The Bible teaches the “leave and cleave” principle of God’s order for marriage “And 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24).
A man and woman leave their birth families and begin a new family, and they cleave to each other with love. A husband that allows interference from his parents, in laws, or extended family is not following God’s command in Ephesians 5:25-33.
Here are some guidelines for the married couples in relation to their parents and extended family:
- Explain to the parents God’s directions of the leave and cleave principle in Genesis 2:23-24 and Ephesians 5:25-33.
- Set respectful and loving boundaries (Ephesians 6:4).
- Guard your privacy. Keep family problems inside your home (James 4:11).
- Assure your parents and in-laws of your continual love to them (Deuteronomy 5:16). Spend quality time with them (Mark 12:31).
- Allow parents and in-laws to spend enough time with your children (1 Corinthians 13). Involve parents and in-laws with your family occasions like birthdays, holidays, graduations…etc. (Ephesians 4:2).
- Never dishonor your partner before your parents or in-laws (Ephesians 5:22-33).
- Pray to God with your parents and in-laws (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
- Be financially independent if possible (Romans 13:8).
- Always apply the “golden rule”- Do unto others what you wish them do unto you (Matthew 7:12).
- Make sure you meet the financial obligations of the needy elderly family members (1 Timothy 5:8).
Parents and in-laws should be treated with respect and love “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Remember that the fifth commandment is the only commandment with a promise of a long life, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).
In His service,