Leave & Cleave

by Larry Cole

Marriage is the beautiful, God-ordained uniting of a man and a woman, leaving father and mother and cleaving to each other. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

I once had an instructor in school who said that "leaving" meant you needed to move at least three hundred miles away! Of course, he was not serious in making that statement but rather was making a point that there must, indeed, be a total separation between parents and married children. Marriage must begin with a leaving of all other relationships in order to establish a permanent relationship between one man and one woman. The closest relationship outside marriage (i.e. father and mother) is specified in Genesis 2:24, implying that if it is necessary to leave your father and mother, then certainly all lesser ties must be broken, changed, or left behind. The bonds of love with parents are lasting ones, but these ties must be altered in character so that the man's full commitment is now to his wife, and the wife's full commitment is now to her husband. The man is no longer dependent on parents and no longer under their authority. Now he assumes headship to his own family. He and his mate need to focus their lives on each other rather than looking to another individual or group of people to meet their emotional needs. This also means that other things, such as business, career, possessions, hobbies, talents and interests should take a backseat to developing the marriage bond. All these things must be re-prioritized and put into proper perspective. Unless a couple is willing to leave all else, they will never develop the thrilling oneness of the marriage relationship that God intended for them to enjoy. And if they are not willing to leave all else, they should not get married!

Next comes the matter of cleaving. There is no use leaving unless you are ready to spend a lifetime of cleaving. The very word, cleave, means "to cling or to adhere to, to abide fast." The New Testament word means "to cement together, to stick like glue, or to be welded together so that the two cannot be separated without damage to both." The husband and wife are responsible for doing everything possible and being all that they should be in order to form ties with each other that will make them inseparable. These ties will be forged like steel in the heat of daily life and in the pressures of crisis, thus forming a union that cannot be broken!

Yes, there are two words needed in a marriage ceremony in addition to "I do." They are "leave" and "cleave." That's God's plan.

 Bulletin Digest

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