October 11, 2015
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
This “With” Series is about principles of relationships, especially in marriage, to help us all become what God wishes us to be. Today we focus on the “connection principle”: In marriages, we are meant to grow together. In families, we are meant to grow apart.
“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Reflections on the connection principle in Genesis 2:24
1. Families are meant to grow apart.
When marriage occurs, a separation process begins, from the original family as sons and daughters, to where the couple becomes a new unit. In creating Eve from Adam’s rib, God designed man and wife with a special capacity for a complimentary, intimate relationship that is life long.
The husband is to leave (forsake) his father and mother. This does not necessarily mean married sons are always to move away physically from their parents, because Jewish sons often stayed on their parents’ property when married because the land was their inheritance.
Instead, the connection principle means that priority, identity, and responsibilities must change to value first the newly married couple, instead of an individual son or daughter. Certainly the new couple still loves their parents, but now their own family unit becomes top priority. This is the way God meant it to be.
2. Marriages are meant for the couple to grow together.
“…They will become “united” and “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).
This union in marriage does mean “holding fast” or “joined,” but more clearly according to the King James Version, it means, “cleaving to” your spouse. “Cleaving” suggests sticking things together like super glue so that they will not become unstuck. When we cleave to each other in marriage, a special bond (physical, spiritual, emotional intimacy) forms between us. We move forward in our marriage with intimacy, love and commitment. This is the way God meant it to be.
3. We are going to have to fight for this.
Growing apart from our original family is not easy with the tension and pull of the world against God’s connection principle.
Three places in our married family life where we need to work hard and give careful attention:
1. Starting Out
A newly married couple has one task: becoming a new family unit where the couple is becoming “one flesh,” sticking together through thick and thin. No longer do they think of themselves as simply individuals, but now as “us.” The original parents of the couple must now support the newly married couple together as unit, and not as their individual son or daughter.
For some folks, the act of leaving your family of origin can be very difficult. Your role in the original family might be so large or even unhealthy, that you feel you cannot leave even when newly married. You might even feel responsible for your parents’ troubles and carry them with you into your new marriage, which only causes problems.
Instead, we need to fight for our marriage: struggle, if needed, to form a new family unit, and continually declare to our spouse, “I choose you!”
2. Having Kids
“Leaving and cleaving” issues can grow dormant in our lives, especially in the child-raising years. During these times, we need to work as a family to keep our priorities straight.
Fathers are especially called to anchor and lead the way for our families, with the right priorities. Marriage should be the most invested, pursued, nurtured, caring relationship in the family – even more than the children and their demands. Husbands need to be careful not to leave all the child-rearing to their wives, or the couple may become strangers under one roof. God’s priority is the couple, that they love each other and work together to raise the children. Big things can go wrong in families when our marriages become unhealthy, without priority on the marriage relationship according to God’s plan.
3. Launching Kids
Letting our children go, often when we reach our forties and beyond, can be very difficult even under the best of circumstances. Launching our kids is a process of a zillion day-by-day decisions. This journey is worth fighting for.
This journey can bring an incredibly beautiful life of choosing to cheer on new units in our families or those newly married outside our families.
God, thank you for giving us this connection principle, which you made us for and desire that we live out in our marriages. We need your help, knowing it is never too late for connection.
Be glorified, Lord, and speak this principle into our daily lives, and help us to speak Truth to those around us, in our families and beyond.