The Marriage Union in the Light of the Bible
For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. - Genesis 2:24(Nasb)
“Leave” and “cleave”—different words, significant words. When you exchange your wedding vows, these two words will become part of your life. But do you understand them?
To leave means to sever one relationship before establishing another. In the Hebrew, it means literally to abandon or forsake. This does not mean you disregard your parents.
Rather, it requires that you break your tie to them and assume responsibility for your spouse.
How much do your parents influence your life now? How much will they influence you in the future? How often do you plan to call or visit them?
Will parents or you and your partner decide where to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas? Will you ever borrow money from them or live with them? Will you ever complain to them about your partner?
Do you plan to visit them each year for your vacation? These are just a few simple but necessary questions you need to ask and answer! Leave means just that—but it is more than just physical leaving; it is emotional as well.
Consider the other word in this passage.
To cleave means to weld together.
When a man cleaves to his wife they become one flesh. This term is a beautiful capsule description of the oneness, completeness and permanence God intended in the marriage relationship.
It suggests a unique oneness—a total commitment to intimacy in all of life together, symbolized by the sexual union.
Years ago I heard a choice description of the coming together involved in cleaving. If you hold a lump of dark green clay in one hand and a lump of light green clay in the other hand, you can clearly identify the two different shades of color.
When you mold the two lumps together, however, you see just one lump of green clay—at first glance. When you inspect the lump closely, you see the distinct and separate lines of dark and light green clay.
This is a picture of you in your marriage relationship. The two of you will be blended together so you will appear as one, yet you will each retain your own distinct identity and personality. You will have a marriage personality that exists in the two of you.
A Christian marriage, however, involves more than blending two people. It also includes a third person—Jesus Christ—who gives meaning, guidance and direction to the relationship.
When He presides in a marriage, then and only then is it a Christian marriage. Jesus needs to be closer to you than you will be to each other.
After your wedding, how will you handle leaving your parents? How will you become one flesh, coming together and yet retaining who you are as individuals? Why not talk about it?
H. Norman Wright is a licensed Family Counselor and child therapist and has taught in the Grad. Department of Biola University. He is the author of more than seventy books