marriage that we ignore at our own risk.

The first step in marriage is to leave your father and mother.
The top four causes of divorce are finances, sex, child discipline and interference or influence of the in-laws. Many marriages fail because the husband or wife fail to "leave" their father and mother. Biblically speaking, how do we leave our father and mother when the Bible also tells us to respect and honor them?
Changing Priorities
The issue is one of priority. The Bible is not telling us to cut off our relationship with our family, or to dishonor our parents -- it is telling us that we must be released from their authority and commit ourselves to our spouse. Our wife or husband becomes our family -- our spouse must become our first and highest priority!

In other words, if a man continues to prefer his mother over his wife and to put more priority on his mother's wishes than his wife's, he will damage his marriage and violate a basic spiritual law.

In the same way, if a wife continually compares her husband with her father and runs back home to "daddy and mommy" whenever there is a conflict in her marriage, she will also damage her relationship with her husband and endanger the future of her marriage.

Wise parents understand this and release their children to their new family. Wise parents will not interfere in their children's relationship with their spouse. However, many times family members will unintentionally try to continue to control or manipulate a son or daughter and will eventually succeed in destroying their marriage and keeping the child dependent upon his/her parents.

We must honor and love our parents, but firmly resist any efforts on their part to interfere with our new family.

Changing Patterns:
Another way in which we should "leave" our father and mother is to leave behind their patterns of relating and raising children. We all enter marriage with models of relationships what we have learned in our parents home; some good and some bad. We tend to carry these models or patterns into our new relationship with our spouse. Unfortunately our spouse also enters into the relationship with patterns and models from their childhood.

Chances are that even the good patterns we have are vastly different from our spouse's patterns, since they were raised in a different family. In order to have a successful marriage, we must work together to choose and develop the model of marriage and the patterns of relationship that we both agree are desirable The negative patterns need to be removed from our minds. We can keep the positive patterns provide we both agree to incorporate them into our family life.

Example of a negative pattern: Alcoholism and abuse.

Example of a positive pattern: Family conversation at the table.

The second step is to cleave to your wife.
Cleaving to your spouse means making him or her the first priority. The traditional wedding vows include the words, "and leaving all others, will you cleave only unto him/her?" and the answer is "I do." The choice to marry someone is a choice to cleave to that person for the rest of your life and to make their happiness and well-being your top priority, even above your own needs in many cases.
Cleaving to your spouse involves making him/her your priority, bonding to him/her and maintaining communicating with him/her on a regular basis. According to the book Bonding by Dr. Donald Joy1, there are 12 steps in the bonding process. It would be well for each of the marriage partners to learn these steps, especially the husband. Below are listed the normal steps in the bonding process.