It’s the end of the year and time for some introspection and analysis of the year gone by. On this blog we look specifically at marriage and at how to keep our marriages free from infidelity, so for part 1 of my series I’d like to begin at the beginning. Before a spouse can start doing the things that kindle love, they need to stop doing the things that extinguish love, and one of the most common love extinguishers is not leaving mom and dad and cleaving to your spouse.
The first time a husband is commanded to “leave and cleave” is Gen. 2:24 where the word in Hebrew for “leave” is ya·’a·zav- and the word we translate “cleave” is the Hebrew word ve·da·vak.
ya·’a·zav–this Hebrew word is a primitive root of the word that means “to loosen”, and is translated abandon, deserted, failed, forsake, free, ignores, leave, leave behind, let it go, neglect, stopped, surely release, and withdrawn.
I think just from reading those definitions it fairly clear that we are commanded to actively loosen the ties with the family of origin. It is interesting to note that in Genesis, it’s also a command that’s aimed at husbands.
ve·da·vak–this Hebrew word is a primitive root of the word that means “to cling, cleave, keep close”, and is translated cleaves, cling, closely pursued, clung, deeply attracted, fasten its grip, follow closely, held fast, hold, joined, joined together, overtake, pursued closely, remained steadfast, stay, stay close, stick, stick together.
Again just from these definitions I believe its fairly obvious that the idea is to be intimately close with your spouse and be of one mind and body.
I believe this commandment to “leave and cleave” is interesting for several reasons. It is aimed at the husbands, and I don’t think that is meant to say wives are excluded from being joined with their husbands…just that the role of men and the role of women is different.
G*d grants authority, and with authority comes responsibility. He grants authority to a pastor to shepherd his congregation, and anyone who goes into that ministry bears the responsibility for those under his authority. He grants authority to a husband over his wife, and any husband bears the responsibility to lovingly nurture his wife. He father over his household and children, and any father bears the responsibility then his home and the provision of those in it. He has authority to “teach them up” and children are commanded to honor both of their parents.
If a young man marries, his wife is in a state of submission to him. Now, she may not know HOW to submit or want to, but this is her position–like a state of being. But how can a young man have authority over his wife and his own household if he is likewise under the authority of his father and mother? Would his wife then be in submission to his father? How about to his mother? Is she in submission to her father and mother still? No. G*d clears all this up for us. When a young man marries, he has instructions from G*d to perform an action and to indicate his status.
He is to put action into abandoning, forsaking, being free of, leaving behind, letting it go of, and releasing his father and his mother. A whole new authority is granted to him when he becomes a husband and a whole new family unit is started (with or without children). He is not supposed to sort of hope this happens one day…the word used is in a case that means he is to be active about this! At the same time, he is to understand that his RESPONSIBILITY is to closely pursue, deeply attract, hold fast to, be joined together with, remained steadfast to, and stay close with wife. This word is in a case like the wife’s word for “submitting to her husband.” It’s not an action like a command to do something–it is a state of being. This verse says “Actively break the tie to your father and mother because you are in a state of being of close, intimate connection with your wife.”
I believe this is aimed at men because they are the G*d-given authorities in their families. The husband is the one who sets the family. If he does not take actions to break the tie with his father and mother, if he keeps himself like a child under their authority or does not cut with them so he can join FULLY and DEEPLY with his own wife, then he sets his family for the harms that come with disobedience. I personally believe wives are not told this because we aren’t the authority in our family. We can lovingly encourage our husbands to obey G*d in this but if he hardens his heart and will not, we are not the ones whom G*d will hold accountable. (Our job is to respect our husband, and for that we will be accountable.)
So at this End of the Year Fidelity Checkup, to the husbands I would ask if you are obeying G*d by actively loosening the ties to your father and mother and becoming of one mind and body with your bride? If you have not broken those ties yet, or worse if you are choosing your mom and dad over your wife, you are leaving your marriage WIDE OPEN to the temptations of infidelity. And wives, although this is a command to the husbands, that does not exclude you. You need to break the ties with mom and dad and steadfastly prefer your husband above all others. Start at the beginning and don’t allow your families of origin to come between you and your spouse. This is a HUGE love extinguisher that leaves your spouse wide open to looking to someone else who will prefer them.