I think every child is born with the urge to "wedge." You know ... parents are in bed talking or snuggled on the couch or watching tv together, and kids are overcome with the urge to get between! Everything in them wants to be in the middle. We've enjoyed lots of sweet moments with our kiddos "in the middle," but even good things can get between us in dangerous ways.
It's not hard to find things in life to separate us. I'm not talking about temporary distance when a man needs to shave his face or a woman needs to shave her legs, I'm talking about the crowbars of life that pry us apart. Our sinfulness is a wedge of its own, but circumstances can divide us as well. Sometimes people get between us, even people we love, like friends or parents or children. This time of year, the holidays bring a garland of potential pry bars: purchase decisions, time out at parties, agreeing with relatives, choosing where to spend holiday celebrations. This is a season to cleave.
In Genesis 2 we first read about "cleaving," quoted later in Matthew 19. Last week we talked about how to "live out your leaving." We "leave" as a result of being distinctly male and female, made to complement one another, intended to be united. Everything about us from our anatomy to our emotional longings reaffirms this plan of God's. The word "cleave" comes from the King James Version of the Bible, often translated as "joined" in more recent versions of scripture. The word literally means to be "glued together." Joining makes a man and woman one flesh, and once it happens, they can't go back to being as they were before.
Matt. 19:4-6And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
We have a clue that it may be other people who attempt to do the separating. I've used hot glue, school glue, rubber cement, super glue, glue sticks, glue pens, and wallpaper paste ... and I've used a lot of "glue removal products." The Enemy is creative in using all kinds of "glue removers" to try and separate us, because when he does, it taints the image of one flesh to the watching world. It causes pain. Do you know that pain? Have you been at the epi-center or in the blast zone? I've been there, and there's pain for everyone involved when one flesh is being "torn asunder."
But marriage is the thing "God has joined together," glue not meant to be dissolved. When couples are joined by glue substitutes (like lust, ambition, selfishness) the bonds don't hold. We have to be on guard, especially this time of year, against things and people that threaten to separate us. If it was only as easy as shaving my legs to make myself easier to get close to! ;) But it's likely to look more like showing preference to my spouse's needs and feelings over my extended family's ... choosing to be closest to my husband instead of my kids ... joining in his hopes instead of someone else's agenda ... gladly shopping for a gift for his assistant (from US) ... enthusiastically attending his work party ... being gracious when Aunt Maud reminisces about that cute cheerleader hubby dated before he met me ;) ....
In the weeks ahead, WE WILL HAVE TO CHOOSE. I'm not talking about neglecting other people who need us or about being cold to those we love or about encouraging selfishness in our man; I'm not talking about spending all of our time together, never having time with girlfriends or time alone. ... I'm talking about making it clear we are "glued together" with our spouse. Some of your will have to take stands to demonstrate that you cleave to each other. You may be challenged; it may be awkward; it may be painful. Let no boss, buddy, in-law, child, or Aunt Maud tear us asunder. As couples we need to be SURE of our bond, and those around us need to know it.
Sometimes I feel so torn by trying to meet the needs of other people in my life (children, parents, the PTA, the neighbor, co-workers...) that I push Jeff "out of the way" to take care of other people before him. But God has not called us to cleave to our parents or to our girlfriend or even to our children ......... read that again. But God has not called us to cleave to our parents or to our girlfriend or even to our children. As a wife, He joined me to my husband. I can get so focused on making other people happy that I neglect the one God has bonded me to. That hurts our bond. There is freedom and security for our children when they know their parents are united, and family members will celebrate our solid marriage. Even when apart or under pressure, our glue should hold. Plan to stick together with comments like:
- I'll wait and see what Daddy wants to do.
- Sounds like it may work; let me talk to _ & see what he's thinking.WE'll let you know.
- You can climb in over here next to me; I want to lay by Daddy.
- I have plans then, but maybe we could do it another time.(Hubby time on your calendar)
- I have some ideas, but I want to hear what _____ thinks first.
Now I know you have something sticky in your house ... super glue, craft glue, hot glue, a blob of jelly on the counter? :) Before you hang a single Christmas ornament (is it too late?), I want to challenge you to get out some GLUE and put it where it will be a visual reminder during the holidays. Let's be on the alert for those things that may tear us apart, even the good things. You have been joined by God, divinely glued together as one, no longer two, meant to stick and stay bonded.