Did You Grow Up in a Normal Family?

Genesis 2:24 (KJV) – Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Growing up, we tend to think our family is normal because it is the only frame of reference we have. As we get to know other families, visit their homes, and observe their relationships, for example, if we are in a healthy church family made up of families, then we have a variety of family systems to compare to our family. Every young married couple I have ever counseled was surprised to learn how different their birth family was from their spouse’s, and how many assumptions about marriage, parenting, and family life they unknowingly had until two people from differing families tried to become a new family. 

Tragically, our world has no healthy or helpful concept of God, gender, sex, marriage, parenting, or family. God’s perfect divine design is that marriage is for one man and one woman. Marriage is a covenant with God spiritually that is consummated with your spouse sexually. 

Moses, Jesus, and Paul all teach the same three-step process to having a healthy marriage and new family.

  1. Step one: Leaving – Leave your mother and father. This is to happen financially as you are providing for yourself and your new family, spiritually as you choose your own church and walk with God, physically as you move out of your parents’ home, and relationally as your birth family is no longer your highest priority because they become your extended family as you begin your new immediate family. 
  2. Step two: Cleaving – Cleave, which is the old King James language for “hold fast”, means to redirect your energy and priority from other people to your spouse so that you can passionately pursue them for the covenant relationship of marriage. 
  3. Step three: Uniting – Become one together, learning to live together in love and unity as two persons who become one a bit like the Trinity where God is three persons who live together as One God. Practically, unless you leave you cannot cleave, and you will not become one. Until you stop clinging tightly to your extended family, you cannot start clinging tightly to your new immediate family starting with your spouse and then including your children.

For those who do marry, the reason why many marriages are lonely, strained, and struggling is because the husband and/or the wife have not truly left their mother and father, which leads to an ungodly and dysfunctional new family system that God cannot bless because it is disobedient to His divine design. If you want God to bless your marriage and family, you have to place them under His Word. God does not bless people; God does bless a place. If people place themselves under His Word, then He blesses them.

Looking at generations in your family, is there a pattern of health or unhealth in following the 3 steps of leaving, cleaving, and uniting? If married, have you and your spouse done this well or poorly? If poorly, what pain has this failure caused?

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