October 9, 2016
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
Just remember: LEAVE AND CLEAVE. If there is ever a time that you have to choose between your parents and your spouse, always side with your spouse. It’s great to have a relationship with your parents, and the Bible commands us to honor our father and mother, but they should not be controlling the new household that was created when you got married. Parental interference is a common source of strife in marriage.
This interference can come in the form of bossiness, unsolicited advice, or in severe cases, disrespect toward your spouse. Marital problems arise when one spouse doesn’t like the way the other handles his or her parents. This is usually more of a problem with younger couples since many young people are just too attached to their parents when they first get married.
Numbers Chapter 30 deals with the nullification of a vow made by a woman. It is the girl’s father who has that power while she is living at home and not yet married, but that authority transfers to her husband once she gets married. This demonstrates the important principle that the husband, not the father, is the head of the wife.
Sometimes even just expressing concern about what your parents think can offend your spouse. For example, you are making some kind of a decision together, and you tell your spouse what your parents had to say about it. If this type of conversation is a hot button issue for your spouse, then the less that you mention your parents, the better.
One young married man told his wife to keep the garage door shut so his dad wouldn’t drive by and see the new vehicle in the garage. Even though it was the husband’s decision to make that purchase, the wife didn’t like his attitude. She didn’t feel like their finances should be anyone else’s business. This is a very mild example but it goes to show that your spouse doesn’t want you to have a childlike mindset about your parents. Men, your wife has a hard enough time submitting to you, and she has no desire to be under the authority of your parents. She wants to see you as independent.
A wife’s parents can sometimes try to control their son-in-law by bending their daughter’s ear about him. This kind of negativity can undermine a wife’s respect for her husband. The lady would be wise not to pass that information on to her husband since it will inevitably result in a fight. In fact, she may have to tell her parents that she can’t have anything to do with them until they stop criticizing her husband. This works both ways. A husband might need to tell his parents the same thing about how they treat his wife. Both spouses want to feel that they are a priority in each other’s lives and that the other person will always stand up for them.
Often with parents and other extended family members, staying away from them for a little while can help get them back on their best behavior. A short punishment period will usually make them think twice about not respecting certain boundaries. In rare cases, the in-laws may have to be cut off completely, but chances are, they will correct their behavior to preserve the relationship with their child and/or grandchildren. It’s all about having the courage to stand up to them. They are your parents, so they may have a tendency to treat you like a child no matter how old you are, but it is up to you to act like an adult. Men need to cut the apron strings, and women need to submit to their own husbands.
As parents we need to remember to stay out of our adult children’s marriages. If you’ve had trouble with your parents or in-laws, remember those struggles when your own children grow up and get married. Follow the golden rule and be the type of parent and in-law you wish you had.
Here is a sermon on Meddling In-laws
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