In order for true union to occur, there must be a leaving and a cleaving.

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


This past Sunday, Pastor Ryan spoke on marriage in the ideal. When we read Genesis 2, we get the picture perfect idea of marriage in the garden. We see the incredibly special union between Adam and Eve coming together side-by-side, arm-in-arm, body-to-body and heart-to-heart. In this poetic description of marriage, the author includes two note-worthy phrases, “man shall leave his father and his mother,” and “man shall hold fast to his wife.” Sometimes, people refer to this as the ‘leave and cleave principle.’

These phrases seem a little ironic seeing as neither Adam nor Eve would’ve had a father or mother to leave. But, that’s why this principle is so important to pay attention to. It was intentionally written to apply to the structure of covenantal union from that point on. In order for true union to occur, there must be a leaving and a cleaving. The creation of something new requires breaking off from the old, and committing to holding securely onto the new. This is frequently a stumbling block for new marriages. When one spouse is not willing to create a new family, because they’re still clinging to former ways (i.e. family of origin), it becomes difficult to reach complete unity.

We hear similar language in the covenantal union between God and us. In order to fully enter something new with God, the old must be abandoned. New Testament writers say, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (1 Corinthians 5:17). In order to become new, we’re instructed, “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” (Titus 2:11-12) and “to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, run with perseverance the race marked out for us “(Hebrews 12:1 NIV). Whether married or single, we’re all invited into the leave and cleave principle. As you think about your union with God, what might you need to let go of in order to enter his grace even more fully?

By Yvonne Biel 

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