Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Leave and Cleave

For this reason shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:

and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24 (KJV)

Leave and cleaveHave you thought about the context of this passage? It comes right after God created Eve from Adam’s rib, and Adam pronounced, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

Adam and Eve had no mother and father to leave. God clearly put it in there for people who came afterward, who would face the sometimes difficult transition of changing loyalty. When we marry, we are to shift our primary loyalty to our spouse. He or she becomes our first priority, and should stay that way, ahead of children or jobs, or anything else on earth.

Part of leaving includes becoming financially independent. Dave Ramsey strongly advises against lending or borrowing money within the family. That creates a dynamic that complicates the leaving and cleaving admonition, and as Dave says, “Thanksgiving dinner just doesn’t taste the same when you’re eating with the banker.”

“Cleave” is a very strong word meaning “to cling” or “to stick to;” literally becoming one organism. After a Covenant marriage, to separate is like amputating a limb; to commit adultery (“adulterate” means to put something that doesn’t belong into something) is like putting in a malignant tumor.

Marriage was God’s idea. During the week of creation, every day He said, “It is good.” But after He created Adam, and Adam had named all the animals, God said, “It’s NOT good for the man to be alone. I’ll give home someone suitable to help him.”

What’s marriage for, anyway? Obviously, procreation. Specifically, procreation of children that we bring up in the fear and admonition of God, to continue His work. Another purpose is to exemplify the relationship between Christ and the Church. Servant leadership, selfless love, trusting submission. We need to always remember that a world of unbelievers is watching our Christian marriages, waiting for them to fall apart, so that when they do, their excuses seem justified.

The pleasure, both relational and sexual, that we receive in marriage; well, is it a purpose or a result? I’m not sure, but I know that when we get it right– God’s way– we get a lot of both!

Having a successful, Godly marriage requires a lot of self-discipline and effort. You have to give, to be kind and forgiving, when you’d rather not. You have to admit your sins and ask forgiveness, when it’s more natural to blame someone else.

Tweet this! Marriage is the perfect lab where we practice godly living!

There are lots of failed “experiments” in righteousness, but that just gives us opportunity to practice the other side of godliness, which is forgiveness and grace.

Here’s a great preacher and teacher, who was featured in the Art of Marriage, teaching on marriage at his church. Have a date night at home with your spouse and watch it together!

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21


Complete, Don’t Compete

marriage complete each otherYou’re married to a sinner. So am I. And so are our spouses. That’s what’s wrong with marriages today. If you read yesterday’s  “A Merry Heart,” you know we hosted a FamilyLife Art of Marriage conference. In the “Love Fades… the Drift Toward Isolation” chapter, they said one result of sin is the tendency not to complete each other, as God intended, but to compete with one another. In Genesis 3:16, God told Eve, “…Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” I always thought it meant sexual desire, (then the promised pain of childbirth), but the scholars explained that the original language implies the desire to rule over your husband. The New Living Translation says it this way: “… And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” ( has many translations, plus scholarly articles at the bottom, if you want to read more.) So one of the results of sin was conflict in marriage. We all want to be the boss, because we are by nature selfish! Even with the first sin, Adam and Eve began throwing blame around: “It was the serpent’s fault! He tricked me!” “It was the woman’s fault! You know, the one YOU gave me!” Anything but admit that they did wrong! They immediately threw somebody else under the bus. We need to remember that at the bottom of most– all? — marital conflict is the fight to get MY WAY.  MY rights have been violated. And sometimes they have. But do we have the right to claim our rights if we are Christ-followers? He had the right to have everyone– EVERYONE– bow down and worship. They didn’t. He forgave. One thing to remember, though, is that our spouse is not the enemy in the situation; he is just doing what sinful people do. There is a spiritual battle taking place in every marriage.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

The answer is seen in the following verses:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11 (ESV)

Remember, we were created for relationship, intimacy, and unity with God, and in our marital relationships but sin blew that plan. The same Christ that built the bridge between God and mankind offers the bridge between husband and wife.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned– every one– to his own way. Isaiah 53:6 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

And Christ provided the cure:

“… in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 (ESV) “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I love a quote from one of the scholars they featured, Paul David Tripp: “What the cross brings is fresh starts and new beginnings.” We’ve all needed those from time to time! So how about you? Do you need a fresh start and new beginning today?


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