This verse is God’s original blueprint for how marriage is supposed to work. It involves a tearing away and a knitting together. It reconfigures existing relationships while establishing a brand new one. Marriage changes everything.
That’s why couples who don’t take this “leaving” and “cleaving” message to heart will reap the consequences down the line, when the problems are much harder to repair without hurting someone.
“Leaving” means that you are breaking a natural tie. Your parents step into the role of counselors to be respected, but can no longer tell you what to do. Sometimes the difficulty in doing this comes from the original source. A parent may not be ready to release you yet from their control and expectations. Whether through unhealthy dependence or inner struggles over the empty nest, parents don’t always take their share of this responsibility. In such cases, the grown child has to make “leaving” a courageous choice of his own. And far too often, this break is not made in the right way.
Are you and your spouse still living with unresolved issues because of a failure to cut the apron strings? Do either of your parents continue to create problems within your home – perhaps without their even knowing it? What needs to happen to put a stop to this before it creates too wide of a division in your marriage?
Unity is a marriage quality to be guarded at a great cost. The purpose of “leaving,” of course, is not to abandon all contact with the past but rather to preserve the unique oneness that marriage is designed to capture. Only in oneness can you become all that God means for you to be.
If you’re too tightly drawn to your parents, the singular identity of your marriage will not be able to come to flower. You will always be held back, and a root of division will continue to send up new shoots into your relationship. It won’t go away unless you do something about it. For without “leaving,” you cannot do the “cleaving” you need, the joining of your hearts that’s required to experience oneness.
“Cleaving” carries the idea of catching someone by pursuit, clinging to them as your new rock of refuge and safety. This man is now the spiritual leader of your new home, tasked with the responsibility of loving you “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). This woman is now one in union with you, called to “see to it that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).
As a result of this essential process, you are now free to become everything God meant when He declared you “one flesh.”
- You are able to achieve oneness in your decision making, even when you begin from differing viewpoints.
- You are able to achieve oneness in your priorities, even through you’ve come together from backgrounds that could hardly be more different.
- You are able to achieve oneness in your sexual affections toward each other, even if either of both of you have memories of impurity in your per-marital past.
God’s decision to make you “one flesh” in marriage can make anything possible.
If this is not how things are going in your home right now, you’re unfortunately in the majority. It’s not out of character for couples of all kinds – even Christian couples – to ignore God’s design for marriage, thinking they know better than He does. Genesis 2:24 may have sounded nice and noble when it was wrapped around the sharing of vows at the wedding. But as a fundamental principle to be put into place and practiced as a living fact – this just seems too difficult to do. But this is what you must make any sacrifice to reclaim.
It’s hard – extremely hard – when the pursuit of oneness is basically one-sided. Your spouse may not be interested at all in recapturing the unity you had at first. Even if there is some desire on his or her part, there may still be issues between you that are nowhere close to being resolved.
But if you’ll continue to keep a passion for oneness forefront in your mind and heart, your relationship over time will begin to reflect the inescapable “one flesh” design that is printed on its DNA. You don’t have to go looking for it. It’s already there. But you don’t have to live it, or there’s nothing else to expect than disunity.
Leave. And cleave. And dare to walk as one.
Is there a “leaving” issue you haven’t been brave enough to conquer yet? Confess it to your spouse today, and resolve to make it right. The oneness of your marriage is dependent upon it. Follow this with a commitment to your spouse and to God to make your marriage the top priority over every other human relationship.
I do not see that there is a "leaving" issue in my marriage that I can think of. I have been away from the direction, support and care of my mother since long before I married my hubby. I have always cared for myself, even at a young age, and never had a close relationship with my mother. I do not know my father so there is not an issue there either.
However, the following passage in the book speaks to me:
It is and always has been a passion of mine to be "one flesh" with my hubby. During our marriage there are times when we have and when we have not, it has came on gone over the years. But the desire to achieve this is still in the forefront of my mind and it still my goal as I awake everyday.
I feel motivated and blessed to be able to still be sitting here as Michelle Galvan and even more blessed to feel the bond between my hubby and I continue to grow. We have had our tough times but I feel as if we are in a recovery mode again and THIS time we will be able to sustain the commitment and the bond we have. It feels good to find myself in a place where I can relax and let go of some of my fears and just love on him with no hesitation. It feels good to know that the seeds we sow are feeling as if this time they are really going to put us in a place we BOTH want to be.. a place of love, commitment and harmony.
I have always held onto to my faith in God that HE would see us through and HE would take us down the path we belonged on together, I guess just now I finally understand it was meant to be on God's time and not mine.
I dare to continue to walk as one with my hubby and show him the love I have for him in my heart, one that will never be taken away from him. I thank God for allowing me an open heart, a loving heart and for showing me how to love my hubby God's way.
May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. (John 17:21 HCSB)