For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. -Genesis 2:24-25
Cleaving Without Leaving
Many young people today are attempting the first part of Genesis 2:24, becoming one flesh, but leaving out the second part of the verse, leaving their father and mother. I believe many marriages suffer unnecessarily, or even fail, because without the second part, leaving father and mother, the first part, becoming one flesh, doesn’t work very well. Independence from mom and dad is a huge key to a healthy marriage. A husband and wife must form a team of three: the husband, the wife, and their God. When a dad and/or mom is involved it becomes a team of 4 or 5. Or if both sets of parents are involved, a team of seven! God’s way is the best way, and it’s up to us as parents to allow our kids to separate, to leave. Because if they don’t leave, emotionally as well as physically, then they won’t cleave. The parents I see who fall into the trap of over involvement are the same parents who cause problems in the marriages of their kids and in their kids relationship with Jesus too. Too much involvement in our adult kids’ marriages makes things worse instead of better. Young married people, especially you husbands, insist on independence. Guard your marriage from your parent’s over involvement, in a loving and gracious manner, but with tenacity. For you to be successful in your marriage your spouse must come before your parents, and your God must come before your spouse.
And in case you’ve already successfully left your parents, be sure to leave others as well. Friendship with those of the opposite sex, the kind of friendship that involves time alone together, even small amounts of time alone together, is nearly always found at the beginning of an adulterous relationship. Don’t do it. Don’t invest in that relationship at work or at the gym, even if you don’t feel an attraction. As you invest your heart will inevitably follow as Jesus said in Luke 12:34. And as God says to us in Proverbs 6:27-28, Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?
Jesus on Divorce
Jesus quoted from Genesis 2:24 when the Pharisees came to trap Him with a question. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (Matthew 19:3) They probably thought, “If we can get Jesus to say that divorce is not permitted, not God’s will, then we can quote the law of Moses and, BOOM, the trap is shut, we’ve got him.” But Jesus went back to the beginning, to God’s original plan for marriage, before the law was given to Moses. Jesus from Genesis 2:24,
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Perhaps at this point the Pharisees, realizing that they’d been out maneuvered, asked the following question, as a last ditch effort to salvage their trap…
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Matthew 19:7)
But Jesus replied,
“Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9)
Divorce Reality Check
Today we’ve seen a rather large cultural shift from divorce being such a negative to a new perception of divorce as a liberating, freeing, positive experience. A single parent household, a man and woman living together unmarried perhaps with children, these are seen as acceptable alternative lifestyles. What’s being completely ignored is the well being of the children of divorce. The vast majority of children from divorced families surveyed say they’d like to see their original family back together. Have you heard that statistic before? Probably not. Five years after divorce more than a third of children experienced depression. Even at 10 years and 15 years after divorce, many of the children involved had significant problems. Children from divorced families were found to be less successful in life than children from intact families, particularly in the areas of relationships and careers.
Most of the time the custody of the children goes to the mother. What’s not a part of the public discussion is that about half of all single mothers live below the poverty line. And this desperate economic circumstance is not for the short haul — on average it lasts for six years after a divorce. For African American single mothers it’s much worse, 10 years after divorce only 33% of African American mothers were remarried, the rest continued in financial distress. (McLanahan-Garfinkel)
So don’t close your eyes to the devastation caused by divorce. Build your marriage on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His word. Invest in your wife, invest in your husband and your heart will follow. Follow His ways, in life, and in your marriage.
Sex a Gift from God
Finally notice in Genesis 2:25 that God provided that The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. God very specifically tells us in Hebrews 13:4 that His plan for the marriage bed is for it to be undefiled. Sex inside of marriage is a gift from Him, and shame has no part in it. When you invest in your wife, when you invest in your husband, do so in all areas including your physical relationship. For God tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:4-5
The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
[Image via: Maria Rosaria – Creative Commons]
Single Mothers and Their Children, Sarah McLanahan and Irwin Garfinkel, 1986
insightful site. Divorcing with children can be particularly stressful. Any additional advice fo divorcing dads?
My Q is in NO way meant to be argumentative or disrespectful. :o) I’m just trying to understand some things that are very unclear to me…& to many others. You write: >>> Finally, notice in Genesis 2:25 that God provided that The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.(Yes, this was BE*FORE the fall) However, *AFTER the fall “they were naked and they **were ashamed”. – You go on to write:>> (Quote): > God very specifically tells us in Hebrews 13:4 that His plan for the marriage bed is for it to be undefiled. Sex inside of marriage is a gift from Him, and shame has no part in it. (end quote) IF this is true, then why do we see Adam & Eve ASHAMED of their nakedness, & hiding in the garden, after the fall?
Thanks for your thoughts,
I never saw how someone could perceive a contradiction here Dana. Thank you for pointing it out to me! You asked a really great question.
What I was trying to communicate was similar to what Jesus communicated to the Pharisees about divorce in Matthew chapter 19:3-9. God’s original intention for marriage was for the two to become one flesh and for man not to separate what God has joined together. What Jesus is saying here is that today, married couples should follow God’s original intention for marriage–to stay together as one flesh and not divorce. In the same way I believe that God’s original intention for the marriage bed is for the marriage bed to be absent of shame, and married couples should follow God’s original intention. I think 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 supports that belief, as well as Hebrews 13:4.
Also as a practical observation, my own marriage is at it’s best–not just physically but in all areas–when we’re practicing 1 Corinthians 7:4-5. When we stray from 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 our relationship suffers.
So to sum up: before the fall, Adam and Eve’s marriage was the way God intended it to be. After the fall God still intended for the physical part of their marriage to be without shame, but, the act of putting themselves and their own will before God and His will, cast a shadow over everything, including their nakedness. Now they feel vulnerable when their naked. But that’s in spite of God’s original intention, even as Jesus explained that the desire for men to divorce their wives was against God’s original intention. So whether it’s about divorce or shame in the marriage bed, what God has intended, let not man and woman disregard.
Does that help?
Yes, It does help! (warm smile) Thank you! Sorry for the delay in replying but I had a bit of trouble getting back to the site (& into my WordPress acct) to view & reply.
Thank you Kurt.
May God shower you & yours with blessings today,
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Very inspiring and informative blog, Kurt! I intend to read all of the top five! Kar
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