Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leaving and Cleaving

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined (cleave) to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” -Genesis 2:24

We both grew up hearing the importance of “leaving and cleaving”. It wasn’t until we were going through pre-marriage counseling with our pastor back home and he mentioned for us to spend time with a couple that had been married for many years - until we really learned firsthand the importance of this concept we heard so much about. When spending time with this couple during our engagement, they were very candid with us about the importance of leaving and cleaving. The wife went on to mention that when they first got married - she would go into the bathroom and call her mom crying to talk through what she and her husband had just been frustrated about. This obviously was not the right way to handle the situation. Years later and many counseling sessions behind them - the two of them could honestly look us in the eyes and encourage us to deal openly and directly with each other when conflicts or situations arise, instead of pulling others - especially parents and in-laws into the picture. We were so thankful for their openness on this topic which has really set the bar for how we want to handle these type of circumstances. 
A light hearted example of leaving and cleaving was this past summer when we were leaving Chattanooga to come back to Nashville. We were pulling out of the parking lot in my Ford Explorer, rolling down the window one last time to say “bye” and “love you” to Mom & Dad before we hit the road. Once we pulled onto the road and went to roll up the window, the passenger seat window was not budging. My first comment to Brandon was for us to turn around and leave my car with Mom and Dad - just switch cars with them for the week. I knew they would know just the place to take the car to get the window fixed - then when we swapped cars back we would have the window fixed and be on our merry way. Brandon smiled in his caring way and calmly said, “Babe, you’re mine now. This is our car and it’s us now. We’ll drive the car back to Nashville and take care of it there. We don’t even need to call them about this.” 

Well...two hours later...we pull into our driveway after quite the adventurous ride home. As we were heading over Monteagle, the raindrops started coming and I just leaned in towards the center console to stay dry. We couldn’t carry a normal conversation the whole way back cause we had to talk so loud to even hear each other over the sound of the loud wind crashing in. I was cold the whole way back and kept thinking how much easier it would have been to just swap cars. I prayed so many times for that window to roll up. Each time I would try again - I just knew this would be “the time”. Once we were back in Nashville, Brandon found a place for me to take the car and get the guy to roll up the window once and for all. We didn’t want to pay the money or spend the time with the car in the shop for them to do the rewiring or whatever needed to happen to actually fix the window. Still to this day the passenger seat window is rolled up - and not going anywhere! It’s a reminder to me each time we go to use it that it was well worth it for us to “put our big girl panties on and deal with it” and not pull Mom and Dad into it. The next time I spoke to them after that incident - they got quite a kick out of what had happened but were so proud of us for handling it the way we did. It’s been such a blessing to have Brandon really lead us in embarking on OUR life together...and dealing with things that come up as the two of us. We encourage any new couple to start the leaving and cleaving first off - it will bless you and your family. 

1 comment:

  1. Really great point Whitney! This was something that our mentors impressed upon us (a couple in their 50's who opened their lives to us and walked us through our pre-marital counseling and 1st year of marriage - what a blessing!) We had an opportunity to borrow my Dad's car for our first few months of marriage (my car was in bad shape and wouldn't make it up to Michigan), but instead we chose to do without a car for a few months and then buy one on our own! While those 1st few months were tough sharing a car (Rusty had to drive me around b/c it was a stick-shift) we learned patience and dependence on each other. And starting out FULLY on our OWN was a great first step into marriage together!!!

    I would also put out a "vote" for moving away for your first year or two of marriage. While our time in Michigan has been REALLY hard for us, it's been a time when it was just the two of us - leaving and cleaving - to each other, getting through it all together, building a new life together (instead of one of us fitting into the other's life/friends/family). I think as the years pass we will realize more and more how precious and important these 2 years away have been!