Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The 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

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group.

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