I thought it was a simple question. We were just a few months away from our wedding, and I asked my fiancé, “How long do you plan for us to stay at the wedding reception?” It was more just mental preparation on my part than anything. I like to plan and wanted to know the schedule to make a timeline for our departure on our honeymoon. It hit us that in all the planning for the festivities, we would be able to go on vacation immediately after the ceremony, and it would be just the two of us. After years of a long-distance relationship and the impending freedom to enjoy all the benefits of marriage on the near horizon, I will admittedly say that I was very eager to embark upon a week away together.
We formulated a game plan. For the most part, everything was going according to schedule on our wedding day. After sharing all the obligatory reception milestones, we gathered our bags and headed to the getaway car. Running through a tunnel of our loved ones barraging us with what felt like a bazillion bubbles being blown into our faces, I removed enough of my groomsmen’s disgusting handiwork from the passenger side door of my vehicle to escort my new wife into our new life together. As I prepared to close the door, something appeared in her eyes that I wasn’t expecting to see. She was beginning to form some rather sizable tears that threatened my jubilant plans. I looked behind me to see what had caught her glance and served as a catalyst for such an untimely and unwanted emotion. As I turned, I noticed the mirrored reaction from her mother, and I became worried that my new wife’s sportive spirit had just turned into a downcast demeanor. As I ran around the vehicle to initiate our trip, I got to ask a question for the first time that we would repeat to each other through the years of marriage, “What’s the matter?”
I’ll never forget her genuine response: “I am so glad I am married to you and can’t wait to start our life together, but I think it just hit me that I’m not going home anymore.” I was unsure if that was the appropriate time to rejoice at such a reality, so I conveniently kept it inside. She was right. Everything we had ever known up to that point had dramatically and irreversibly changed.
Her home address just got relocated. The family’s identity just dramatically altered. She had just closed one door and opened a new one that ushered the way for a whole lot of me. For all the joys of the new beginning, there was a gravity to losing the old normal. For something new to start, something old had to change. While I don’t know if I thought of Genesis 2:24 at that moment, I later did and finally understood the weight of that Bible verse.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.Genesis 2:24
Some translations incorporated the language of leaving and cleaving. You move out of one environment and hold fast to a new one. The departure of one home was essential for the uniting of a marriage. The change didn’t serve to disrespect or disregard what had been, but it was necessary for what would be.
If you think about it, the directions for Adam and Eve seem awkward at this point in the narrative. Adam didn’t have a father and mother to leave in the first place. Why would Scripture contain it at this juncture? Because the nature of their marriage and every subsequent one would rise and fall on the ability to obey it. God ensured that people knew the pressing need for relational exclusivity in marriage for all the upcoming unions.
Why did God include that description early in the Scripture’s opening pages? Because marriage cannot work if someone has a higher priority than the spouse. There must be a thorough yet healthy leaving of one’s initial family and a complete and eager cleaving of one’s unique spouse. This biblical concept must become a practical reality for your marriage to thrive. Without this reasonable separation and intentional unification, your relationship will never experience the intimacy you deserve and need.