Feb 05 2010

Love Dare - Day 31

Love and Marriage


A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24


This verse is God’s original blueprint for how marriage is supposed to work. It involves a tearing away and a knitting together.  It reconfigures existing relationships while establishing a brand new one.  Marriage changes everything.


That’s why couples who don’t take this “leaving” and “cleaving” message to heart will reap the consequences down the line, when the problems are much harder to repair without hurting someone.


“Leaving” means that you are breaking a natural tie.  Your parents step into the role of counselors to be respected, but can no longer tell you what to do.  Sometimes the difficulty in doing this comes from the original source.  A parent may not be ready to release you yet from their control and expectations.  Whether through unhealthy dependence or inner struggles over the empty nest, parents don’t always take their share of this responsibility.  In such cases, the grown child has to make “leaving” a courageous choice of his own.  And far too often, this break is not made in the right way.


Are you and your spouse still living with unresolved issues because of a failure to cut the apron strings?  Do either of your parents continue to create problems within your home – perhaps without their even knowing it?  What needs to happen to put a stop to this before it creates too wide of a division in your marriage?


Unity is a marriage quality to be guarded at a great cost.  The purpose of “leaving,” of course, is not to abandon all contact with the past but rather to preserve the unique oneness that marriage is designed to capture.  Only in oneness can you become all that God means for you to be.


If you’re too tightly drawn to your parents, the singular identity of your marriage will not be able to come to flower.  You will always be held back, and a root of division will continue to send up new shoots into your relationship.  It won’t go away unless you do something about it.  For without “leaving,” you cannot do the “cleaving” you need, the joining of your hearts that’s required to experience oneness.


“Cleaving” carries the idea of catching someone by pursuit, clinging to them as your new rock of refuge and safety.  This man is now the spiritual leader of  your new home, tasked with the responsibility of loving  you “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  This woman is now one in union with you, called to “see to it that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).


As a result of this essential process, you are now free to become everything God meant when He declared you “one flesh.”


·        You are able to achieve oneness in your decision making, even when you begin from differing viewpoints.


·        You are able to achieve oneness in your priorities, even through you’ve come together from backgrounds that could hardly be more different.


·        You are able to achieve oneness in your sexual affections toward each other, even if either of both of you have memories of impurity in your pre-marital past.


God’s decision to make you “one flesh” in marriage can make anything possible.


If this is not how things are going in your home right now, you’re unfortunately in the majority.  It’s not out of character for couples of all kinds – even Christian couples – to ignore God’s design for marriage, thinking they know better than He does.  Genesis 2:24 may have sounded nice and noble when it was wrapped around the sharing of vows at the wedding.  But as a fundamental principle to be put into place and practiced as a living fact – this just seems too difficult to do.  But this is what you must make any sacrifice to reclaim.


It’s hard – extremely hard – when the pursuit of oneness is basically one-sided.  Your spouse may not be interested at all in recapturing the unity you had at first.  Even if there is some desire on his or her part, there may still be issues between you that are nowhere close to being resolved.


But if you’ll continue to keep a passion for oneness forefront in your mind and heart, your relationship over time will begin to reflect the inescapable “one flesh” design that is printed on its DNA.  You don’t have to go looking for it.  It’s already there.  But you don’t have to live it, or there’s nothing else to expect than disunity.


Leave.  And cleave.  And dare to walk as one.



Today’s Dare


Is there a “leaving” issue you haven’t been brave enough to conquer yet?  Confess it to your spouse today, and resolve to make it right.  The oneness of your marriage is dependent upon it.  Follow this with a commitment to your spouse and to God to make your marriage the top priority over every other human relationship.



May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.  (John 17:21 HCSB)


Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

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Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission.  Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.



