Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Put Asunder

I have a friend that I speak to quite a lot. She and her husband have been having lots of fights in their marriage because of the actions of family members on both sides. I admit even myself worried that they were too young to get married, but they seem happy when they are not fighting over family and draw strength from each other.

She is a new Christian and we both were wondering biblically what to do in this situation. We both knew of the verse "For this reason, a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife." Gen 2:24, but we got to discussing what that means. For all intent and purposes, it means the man forms a new household. He does not answer to his mother and father anymore, but to God as the head of his new household. I think this "leave and cleave" gets overlooked a lot in modern day society where conveniances such as cell phones and cars make it much easier to keep in touch. This can be both beneficial, and detrimental. It is beneficial for family members to keep in touch, but can also be detrimental when they are used to make strife.

In 1 Timothy 5:13 describes busybodies who go from house to house saying things they ought not to. This was happening with my friend. Soon more and more family members were interfering causing more problems within the marriage. I read an article on this subject which stated "Regardless of which side of the family the interference comes from, it is an assault upon the sanctity of the marriage and violates the "leave and cleave" of God's order for marriage. "

A husband who allows family on either side to interfere with the sanctity of his marriage, or to hurt, insult, or attempt to seperate him from his wife is violating the commandment given to husbands by God in Ephesians:

27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”b 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Eph. 5:27-33.

None has the right to interfere with the privacy of the home, nor criticize such. Remember your family member chose that person and made a vow before God to be joined to them forever. No one can be permitted to violate the sanctity of the family.

I have heard people argue that later in Ephesians is states to "obey" your parents. Read it more closely, it states for CHILDREN to obey their parents. My friend and her spouse are not children anymore. They answer only to God. God has instructed them to honor each other above all others. Family members cannot be allowed to continue to make problems within that union.

What about their children? I do not have a biblical answer for that. In Old Testament times children were treated like property of the parents and that is not usually the case now. However, children are part of the household that the husband is head of. It is his decision. Family members should realize that when you are griping about one spouse, remember that spouse is the mother/father of your neices, nephews, grandchildren, ect. They have a large say in who spends time with their children. If they feel threatened or harrassed or disrespected in anyway visits are probably a no go.

What about forgiveness. I am an absolute believer in forgiveness. However, you can forgive someone without putting yourself in the same situation over and over again. It is no crime to seperate yourself from toxic relationships to your household. I have said that before and I say it again. A person may forgive a child molester, but is not likely to leave their child alone with them again. That is an extreme example but gets my point across.

I hope I have helped better explain my position to my friend and I genuinly hope things improve for her in the future. The sanctity of marriage should be protected. She and her husband have every right to withdraw from people that violate it, especially if talks and arguments in the past have not resolved it. Whew, I know this was long, but I feel like I made my point much better that I did over the phone with her.