It was a cool Friday morning when husband and I headed to CCT Tagaytay for a couple’s retreat. We were invited years ago to attend a similar retreat for married couples but it was a day event only. This “Inseparable” retreat is a first for both my husband and I for two reasons. One, it’s our first overnight retreat as husband and wife. Would you believe that after 12 years of marriage, we will finally be alone in a room far away from the kids in this picturesque hillside location in Tagaytay. Second, we were assigned as breakout leaders or facilitators to a group of young couples. This will the first time my husband and I wold be working as a team which is doubly exciting for both of us.
Since there were a lot of insights I got from this special retreat, I decided to divide my posts. So this will be my first installment of the Inseparable Husband and Wife.
It’s sad to know and witness friends and family whose marriages started so beautifully ended up in either separation or annulment. When I was still single, I too welcomed the idea of separation. My reason for this was because my parents were fighting all the time and for every member of the family to have peace, I wanted them to call it quits to stop the endless bickering. But I was wrong to even think that.
I asked permission from my husband to share this part of our married life with you and he gladly said yes. Just to give you a brief background, my husband and I got married in 2002 and we thought that marriage was going to fix some of our personal issues in life. Not long after the honeymoon stage, there were doubts in my mind whether I married the right person. I had expectations of what a husband should be and I didn’t see them in my husband. We would be arguing over small things and when issues seem irreconcilable, I was quick to head out the door and go on our separate ways.
He, on the other hand, felt that I was not the kind of wife he wanted me to be and so the blame game went on for years. Fast forward to 2004, when a couple friend of ours invited us to a bible study in their home. And that my dear readers, is the beginning of how God slowly worked in our personal lives and eventually in our marriage.
When couples have problems with their marriage, the usual solution is to phone a friend or Mom. Oftentimes, this immediate solution only creates more problems. Same thing happened to me. I asked every sane person I know but I failed to ask the author of marriage, God. Since He instituted this bond between man and woman, then it’s logical to consult him, His Word, when problems arise. In order for us to know how to make our marriage work, we should seek the advice of the great architect, the designer of marriage and follow His design.
God said in Genesis 2:24 “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh”. This verse is commonly used in wedding ceremonies but we must look behind the words and see a beautiful principle that God ordained from the beginning. This is called the Leave-Cleave-Weave principle.
To Leave: When we committed before God to love our spouses, we are committing to one person whom He has chosen for us. The ties that bind us with our parents and our siblings are loosened and a new string is connected with our lifetime partners. We are no longer to depend on our parents for financial, emotional, or even spiritual support. The husbands now becomes the one who will provide for our needs. While the wife will care for the husband and provide the emotional support he needs.
We are to start a new life with them. We build a new home together. Our parents do not have control over our decisions anymore but decisions are made between husbands and wives. We can consult them or seek advice but in the end it’s a mutual decision between us and our spouses.
When we leave our parents home, we are in a way saying to them that our spouse becomes our priority. Every decision we make is now based on each other and not because “Mom said so”. But this does not mean we forget our parents and family, we are still commanded to honor them and love them but spouses take the first priority. We are no longer dependent on our parents but we now depend on our (husbands) to provide for our needs.
To Cleave: Husband and wife become one. We make decisions as a couple. We consult each other. We work out everything together. It’s no longer “His money is ours and my money is mine.” Whatever you both earn is now shared. We stick together through thick and thin. Heartaches, conflicts, sickness, poverty should not keep us apart. We work at our marriage no matter what. No room for separation, annulment or divorce.
The participants were so blessed by the sharing a broken couple. Both had adulterous relationships and the logical conclusion was to separate. But when God stepped in, everything changed. It’s only by God’s grace that this couple can look into each other’s eyes and say “I love you” to each other and meaning it. What a beautiful testimony.
To Weave: We become one flesh. We didn’t come into the marriage as perfect individuals. We came from different backgrounds, different sets of values, carrying our own uniqueness and we live in one roof. What a crazy idea but God is wiser than all of us and sees beyond what we see. He knew that our differences and conflicts can lead to beautifully woven masterpiece called marriage.
What thoughts do you have about God’s design for marriage? What steps are you going to take to enrich your marriage?