Comments (19) -

2/5/2010 6:46:44 AM
Valerie United States
I have really enjoyed reading the Love Dare and have been trying to implement some changes in my life and my interaction with the people around me.
2/5/2010 7:14:44 AM
Jessica United States
This "leave and cleave" idea was absolutly the thing that saved my marriage several years ago. I kept complaining to my Mother about all of the things my husband was not; overlooking all of the wonderful things he was. My mother said to me, "I know God hates divorce, but I am not sure [he] is the one for you." That was so shocking knowing how she had been through two painful divorces and was widowed. I felt like she was encouraging me to leave my husband and cleave back to her. I did not want to experience a divorce, especially being a child of divorce and having children of my own. I began to really search scripture and found this verse, Genesis 2:24. I memorized this and began praying for God to change me instead of make my husband all of the things I thought he was supposed to be. We will celebrate our 13 year anniversary this April! We are sickening to others with how in love we are, all thanks to how God has changed both of us!
2/5/2010 7:33:49 AM
pathfinder United States
well it has taken 31 days to meet my biggest problem right up front face to face and not feel confident about how to go forward. Not that it has been all easy up until here, with lots of swallowing selfish pride, some tears and such. Husband and I have always  lived with this so much in agreement. We left  our mothers and fathers and began our life as a married couple enjoying ,but independent of family. In the last few years we have become children of elderly widows who (despite  hired caregivers and  support from family) demand an incredible amount of time , energy, and other things. It causes resentment on both sides. we talk. we cry, but. we  miss each other and feel trapped despite loving our moms.I'm sure we are not the only ones in this position. -well I'm climbing down from my pity pot now. I'm sure the struggles we face are strengthening us and this marriage. sometimes just does not feel that way. thank all who pray for marriages. I'm pretty sure that is exactly what God intends us to do for one another.just venting helped Smile
2/5/2010 7:42:54 AM
Aubrie United States
This is a tough one for me as my husband's relationship with his mom is one of our greatest unresolved issues. Much of it is on his mother's part, as she calls constantly and worries if he doesn't call back within a few hours. For several Dares throughout this, I have come to this issue and attempted to make sure my heart is right in it. With today's it would be easy to focus on that, but I really want to pray on my own relationships and see if there are any that I sometimes put before my husband. This might be one of those things where I could easily say, "Hey, this isn't for me, it is for YOU." But since my husband does not know I am doing the Love Dare, it forces me to focus on myself.
2/5/2010 8:41:50 AM
Sandra United States
As a mother of a recently married daughter, i have to say that letting her go was the hardest emotional thing i have had to do.   All I want is for my daughter to be happy.  I wasn't sure if he was the right one for her and I'm still not sure but it is a choice she made and I have to respect that.  My only advice to him was, "NEVER HURT MY DAUGHTER in any way."  If he is ever unfaithful to her or physically hurts her- I will tell her to leave him.  I will be there to help her pack her things and her move out.  However, I did tell them that GOD does not like divorce, therefore, it is extremely important that they put GOD in the forefront of their marriage.  God needs to be their foundation.  They invited him to the wedding- now they need to invite him into their marriage.  I pray that GOD blesses their marriage and that they will have the most ultimate blessed marriage God intended them to have.  

I have been married 30 years and will admit we have had some very tough patches.  However, it was GOD that helped us through it and I know God can help other married couples through their tough times.  

