The Importance of Leaving and Cleaving

“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother, be united to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.”

That verse, Genesis 2:24, is usually referred to in the context of marriage. But Pastor Ted Cunningham pointed out to me that it actually begins as an observation about parenting.

The verse declares that a man will leave his father and mother. It assumes that our children will leave home as adults, not as children who must then set out on a journey to become grownups on their own.

The verse communicates that adults build healthy relationships by separating from people when it’s healthy and appropriate to do so and by bonding to others for the same reason. That’s the essence of God’s “leaving and cleaving” design.

That’s why it’s important for we parents to understand that our relationship with our children must radically change once they enter the adult world. We have to cut the tether. In fact, the word translated as leave in Genesis 2:24 comes from a Hebrew word that actually means “to forsake.”

The good news is, detaching from a parent-child relationship opens the door for something equally as meaningful: an adult-adult relationship.

My recent conversation with Pastor Ted Cunningham will help you understand that journey a little better. We’ve titled it “The Importance of Leaving and Cleaving,” and you can hear it on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or on our free phone app.

Ted offers great tips for successfully cutting old tethers with your children and forming new ones. Learn how to help your children “leave and cleave” in a way that empowers them to strike out into marriage with confidence and to have strong, meaningful relationships with their family and friends.

Ted contributed to a Focus on the Family project called, Ready to Wed: 12 Ways to Start a Marriage You’ll Love, which is available for a gift of any amount. Visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).

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