as well as the comments, I certainly hope that is the case. (Did you notice how easily I slipped that in?
As a result of having read and pondered this particular posting on Beth’s blog, along with the comments, my thoughts have turned deeper and deeper towards relationships within families. As she mentioned times have changed, but as she and so many others point out, they cling to God Who has not, nor will not, ever change. What a blessing in a world filled with uncertainty and constant change to know we have The Solid Rock on which to stand!
In the beginning, God had plans for relationships. Before there were mothers and fathers, He said, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Did you get that “BEFORE there were mothers and fathers” part of my statement? Sounds like God had some kind of plan, so bear with me here.
First, let me explain my understanding of the phrase “for this cause”: It seems to me to mean because He made them male and female to become one flesh in marriage. (Not a popular stance in the eyes of some in today’s world, but that is the who God created us to be.)
Next, I would be remiss if I left those of you hanging who have grave concerns over abusive relationships in which you unexpectedly found yourselves. First, you answer to God alone. I do know the marriage relationship is compared to Christ and the church in Ephesians and the examples found there are laid at the feet of both the man and the woman. I’ll quote the last verse only here but heartily encourage the reading of the entire passage found in Ephesians 5:22-33: “Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.”
Now, let’s go back to the idea of husband and wife putting each other BEFORE mother and father. My guess is we are all equally familiar with scripture that teaches us to honor our parents, but just where do we draw the line…or do we? Any loving parent understands there are occasions when a celebration has to be canceled (postponed) because a child unexpectedly runs a high fever, breaks a bone causing a run to the ER, or some other such disaster, but what about the more subtle interruptions between husband and wife? After 52+ years of marriage, I can even say once a new little dog came first! Thankfully my husband was in full agreement that it should be that way or I would have had a very difficult decision to make…but you know what? Husband would have made the first cut because 52+ years ago I promised to love and honor him.
We may laugh a little, but what about the interference of other people we love who are in our lives: God-fearing, well meaning, sometimes genuinely helpful loved ones? Perhaps our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters? Do our parents let us go when we marry? Do our children interfere in our relationships? Probably one of the best things that occurred when John and I married was our move to another state. No running home to Mamma at the first argument. (I’d never seen my parents argue and I thought it meant the end of my new marriage! Boy, did I have a lot to learn!) Thankfully, when we lived closer, both John’s and my parents were hands-off except for visits although I am sure there were occasions when every one of them would love to have had a word or two with each John and me!
However, as we aged, the time came when my widowed mother, at age 87, came to live with us at our invitation. I make a point of saying, “our” invitation because it was total agreement. We had a lovely, roomy house in the country, but in a state far from her original home state. She happily agreed to come and within two years, another move followed for us, along with some mini-strokes in her. That, combined with the stress of her care and my misunderstanding of all the changes in her, forced the decision for a nursing home for her. It was either my husband or my then 89-y-o-frail mother. That decision haunts me to this day; however, the teaching I could hear from her from past years came through loud and clear, as it still does today, “Your husband comes first.”
I didn’t abandon my mother although it feels like it. I still spent inordinate amounts of time trying my utmost to get the care she required until the day she died… including another move to another state. I know I did what God planned from the beginning, in that I put my husband before mother or father, seeking to honor Him and His Word along the way. Mother and father, son and daughter, other loved ones have their places, but let’s remember, as difficult as the decision sometimes is, it is the husband and wife God planned to be one.
“For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”