Why do marriages fail? The reason is the violation of the basic principles of marriage. And he said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and the two of them shall be one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:5-6)

It is a stressful situation if a man has to please two women; his mother and his wife, or when a woman has to submit to two men; her father and her husband. These situations are traumatic, where ‘too many cooks spoil the soup’. It is the total desecration of marriage and more than anything, it is not a marriage in accordance with the will of God.

According to God’s word, a man is under the authority and headship of his father until he marries. Once he is married, he is now the head of his wife and his children.  He is not under the authority or headship of his father, as he is now the head and the authoritarian figure of his new family.

Before a woman marries, she is under the authority of her father. Once she is married, she is under the authority of her husband. She has a new head and it is her husband and together they are to raise children of their own. A wife’s role is to submit to her husband, she does not form a new headship.

In some cultures a father is the head of the family as long as he lives. In which case, if he has sons that are married, they are still under the authority and headship of their father. In these cultures the married men regard their parents higher than they regard their wives. In other words, the father and mother are more important to a man than his own wife or children.

Sadly, Christians that belong to these cultures follow this norm and so trespass the principles of marriage in the scriptures. A man and a woman, when they become husband and wife, are to leave their family of origin and cleave to each other and become one flesh. To leave means to detach physically, to separate or to move away.

leave&cleaveFor any successful marriage, the leaving of one’s parents is important for a man and a woman to unite together in sacred matrimony. Leaving however does not mean abandoning or dishonouring one’s parents or cutting off, a relationship with them. It means to separate from them and regard your relationship with your spouse the important relationship you have, after your relationship with God.

A man and woman must honour their parents as it is a commandment of God. Some parents may not want their sons or daughters to leave them after they are married, as parents dread the empty nest syndrome and would do anything to keep their married sons and daughters close to them.

In these cases, you would need to speak to your parents about your decision of leaving them, which is according to the will of God, and honourably disagree with their desires in these aspects and move on. For some people, it may not be as easy, but one has to choose one’s pain. Whether it would be disobedience to God’s word, which results in a dysfunctional marriage, or honouring God by taking the step of disagreeing gently and respectfully with your parents view points and implementing the will of God for your marriage.

After the couple has successfully left their parents, they must cleave together and become one. Cleaving is essential in a marriage. Cleaving means to be stuck in a bond that nothing can separate you two; no circumstances, no other relationships, no ego, no selfishness and no prejudices. Nothing whatsoever, as long as you both shall live, can separate the bond that God has united you together.

If you are a parent having children who are married or are about to marry, the best you can do is to release them. Not in the sense of abandoning them, but blessing them and letting them have their own lives, their own family, by not intruding in their lives, but being there as a standby if they need you.

The bond between a parent and child is strong. The sacrifices parents make by giving themselves totally in raising their children with love and care. It may not be easy to set them free and accept the fact that some stranger becomes a more important part of their life. It may not seem fair to you that you planted the seed, watered the plant, nourished it, and now when it is fully developed and ready to bear fruit, it belongs to someone else.  Nevertheless, this is how God intended a family to be and this is what life is about, and it goes on.

As a parent, you raise your children according to God’s will. Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it (Proverbs 22:6). As a parent, you prepare your children to leave you, when they are ready for marriage, but train them not to leave the path of righteousness.

If you do help your married children in anyway and if they accept to receive your help, be sure you give help with no strings attached. As a parent you have an assignment to equip your children for life, but when they are prepared to start their lives, your role ends, and you need to step back and let them step forward.

As parents, this is the will of God; to love your children, to bless them and to pray for them. Your children’s marriage is not an end of your relationship with them, but it is the beginning of their precious relationship as husband and wife.

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