The first ever marriage is recorded for us in the book of Genesis, and outlines this process:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. – Genesis 2:23-24
When you get married, you go through the same steps: leaving your parents, cleaving to your new spouse, and becoming one flesh. If any of the steps in this process gets skipped or is performed halfheartedly, the lingering baggage of your old, single life will adversely affect your union as husband and wife.
In their book, “Intimate Allies,” authors Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III call it leaving, cleaving, and weaving.
If you have wonderful, loving parents, the idea of leaving them to get married may be very difficult and even somewhat traumatic. For your entire life until this point, you’ve depended on them for security and companionship.
However, if couples want their marriage to last, they must learn how to leave their parents. This certainly does not imply that you cut ties with them or ignore them in any way – “but it does mean starting a whole new relationship in which the core loyalty is not to parents’ priorities, traditions, or influence, but to an entirely new family that must set its own course, form, and purpose.”
Yes, it will take time to get used to the new roles and dynamics. When you hit your first speed bump or pothole as newlyweds, a natural inclination may be to call mommy or daddy for advice or consolation. And while it’s not wrong to seek wisdom and counsel from your parents, but you should do so with your spouse’s full approval, and only after you’ve discussed the matter together. Your first point of contact should be each other as husband and wife.
One new wife went crying to her mom’s house after a verbal argument with her husband. The mother scolded her, saying she needed to go back to her husband to deal with the issue. While this may sound harsh, it was wise and loving of the mother to encourage unity and biblical union between her daughter and new son-in-law.
Besides transferring your dependence from your parents to your spouse, leaving also requires an awareness of how your past has shaped you. Whether you and your spouse realize it or not, your upbringing has had a significant impact on who you are today. At times, it is necessary to set some of those influences aside in order to fully “leave” your parents emotionally.
Within your marriage, the experiences you share knit you together. The memories, adventures, squabbles, and outtakes form an intricate fabric that bonds your relationship. In the book, “Intimate Allies,” the authors describe it this way: “Weaving – the intercourse of heart and word – involves the making of stories in order to make love. Making stories is far more than sharing common experience; it is much more than being together in a moment. Making stories is being transformed by the moment together.”
How will your marriage respond to trials? Will you take advantage of adversity to weave you tighter, or will you let it rip you apart?
Weaving can be hard work. It involves intentional effort. “Weaving requires speech, exposure, vulnerability, and honesty. It requires the wrestling of souls before spouses can experience the harmony of bodies.”
When Genesis 2:23-24 refers to “cleaving,” it is the idea of becoming one flesh with your spouse. “Sexual intimacy is the culmination of the leaving and weaving process. Therefore, it is the pinnacle of intimacy that assumes true leaving and cleaving.” In God’s perfect design, you have to leave and weave before you can become one flesh. If you continue to value affection from other people more than affection from your spouse, or if you continue to hold back parts of yourself from your marriage, you will never experience the unity and oneness that God designed marriage to contain.
Most often, when sexual problems arise in a marriage, people assume they are either incompatible or that one partner has issues with their sex drive. While preferences and drive to play a role, sexual problems are usually indicators of a deeper concern within the relationship. It’s possible to have sex without biblical, “one flesh” unity. “An angry or distant couple can have sex, but it is not one-flesh intimacy. The physical act happens and a type of physical satisfaction may be experienced, but the spouses do not experience the same type of glory that is experienced when sexual intercourse is the result of a solid marriage based on leaving and weaving.”
Increase Intimacy through Christian Marriage Counseling
If you are not experiencing the level of intimacy you desire from your marriage, consider contacting a professional Christian counselor in spokane. The distance you feel will not disappear on its own. You need to be active in moving toward your spouse. If ignored, your marriage problems will likely only push you farther apart. A trained Christian therapist will use principles from Scripture and effective techniques to help you achieve the oneness you seek in your marriage.
“Intimate Allies,” by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III
“Leaving and Cleaving,” courtesy of Clotaire Folefack, unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain License; “Wedding Ceremony,” courtesy of Cayton Heath, unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain license