Cleave

In this first almost-year of marriage {can you believe it?!}, I have been the recipient of quite the range of questions and comments from various people. I'm sure that's normal. I'm sure all are well-intentioned. And most have come across that way.

But there have been several similar-sounding conversations with people who seem to be "offended" that my husband and I chose to "cleave" from our parents and former homes and move to a nearby city, finding a new church here and not continuing our involvement in our previous church, and so far only having the time to visit "back home" to see families or close friends.

Albeit I know most of the ten-plus couples who got married the same year we did haven't left home and still go to their parents' church, initially I was taken aback by the seeming implication that we were the "rebels" for not doing the same, that somehow we were turning up our noses and turning our backs, ourselves guilty for not visiting more or staying in touch with every single acquaintance.

As I thought about it more {which was not nearly to the point of losing any sleep}, I could eventually just shrug off the words, but I wanted to share my opinion, to perhaps shed some light from a newlywed's, and Biblical, perspective.

While it is not sinful by any means to not move away from home after getting married, I can see the danger in it. From clingy parents to people at church continuing to treat you as the little child they remember teaching in Sunday school, young couples may not receive the time and space that is necessary and proper to develop their relationship as husband and wife, and establish their new home {that is not simply an "extension" of their parents' homes}. On the other hand, newlyweds may too easily "run home" or lean on parents as a crutch {emotionally, financially, or whatever the case may  be}, rather than learn to trust their spouses, work through difficulties that arise, and truly do life together. All this being a generously broad generalization, it is nonetheless hardly a superfluous command God gives when He says:
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
      ~ Genesis 2:24 {emphasis mine}

In our hyper-connected world, changing location is probably the most realistic "leaving". It doesn't have to be far. Being an hour from our parents, and families, has been the perfect distance for my husband and me this year: we have benefited from having the space and freedom to establish our own identity and independence as well as find our own church {where we were acknowledged as married adults, which was in itself helpful to young newlyweds still not quite accustomed themselves to their new status}. Leaving helped us to be married and figure things out on our own, together.

This is not to say that family and existing relationships are not important or should become less important. We have been blessed to be close enough to both our families to visit often, even spontaneously, and support our siblings at concerts, sports activities, and other events, which we especially wanted to do as much as was practical while they were all growing up. We have been blessed as well with being able to continue special double dates with our parents, something we enjoyed even back when we were dating, getting the opportunity to hear about and learn from their experiences and wisdom, and now deepen our relationship not only as children and parents but also as two married couples, and friends. In addition to our families, we are blessed with strong friendships and have remained in touch with our handful of close friends we knew from church. As we did before we moved, we continue to enjoy spending time, and sharing life, together.

On a side note, no, we have not had the chance to visit our previous church. There were many great people there, and we miss many that we rubbed shoulders with each week. It's not that we didn't appreciate our church family or want to "start over" with new friends at our new church, as if out of spite. Simply, there is not time enough in the day to stay in contact with everyone we "knew". This is true for anyone, no matter how old, who moves away; it's not wrong, it's life. And it's certainly not something to give a guilt trip about, especially since staying in touch is a two-way street {we wouldn't mind if anyone made an effort to stay in touch with us}. ;)

To end back at the beginning, there is obvious value and benefit in actually cutting the apron strings, not remaining in your parents' shadows, and establishing a new family and home somewhere new. Moving away from home, as newlyweds, isn't being rebellious; it's simply taking the first {and very important} step together as a new family.

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