This one is major.
The concept of leaving and cleaving is one that every engaged and married couple should understand.
Leaving and cleaving actually comes from the Bible. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
The idea is basically that once you become One with your spouse, you must “leave” your parents to “cleave” onto your spouse. “Cleave” in this case means to latch onto, to join, or to hold onto.
So, what does this look like? Had a terrible day at work? Tell your partner about it first, not Mom. Your car broke down? Fight the instinct to call Dad. Instead, tell your husband first. Not feeling good and in need of encouragement? Turn to your wife first, not Grandma (even though grandmas are the BEST!)
“Leaving” our parents, who have been there for our entire childhood and young adulthood for that matter, is tough. But as a married couple, it’s important to put your partner in first place. Your partner should be the first person to know about your promotion. And (besides God), Bae should the first person you turn to when feeling hopeless.
Let’s talk about why. “Leaving and cleaving” reinforces the idea of Oneness. It reinforces the idea that your new family (i.e. you and your spouse) is first.
As a married couple, there is a necessary transition from being embedded in your biological family and moving into your new family.
This concept is easier said than done, especially for someone who is very close to their parents. For me, as a daddy’s girl my instinct was to turn to my father for everything. I wanted his opinion on job offers. I would call him when something broke around the house. Sometimes I would just call to talk politics, without even knowing what my husband thought about the major candidates. Transitioning to putting my husband in first place was a challenge, but a good one. Now that we've been married for a few months, I'm starting to get the hang of entrusting my protection and provision to Bae. Of course, my dad is still my dad, but I’ve learned to lean a lot less on him and lot more on my husband. It’s a new way of thinking and doing. It’s "leaving and cleaving."
Now, for a word of caution: turning to your partner first does not mean you dump EVERYTHING on them. That would be a lot for one person to bear (you can read more about that ). Having a healthy friendship circle and a support system outside of your spouse is crucial, but your partner should certainly be the first person you consider talking to outside of God.
Leaving and cleaving will strengthen your bond, your trust in one another, and the realization that you are truly life partners.
Spouses who are out of touch with each other have a difficult time feeling connected. It’s important to stay abreast of your partner’s fears, hopes, bad days, and good days and being Bae’s first respondent can help with this.
Lastly, “leaving and cleaving” means holding onto your partner when things get tough. Not running back to your parents for safety and convenience, but instead praying through the struggle and standing with your partner through the storms. Throughout childhood, our parents (hopefully) protected and rescued us when we needed it. A part of what makes the transition to marriage challenging is that you can/should no longer run to your parents every time you need a hug. Especially for young married couples who are fairly new to "adulting," this can be a challenge.
A few things to reflect on: Where are you when it comes to “leaving and cleaving”? Think about ways in which you rely on your family for support. If not your parents directly, what about your aunt and uncles? Grandparents? Mentors? Who do you turn to for safety? What are ways that you can cleave onto your partner more? What reservations do you have? I encourage you to share this concept with Bae. It's an important one to understand before saying "I Do."
Until next time...