From One Family to Multiple Families

Genesis 2:24 – Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

When a new couple gets married, one of the biggest things each of their parents needs to realize is that neither one is marrying into one family or the other, but instead they’re starting their own new family. This can get complex and complicated especially when it comes to holidays.

When the Bible says that a man should leave his parents and pursue his wife, it is so they can start their own family. When I officiated the weddings of our oldest son and daughter (our younger children are unmarried as we write this), I was clear to everyone in my sermon that the newly married couple was starting their own family, and they had the right to decide how they would live their life, enjoy the holidays, spend their money, take their vacations, and raise their children. 

Before our children were married, they were part of our family. Once our children are married, they are their own family. We become their extended family, and because we are no longer their priority, we should work around them and not demand that they work around us. 

For example, before our oldest daughter was married, I was the main man in her life. I helped her make all her decisions, and she spent her holidays and vacations with us. I loved every single minute of this season of our life, but that season is over.

Today, her husband is the main man in her life. He gets to make decisions with her, plan vacations with her, and enjoy the holidays with her. My goal is to do all I can to help them have a healthy, loving, joyful, and God-centered marriage, and I must accept that my role has changed.

We have wonderful and close relationships with our grown children, see them all the time, have big, bi-weekly family dinners, and enjoy some holidays and vacations together, but none of this is demanded or required. Everything is open-handed, and we do not take offense if our grown, married children do things as a couple that do not involve us. Our house, schedule, and budget are open to them, and we expect nothing in return. Our goal is to give and not take, bless and not burden, help and not hinder their family.

When parents and extended family members press too hard and demand too much, it can cause a lot of conflict in a marriage between the husband and wife or require that they pull back and create a firm boundary, which causes hurt and distance that should not be necessary if things are healthy and godly. 

As a married couple, have holidays been enjoyable or stressful? If you’re the parents of a godly married child, how can you support and bless them?