The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable helper for him.”… So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. – Genesis 2:18, 21-24
Certain times in life demand a serious conversation of which neither party involved wants to be a part. As a big life change heads my way (and Cory’s way, and my parents’ way, and Cory’s parents’ way, and other family members’ ways), timing demanded I have such a conversation a few weeks ago.
I debated whether or not to share this intimate moment, but after thinking about how difficult this topic is for most people, I decided to go for it, hoping it might help someone else in the same transitional period I’m in.
My mom was in town visiting, and before dinner one evening, we started talking about how things might change after Cory and I are married. It started with little things like, “Parent visits to our home will probably be limited to just weekends unless it’s a special occasion,” and, “I probably won’t be visiting Paducah very much anymore.”
Okay, so maybe those weren’t little things. They’re things that represent most parents’ dreaded future: their child entering a new phase in life that means less of a presence of Mom and Dad.
We danced around the hard truth for a few minutes, and as uncomfortable as that was, I knew I had to make it more uncomfortable by plainly stating what is going to happen in June.
A brief silence precluded the heavy, gray lump of reality I was about to drop in her lap and make us both look at.
“After I’m married,” I told her, “Cory comes first.”
Oh, folks, it hurt to say that to my mom. I had to look at the woman who marveled at my little round cheeks on an ultrasound, taught me how to ride a bike and a car, did my hair for prom and helped move me in and out of college all four years and apartments as an adult and tell her she can’t come first in my life anymore. I had to sit there and watch her hold back tears and try not to cry myself. As much as it hurt me to say it, I know it hurt her more to hear it. But I knew I needed to say it, and I knew she needed to hear it.
Because the day my marriage begins is the day my mom has prayed for my entire life.
She prayed that I would find the man who would love me as God commands men to love their wives.
She prayed that I would find the man who would stay by my side through anything.
She prayed that I would find the man who would complement me, who will truly be my other half.
She prayed that I would find the man who will still be there for me after she and my dad are gone.
Basically, she prayed that I would find the man who would come first in my life.
Although my words saddened her, I could tell that she knew this day would come – and had desperately wanted it to. The true definition of bittersweet.
“I know,” she said.
As you may have gathered if you’ve followed my blog for any period of time, I am a religious person, a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home and attended church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night, and still attend church as an adult. My parents know that passage I posted at the beginning of this post from the biblical book of Genesis as well as I do. Including the part about leaving our mother and father and being united to our spouse.
This must be an important illustration for humans to follow, because God ordained that it come in the second of 1,189 chapters of the Bible (not that the Bible was always divided into chapters, but I believe the all-knowing God saw the chapter divisions coming). A wedding happened at some point in the beginning of time. Not a wedding like we think of today, but a wedding nonetheless, because God – the Father – brought the woman to the man. Walked her down the aisle, you could say. And immediately after the man’s “vows,” the Bible says a man – or a couple, really, leave their parents and become one flesh. “Cleave to” each other, as some translations put it.
The time is approaching for Cory and me both to leave our parents and be united together. We come first in each other’s lives after that. Not our mothers, not our fathers, not anyone or anything else.
Now, is this all to say that we’ll ignore our parents from now on? No, of course not. But in situations where it comes down to whose wants or needs are at the top of our list, his name will be at the top of mine and my name will be at the top of his. We will still love and respect our parents, but it will be together. If we are to “become one flesh,” then that means we value each other as much as we value ourselves individually. If we’re one flesh, our main concern is always going to be for that united body. And if someone or something happens to come before that united body at any time, then it will be because that body has decided it (which really wouldn’t put that person or thing first, anyway).
As someone who abhors the thought of coming across as selfish or self-centered, this topic pains me. But what I’m trying to learn is that my discomfort does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing. If all Cory and I are doing is trying to live as we believe God has said married couples should live, then we may just have to deal with some growing pains.
I’m just glad to be growing with him.