Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
I firmly believe that God gave this directive on the front end of the Bible because He had already peeped the in-law relationship and knew it could be disastrous without biblical foundation for separation. If you read any of my blog posts you know I speak from my heart and almost always from personal experience.
My husband and I come from in my opinion and for various reasons highly dysfunctional yet functional families. And I believe we turned out good enough, we have had to exorcise some demons and continue to fight battles with residual baggage. I am proud of the fact that I worked through a huge amount of stuff during my “time in the chair”. And my husband well he dealt with his in war zones, “God Bless the Infantry.”
I have the honor of being married to my best friend, our friendship relationship was silly and fun, our dating relationship was adventurous, our marriage is all of the above with a new twist. In-laws. I decided about four years ago to be intentional about keeping my family at a distance. My familial relationship were causing me stress, and I continually felt pressure to sacrifice my happiness, comfort to keep the peace or to make the happiness of others my responsibilities. This personal martyrdom did not work well for; it served me well for many years growing however as an adult I begin to want to live a life being my authentic self. Let the painful transition commence. For my husband, the same intentionality has not yielded desired results, so the painful transition seems to have landed right smack in the midst of our marriage. I will say what I have said before; I do not like manipulative people, who like to play games with scripture to control.
Parents have the overwhelming tendency to look at their adult children and still see a child. And adult children have an overwhelming tendency to play the role of the child because it is easier than staking claim of one’s adulthood and independence. Mom’s need to be needed and dad’s need to rescue. The problem is that once we reach adulthood and especially after marriage wives’ need to be needed and husband’s need to rescue. And it is hard enough to navigate those newfound pressures with the external ones from “well-intentioned” family members. Here is the rub, most parents perceive cleaving, setting boundaries and trying to build a family outside of them and in some cases without them as dishonoring and in their push for honor anger ensues.
Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Ephesians 6: 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, by the way, you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
As Christians at our very core in any given situation, we do not want to dishonor our parents. However we also want parents to respect us as adults married or not, many of my single friends deal with the same issues, I dealt with them as a single adult. Honor is probably the wrong word for these circumstances; it is not about honor in the end it is about control and appearance. If my adult child single or married chooses not to spend time with me. How does that make me look? What will the world think? (give me a break, build a bridge and get over it) It is easier to force the togetherness so that one “looks good” to the outside rather respect the boundary. Let the guilt trips come. The child caves and they and their loving spouse engage in yet another miserable ritual family gathering. The parents are happy, pleased and the couple is miserable, and these two people have to go home with each other. Oh, the joy!
What is the source of the discomfort? I go back to; I do not like manipulative people, who like to play games with scripture to control. Whom we spend time with personally is a choice; to be in anyone’s life is a privilege, not a right.
I admit that the contents of this post are pretty passive aggressive on my part, however, parties that may read this and see them self, there are no secrets here. While public my blog is in the end, my blog it is where I share, encourage and vent among other things.
Other thoughts on the topic (I am not agreeing or disagreeing, just sharing):