Leaving and Cleaving: failing to leave (part 1)

Leaving and cleaving is a fundamental part of a marriage foundation. Find out these four ways that couples often fail to leave and cleave.

Leaving and cleaving is a fundamental part of a marriage foundation. Find out these four ways that couples often fail to leave and cleave.
Leaving and cleaving is a fundamental part of a marriage foundation. Find out these four ways that couples often fail to leave and cleave.

This is part one in a two part series. Read part 2 here.


Our Need to Leave

Although in-law jokes are common, most couples fail to find this relationship amusing!

Few fully realize the potential stress, anxiety, and hurt that can come if they are unprepared for potential in-law problems.

God’s Principle about Leaving

God established His foundational thoughts concerning in-laws at the time He created marriage: “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

The word “leave” here means to abandon or break off completely. By this, God means that in issues of authority the parents no longer have responsibility.

While children should never stop honoring their parents, God’s intent is that men and women establish a new primary allegiance when they marry: that of their spouse.

Our Response to Leaving

Listed below are four common ways couples fail to leave their parents. Consider if any of these apply to your marriage.

  1. Parental wealth and social benefits – This problem reveals dependence on parents for financial or social benefits to the point that the couple fails to acknowledge their own independence.
  2. Parental model – Some couples, again consciously or subconsciously, compare some area of their mate’s performance to that of their parents. These comparisons can especially take place in early marriage and can be very damaging.
  3. Parental approval – Some mates remain dependent on their parents’ approval after marriage due to an extremely strong or domineering parent. The need for parental approval may block trust in their new mate.
  4. Parental relationship substitute – Some men and women continue to call or go see their parents about most key issues in their lives, sometimes before they consult their mate. This in turn creates a lack of dependence on the spouse.

Have you struggled with leaving and cleaving? What steps do you need to take to leave and cleave?

Leaving and cleaving is a fundamental part of a marriage foundation. Find out these four ways that couples often fail to leave and cleave.

Learn About Christian Family Life

Christian Family Life is a marriage discipleship ministry. We are here to offer resources and support no matter what condition your marriage is in. Our passion is to Build, Enrich, and Reconcile Marriages.

Meet the team!

Connect With Us!

Two Becoming One

No matter where you are in your marriage the Two Becoming One resource will improve your marriage.

Get the book now!

Did I Marry The Right Person?

Did I Marry The Right Person?

Shelly Foshee One of the greatest struggles I had early on in my marriage was questioning myself about missing the mark. Did I marry the wrong person? When Gray and I got married, we were pregnant. We came from a pretty legalistic upbringing. The situation we found...

read more
Fully Truth & Grace

Fully Truth & Grace

Gray Foshee Timothy Keller says, “Truth without grace is not really truth and grace without truth is not really grace”. Let that sink in for a moment. John 1:14-17 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from...

read more
Freedom Of Acceptance

Freedom Of Acceptance

Shelly Foshee Recently we attended a wedding. Part of the vows repeated were “I promise to do my best to love and accept you exactly as you are”. At first my thought was, “we never want to stay the same. We always want to grow  and become more like Christ.” But...

read more