I looked for a hidden camera when a woman in our circle shared her prayer request. “My daughter’s getting married.” The group ahhed in delight. Then this concerned mother dropped the bomb.
“My daughter’s future in-laws rented a cottage at the beach for their honeymoon—and they rented the adjoining cottage for themselves!”
The honeymoon “gift” from the groom’s parents forced this engaged couple to understand biblical boundaries. They needed to get clear before they walked down the aisle.
Scripture presents a relationship hierarchy. Our relationship with Christ comes first, the husband-wife relationship comes second, after these come the parent-child and adult child-parent relationships (Ephesians 5:15-6:9).
Marriage continues to be our most important relationship even after children come. If we fail to keep this order right, everyone, including our children and parents ultimately suffer.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31 NIV).
How do couples leave and hold fast to one another?
Marriage partners must:
- Leave physically
A couple needs time alone to connect emotionally. That means time apart from parents, kids, and other distractions that come between them. When children come, couples must carve out time for just the two of them.Children, work, and aging parents require time and attention, so we must be intentional in protecting our marriage relationship. When our children were school age, Larry and I set aside one night a week for couple-time. If we stayed home, our children were not allowed downstairs after a certain time. Walks provided additional moments to connect without interruptions. It takes time to unwind and connect at deeper levels. Meaningful conversations don’t happen on the fly.
- Leave financially
A couple needs to stand on their own pocketbooks. They learn to look to God and work as a team as they live within their resources. Depending monetarily on parents puts the couple in an adolescent role financially. It hinders bonding and undercuts the husband’s and wife’s roles.
- Leave emotionally
Other relationships must not come between what God has joined together (Mark 10:9). Don’t develop close opposite-sex friendships. One woman found me at a conference to say she had shared this teaching with her husband after she heard me say it the previous year. Her husband quit having private lunches with a woman from work. That one change significantly enhanced their relationship.
Marriage changes our focus from what I or my spouse wants to what’s best for us. That’s how we become one.
This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one” (Eph. 5:32 NLT).
Get your copy of Give Yourself a Break and Little Women, Big God here.
Debbie W. Wilson is an experienced Bible study teacher, ministry leader, and speaker. She has over 35 years of expertise, training, and teaching in the areas of relationships, Bible study, counseling, and discipleship. Her books include Give Yourself a Break and Little Women, Big God. She and her husband Larry founded Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit biblical counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. Find free resources to refresh your faith and connect with Debbie at debbieWwilson.com
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