Marriage: leaving and cleaving.

This week hubby and I celebrate 23 years of marriage, which is terribly exciting! I cannot begin to say how grateful I am for Trav’s love, his support and care for me over the past 23+ years (we’ve been together for 28 years) has been amazing and in particular the past intense 5 years. The challenges we’ve faced have been difficult and confronting but looking back I realise that God’s grace has been at work helping us each step of the way. This reminds me of the promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God’s grace is all we need in our time of trial, for His great power works best in weakness. I see that now but I did not see it at the beginning because when I laid in bed, barely able to get out, I could not see how God was at work.

My dear friend Elisa sent me a link to the song ‘Gracefully Broken’ and the following lyrics really helped me to process the season I’m in:

“Your power at work in me

I’m broken gracefully

I’m strong when I am weak

I will be free”

My weakness has forced me to rely COMPLETELY upon the only One who is always strong – God. As I’ve allowed Him to break away all the bits of my life that have needed to be destroyed, I’ve discovered a new level of freedom.  I asked God to show me something in regards to my marriage and I was surprised when He asked me to look more into leaving and cleaving. Here is the journey God took me on:

I was talking to a friend about being homesick and I shared with her that when my kids were little I was DESPERATE to move back to the NW coast to be with family. But with Trav being the main earner the right job just wasn’t there. For at least a decade every visit home would leave me feeling depressed, I’d feel a heaviness hit my heart the moment I got into the car and it would grow with the distance. For days after I’d be so annoyed, sad and mad that we lived so far away. I asked God many times for a door to open. Early into my deep inner healing journey I discovered a truth that helped me so much, I realized that closed doors can be God’s sovereign protection. I love how Lysa TerKeurst explains it:

“When God says no, we are sometimes tempted to wonder if He loves us. In reality, it’s because He loves us, He sometimes says no. Instead of feeling like it’s the end of the world, we can remember His no may simply mean not now, not yet, not necessarily, or not in your best interest. Let’s stand on His Promise of love so we don’t get deceived with doubt in this process. And let’s trust His best for us is on the way!”

I see now that we are called to be here, that God has a plan and a purpose in this. So what is this leaving and cleaving all about? In Genesis 2:23-24 Adam proclaims: “Finally! At last, this one is one of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She will be called ‘woman’ because she is taken from ‘man’.” The verse finishes with this statement: this explains why a man leaves his father and mother to be joined with his wife, the two are united into one.

Ted Cunningham explains that we are to leave home physically, relationally, emotionally, financially, spiritually and sometimes geographically.

  • Physically (and sometimes geographically) – you move out of your family’s home and that can sometimes be some distance away.
  • Relationally – Your preferred person in life is now your spouse.
  • Emotionally – process a decision through with your spouse taking into account their feelings. Don’t allow your parent’s emotions or opinions cloud your decision making.
  • Financially – blaze your own financial trail.
  • Spiritually – It is a personal faith in Jesus saves you, not just your family’s faith.

These are points I’ve found so helpful. I am extremely grateful that God is so patient with me and as I look towards the future I’m grateful that I can learn, grow and encourage others.

Here is my prayer:

Lord Jesus, You dealt with the root of all issue – sin. You defeated it and I no longer need to be a slave to sin. Lord, please help me to leave behind my old ways and cleave to You – to be set apart for You. I ask You to unite me deeper with my husband, I’m so grateful for him because he is such a blessing to me. Thank You for Your truly amazing grace that sustains us and works in our moments of weakness. Thank You for being our strength and refuge in life’s storms and trials. Lord smile upon us and be gracious towards us (Number 6:25). May the grace of our Lord Jesus and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit continually teach us (2 Corinthians 13:14). In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Blessings, Keona

Notes:

‘Gracefully Broken’ by Matt Redman YouTube link

““At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:23-24 NLT

“Then Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” GENESIS 2:23-24 AMP

“The Man said, “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made from Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:23-25 MSG

A Virtuous Wife

I’ve gone through so many emotions in my marriage and most recently I’ve experienced repentance (yet again). After 22 years of marriage I came to a startling realisation:

“The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife transforms her husband into an honored king. But the wife who disgraces her husband weakens the strength of his identity.” Proverbs 12:4 The Passion Translation

As I read those words I felt as if they pierced my chest. As I reflected upon those words I sought out the meaning and what God was trying to teach me. I read through the verse in other versions:

The New Living Translation explains it like this: “A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.”

The Amplified version explains that a virtuous wife is worthy of honour, but she who shames him, through foolishness, is like rottenness in his bones.

The Message version urged me to be a healthy wife so that I might invigorate my husband!

I reflected upon the many times I had said hurtful things or responded to situations with the wrong attitude, and a deep sorrow entered my heart. I remember vividly getting so angry and annoyed about how Trav would leave a wet towel lying around. That small thing grew into such a bitterness. I remember God urging me to not get angry about it, but rather to bless my husband and be so grateful for him. I tried to set a pattern in my life where I would regularly pray a blessing over my husband. When I was sick I was barely able to function and therefore my practice of praying for my husband slipped. As I grow in strength and restoration I have been actively releasing those prayers of blessing once again. I am so grateful for Trav’s love, care and support throughout this truly difficult time. I am so astounded at his grace and kindness towards me. I truly desire to be a wife that brings honour to my husband, that blessed and invigorates his life.

It is my heart’s cry for Trav to feel the honour I wish to bestow upon him, today and all the days to come! I want him to feel like a king returning from battle, that he returns to a home that is joyous over his safe arrival. Each day may I wait at the door for my mighty warrior to return, looking expectantly  to the horizon for the arrival of my champion. What joy enters my heart when I see his banner in the distance (car pull into the driveway). How I long to hold him once again in my arms; and to hear of his mighty victories! Each day I pray: ‘Lord bless my love as he goes out and as he travels home; pour Your favour upon him and anoint each and every action that he takes!’

This is my prayer for Trav & I:

Our minds — that we will have the mind of Christ and think as the Holy Spirit would lead us and not the flesh (1 Corinthians 2:16). That our decisions will honour God (Psalm 25:12).

Our eyes — that we will keep our eyes fixed on God, not on temptation and sin (Matthew 6:13; Mark 9:47).

Our ears — that we will hear the Holy Spirit’s still small voice instructing us (1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 32:8).

Our mouths — that our words will be pleasing and honouring to Jesus (Psalm 19:14). May we speak with care (great thought and caution) words of truth and life (Proverbs 18:21).

Our hearts – create in us clean hearts and loyal steadfast spirits (Psalm 51:10).

Bring harmony into our lives, thank You for Your grace and spiritual peace which grants us unity (Ephesians 1:2 Amplified version). We are protected and in perfect unity (John 17:11,23).

God Your love is in us (John 17:26) so help us to truly love each other!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

My prayer is modified from the devotion: Praying for your husband from head to toe by Sharon Jaynes. Published by Proverbs 31 Ministries

Many blessings, Keona