Jason Gantt

One of the books I am reading is “Strengthening Your Marriage” by Wayne Mack. In it he defines a Biblical blueprint for marriage and gives three concepts. In this article I will focus on the “Leave” concept.

I have seen many couples struggle with in-law dynamics. Whether arguments about involvement with spouse’s parents (visitation, communication, verbal input, etc.) or holding your spouse up to standard of a parent, many marriages are negatively affected when appropriate boundaries and relationship dynamics are not honored. As two people strive to “become one”, it is important to remember that each person will likely have had counted on a parent for various needs that needs to be sought from their spouse. Though this sounds logical, it goes against each person’s “normal operating protocol” in living life. Below are some of the points the author notes regarding what leaving your parents does and doesn’t mean.

  • It doesn’t mean abandon or forsake them. (See Exodus 20:12, Mark 7:9-13, 1 Timothy 5:8)

  • It doesn’t mean you live far away. (It is possible to live within 5 minutes of your in-laws if both the in-laws and couple respect the individual marriage.

  • It does mean you have an adult relationship with the parent(s).

  • It does mean your spouse’s ideas, opinions, and style of doing things take precedent over that of your parents.

  • It means you can’t be a slave to your parents’ approval or opinion.

  • It means you must avoid being emotionally attached to your parents, including reconciling any ill feelings towards your parents, otherwise you risk being negatively controlled by them.

  • It means you avoid the trap of either comparing your spouse to your parent or to your parent’s definition of a mate for you.

  • You make the husband-wife relationship the top priority over all other relationships, second only to your individual relationship with God.

(Mack, Wayne A. (1999). Strengthening Your Marriage (2nd ed.) Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company.)

Jason Gantt

About Jason Gantt

Jason Gantt is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as an ordained minister for Indiana. He has a passion for families and has counseled individuals and families in various settings for over 10 years. He is blessed to be called husband and father in his family and enjoys fire pits, playing tennis and watching other sports, and being involved in his local church.

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