Cleaving: What Does It Mean in Marriage Anyway?

On my way home from the store, in a shopping center just a block from our apartment building, I saw a man and a woman lying down on the ground in a corner holding one another tightly, trying to keep warm.

Their bags were beside them and I couldn’t believe what I was watching as I had never seen both a man and a woman together who were homeless.

I had no idea if they were married or boyfriend and girlfriend but that beautiful, heart-breaking image of that man and woman holding on to each other triggered something in my heart reminding me of my relationship to my husband Jeremiah.

Throughout our almost six years of marriage now, the wind and the rain and the hurricanes have swept through our marriage at times, testing our faith in God and our trust in each other, and we have learned to cleave.

But the truth is that I didn’t know how to cleave before I said “I do.” I mean I got the point of it all and I understood God’s word on leaving and cleaving, but I had to experience it first to really get it. And I’m still trying to get it.

But cleaving to Jeremiah has meant that I’m submissive to his leadership. That I honor, respect, and serve him with a willing heart. That I’m patient in his mistakes as he is with me and that I lift him up, not tear him down. That I praise him and build his self-esteem. That I continue to show him that I’m his #1 fan.

Cleaving to Jeremiah has meant that I put up boundaries in our relationship and keep it protected from harm and future trouble. And when there is conflict, that I’m quick to admit my faults and work through our differences in a godly way.

Cleaving has meant that our children come second, even as they demand most of our time right now. Our unity and oneness cannot be forfeited and our relationship is #1.

To cleave has meant that we are now one. We’re no longer two individuals with our separate agendas and plans. Everything we do affects one another, somehow and some way. We’re now our own family, distinct from the families we grew up in.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24

God is using all of our experiences, joyful and difficult, to teach me to hold fast to Jeremiah. To work hard and be disciplined in the areas I struggle in so that when the winds and the rain and the storms of life come again, as they will, I’ll continue to cleave.

And to do nothing more because Jeremiah is God’s provision for me.

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