I pray that GOD will bless all of your marriages and relationships.
2/5/2010 9:14:11 AM
just me United States
just me
Does this work the other way too, where the parent can't leave the child?  That is my husbands problem.  He lets our grown kids (ages 20-33) completely run his life.  He will drop everything just to make sure his 30 year old son has a pack of cigarettes.  Literally.  I am not joking or exaggerating.  It could be 2 am and we have to make sure we can scrounge up enough money to give him so he can go get cigarettes.  Our 33 year old daughter has learned that all she needs to do is say she needs gas money and there goes our rent money.  Same with our 20 year old son.  We don't have enough money to pay our bills, but we have enough to support 3 grown kids that are on their own?  This is where MY problem comes in.  I don't feel ANY unity with my husband when this happens.  I feel like the "third wheel" and my opinions don't count.  It basically ends up being 3 against 1, them against me. I know what he is doing is not a wise choice, but he will not listen.  I have left it up to God now.  I've run out of things to say about it to him, so God will have to work on him.
2/5/2010 9:43:40 AM
Alexis United States
Wow. This Love Dare has been the most important 31 days of my relationship ever! Just two days ago my fiance' brought up the fact that I put my mother before him a lot. How cool is it that God ALWAYS has an answer.
2/5/2010 10:14:34 AM
free United States
boy todays love dare is a good one-i wrote about this before about my in-laws how rude and disrespectful they are-it's funny how a few weeks ago hubby and i were talking about this-he admits that he was in the wrong for not confronting his family in the beginning of our relationship and how much worse it's gotten-still we spoke about it but he hasn't done anything about it-i keep on re-reading the love dare day 25 love forgives-FORGIVENESS DOESN'T ABSOLVE ANYONE OF BLAME-IT DOESN'T CLEAR THEIR RECORD WITH GOD-IT CLEARS ME OF HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT HOW TO PUNISH THEM-I AM TURNING THEM OVER TO GOD-I CAN COUNT ON GOD TO DEAL WITH THEM HIS WAY-I AM SAVING MYSELF THE TROUBLE OF ARGUMENTS-this kind of thinking will allow me to move forward so i don't allow his family to destroy my marriage but at the same my hubby is a coward for not defending me
2/5/2010 10:30:01 AM
Laura Richards United States
Laura Richards
This was a problem in our marriage early on, but thankfully, DH (darling husband) made sure to lovingly let his mother know that WE would be making the decisions for our children, not her. It started our United Front! Lovingly letting others know when we are questioned for our parenting style. Thank you God for making it clear how we should live and love in our marriage.
2/5/2010 11:53:19 AM
Marty United States
Thank you for the very timely minisrty of Love today...
2/5/2010 12:07:13 PM
cj United States
Neat testimony, Jessica!   Just me, you made me cry!  (happy tears, just saw yesterday's..)  I'm so glad to be God's tool to bring comfort.  What you said about expectations hit the nail on the head with me.   They are usually the root of my problems.  
Today's, hmmm...I lean on the rest of you for this one.   Not an issue yet, but our kids aren't quite grown, though we do disagree sometimes on how to raise them regarding issues the bible isn't specific on.  Our parents are still independent.  I do pray often for God to prepare me of the hard times ahead.  
I have to watch out for the days like today when it seems the dare doesn't specifically apply to us, or I'm tempted to feel confident that "I've learned that one already."  Then, watch out!   I had to re-read a bunch of my old notes cuz last night the old flesh snuck up on me and I got grouchy and selfish.    I get jealous too...of his time, his attention and anything or one that gets more of it.  
2/5/2010 3:09:40 PM
Laura United States
I made a promise along time ago...maybe 33 years ago?! That because I am not married to my mother-in-law but to my husband.....I would always remember that she is his mother, that is a fact...He loves his mother...and I love him...and that because I love my husband, I would always respect that. I have taken a lot to God on the issues of my mother-in-law...even to my husband and had long talks about how I am feeling in certain situations. My steadfast respect has remained the same. I am only responsible for myself. But, I have kept my promise to God and to this day I can say I am blessed in my relationship with her and especially my husband because of it. I know it was for my husband. He has a wonderful, healthy relationship with his parents. It is a relationship of Love and respect. I am so Thankful...I am mostly Thankful that my husband loves my even more for it....it one less thing to worry about...Life is hard enough! Family is so important...even Jesus said The greatest thing is Love" I chose Love...
2/5/2010 6:26:50 PM
Jen United States
I am not married, but I have a twin sister who got married to a twin (crazy, isn't it??) a few years ago.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with.  I was always that "rock" in her life; I was the one she came to with her exciting news and the one she came to when she needed a shoulder to cry on, or even to get advice about something.  That all changed when she got married and "letting her go" was more difficult than I could have ever anticipated.  I am so thankful for this message because, while I am happy for the love my sister has found, I did not appreciate the importance of what the Word tells us about marriage. I have a whole new appreciation and respect for what my sister and her husband have.
2/5/2010 6:44:52 PM
No Name United States
No Name
todays dare is really hitting home for me. My mom and his mom are always calling us, just checkin on us and they think we have to let them know when we go somewhere and when we get back, We have never minded them calling and checkin=g or letting them know when and where we are going but i think this is something we both are going to have to work on and lean more on GOD than our parents. Im praying for you all and would like all of you to pray for us, we are doing some better maybe this is helping im learning alot aobut myself.
2/6/2010 3:31:38 AM
Deanna United States
I will have to admit this is one of my biggest sins.  I have never done the "leave" part with my parents.  I even admit that I have only recently realized this.  Not sure how or why, but I have put my parents before my husband in our marriage.  I know that my husband does the same with his widowed mother.  She lives a 14 hour drive away and has only seen her son about a dozen times in the last 16 years.  It is not as big of a problem as what I have done.  I complain to my parents when he does something I don't like, I allow them to express opinions that were not asked for.  I am struggling to find a way to put them at arms length in a loving way so that I can start building a better marriage.  My husband and I have been seperated almost a year.  We are trying to figure out if we can reconcile.  
I love my husband very much, and respect him, but putting my parents before him has not shown him either of those things.  
This is supposed to be about us looking at ourselves and working on ourselves, so I won't go into detail about his mom, because that is up to him to try and change.  I will continue to tell him when he hurts me with putting her first, however, he has a point that it is for a week tops and not even every year.  So compared to the other 51 weeks of the year, maybe it is not so bad to let her be first in his life for a week?

Any thoughts?
2/17/2010 2:52:46 PM
Arden Codilla United States
Arden Codilla
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