Shortly after my husband and I said our, "I do's" and left our reception we were off on the adventure of "our lives" together. We were so excited to be off in a tropical setting as man and wife. Just the two of us...
We had planned to finish our honeymoon, come back home to finish packing for a day or two and head off to another state where my husband was to undergo a training period for his new job. However, while we were in our tropical bliss, the plans were changed and we found ourselves returning to the States homeless for a month. His start date was bumped back a full 30+ days. What is a newlywed, unemployed couple to do but to move in with the in-laws? They very graciously welcomed us into their home thrilled to have more time with their son.
However comfortable, it was somewhat difficult. We were still figuring out our roles as "man & wife." The whole "cleaving" issue was a no brainer on some levels...but the "leaving" part was not happening. To my husband's parents, we were still "their son & his new bride." (Being fair to them, they were just beginning their "in law" part of their own life adventure.) He quickly fell into the familiar "son" role and I struggled to find a place where I "fit." We both felt the frustration building between us and made the decision to go on a road trip. A U. S. road tour trying to see as many of the major sights as we could while visiting various family members along the way. Not only did we create tons of wonderful memories together along the way, but we were again able to do the beginning stages of "leaving and cleaving."
However, because we physically left his parent's home, did not mean that we had properly "left and cleft" so to speak. We still dealt with residual issues each time we had disagreements, visited with each other's parents, etc.:
*It is easy when your spouse is not agreeing with you to want to invite another person into the discussion who will most likely side with you AND give you substantiated evidence for why you are correct. (Although, this can turn the person's hearts and minds against your spouse...)
*It is easy to fall into your "daughter" or "son" roles respectively when visiting with the parents leaving your spouse frustrated and floundering for their own "role." (Even if it seems to make your parents happy to have "their child" for a short time.)
*It is easy to share exciting news or life difficulties with your parents (or close friends) before even mentioning it to your spouse...and it is easy for said parents (or friends) to accidentally mention it in conversation with your spouse before you have even told them...
I am sure there could be MANY other examples, but the basic premise here is that we need to loosen other relational ties and commit to establishing and maintaining this union of marriage with our spouse. That is not to say that you have to literally move states away from all that you know and love or never visit family or friends again; it simply means that your marriage relationship/spouse needs to be placed first in your human relationships. You must "become one." Jesus said it this way in Mark 10:6-8 "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one." (NIV)
Here is a brief "test" that you can take with your spouse to get a feel for how effectively you have done these "eaves" of marriage. Keep in mind that you cannot fully cleave to your spouse until you have done the "leaving" portion...
"If you are unsure whether or not you have "left", here is a test to see where you stand. Please take this with your spouse and answer questions with a scale of 1 to 7. 1= Very False 7 = Very True Here are the questions:
1. We were successful in leaving our parents when we got married.
2. Leaving family and other close relationships has been a harmonious process for us.
3. Even though we may have problems from time to time in our marriage, we resist the temptation to run home to our parents.
4. Both of us are free from manipulation of control by our parents.
5. Neither of us has tried to force our spouse to be like one of our own parents.
6. We have established our own residence away from our parents.
7. We are not financially dependent upon either set of parents.
8. While we may enjoy frequent talks or visits with our parents, our sense of emotional well-being does not depend on such communication.
Score 48-56 = We are not having any problems and have successfully "left".
Score 8-17 = You have not left and need to talk gently to each other and parents to work out a plan to leave. Note we do not need to beat up on the parents.....instead we need to understand that you need to take the initiative and let them know what is Biblically correct IN LOVE."
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the "eaves" of marriage!
*Above quote and test taken from http://marriage.infomedia.com*