The Most Abused Marital Doctrines (I) By Chukwuneta Oby
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A senior friend introduced me to his daughter (who’s about getting married), recently. As soon as he left us alone, I began to ask about her ‘husband to be’ and his folks. The first thing she told me was that he was raised by a single mum who made it clear that whoever marries her son is also marrying her. Then she wondered why the woman couldn’t understand that at the point of marriage, the new relationship that a man is going into takes preeminence over every other relationship that he has. To buttress her point, she mentioned the famous Bible doctrine about a man leaving his mother and father to cling to his wife because both have become one.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’’
I have never missed the serious emphasis that some sisters lay on the ‘leave’ and ‘cling’ words when sermonizing this marital doctrine which is (understandably) their favourite biblical marital doctrine. That idea of a man making his relationship with his woman supreme gives most of us the kicks. And that is actually not an issue, except that most women are not just contented with a man making their marital relationship a priority. Compared to every other relationship he has, they also want the man to cut off whatever ties he has with his folks(siblings, parents, etc) so as to ‘cling’ properly to his woman.
This (to me) is one of the most abused marital doctrines and I am fast coming to the conclusion that most of those that are quick to mouth it off do so from very questionable (selfish motives?) point of views.
A marital relationship is a partnership of sorts and what makes a partnership venture thrive is the efforts made at carrying everybody (yourselves and each other’s folks) along. And when you operate with a spirit of ‘oneness’ in marriage, you don’t go encouraging a spouse to cut off relationships or diminish the importance of the very relationships that he has known all his life to ‘cling’ to you. Do you know when and where they started the very journey that you have just joined?
It is so easy to mouth off the ‘leave and cling’ doctrine when it favours one. But try putting yourself in the shoes of that single mum, whose son is everything to. No one knows (yet) the many sleepless nights and sacrifices made for the son to be who he is today, only for somebody who (probably) doesn’t know half of their story, to come and start looking for who would ‘cling’ to her at the expense of a son’s relationship with the mother.
Please say a prayer of forgiveness, if you have been of this mindset. Where there is genuineness of purpose, you simply encourage your spouse to carry everybody along. Both the relationship he shares with you (as his wife) and the bond he shares with the very people that brought him into this world are very important for his joy and emotional balance.
You don’t love that man you are constantly haranguing with the ‘leave and cling’ marital doctrine. If being close to his folks make him happy, simply key into that relationship. You have just discovered his ‘weakness button’- which you can always press when need be. There is never going to be a time that your marital relationship with anybody alone will balance their emotional needs. They will always have needs for other (friendships, parental, sibling, social acquaintances, etc) ‘relationships and bonds’ to be at their optimal and it is your duty to encourage each of these relationships…so long as they are not ‘toxic’!