A BALANCED CHRISTIAN HOME: MY IN-LAWS ARE DOMINATING PART II
Another problem is the pressure to marry due to age. If the couple are not financially sound as to be able to live and stay alone, they may be tempted to stay in their parents’ home. On the other hand a working couple with children who allow their parent to live as nanny permanently or semi-permanently with them may also be inviting interference or domination by parents and /or in-laws. A student couple still depending on in-laws and parents for fees and other maintenance allowance can’t but be controlled by the donor. Gifts could be a bait, impatience could enslave, bad planning could be dangerous, without leaving you will remain forever bound. A country is never independent until she has escaped the domination of her masters by peace or struggle. You must start by leaving, then you can go to a higher step of cleaving.
CLEAVING: Cleaving really means joining. This is a process that preceeds becoming one. Attempt joining two compatible materials (e.g. ropes) with a third and foreign material (e.g. gold). Though the third material could be so precious you can only bind it up with rope, you can’t join them together to be one. God does not plan that a Christian couple should cleave to anyone else. Only the husband and wife are first to be separated from their two families, remain alone and then cleave together. This cleaving is a painful process. It also calls for complete cut-off of all links of submission to one’s family. It calls for understanding the needs of one’s family and in-laws, and agreeing on how to help but never how they are to interfere in the running of your home. It calls for understanding of each other’s weaknesses and strengths and differences so that a compromise could be arrived at that will help for moulding into one flesh.
The only difference between this word “cleave” and “leave” is “C” standing for Christ who alone can join a compatible couple together without any form of interference from in-laws. If ever you intend your marriage to be a union that makes both of you to become one, you must be prepared to cleave and that means a readiness to accept your partner as the only perfect and fitting mate that can be joined to you. Parents and in-laws are not additional mating material but instruments of God for bringing you up till you are mature enough to fulfil God’s plan for you in marriage.
BECOME ONE: “Two shall become one flesh.” There is no ambiguity at all in God’s law. Thank God His word did not use fraction or percentage whose interpretation may have to be taken to Tribunal or Supreme Court where a split decision will permit external members on one hand and limit the union to two or the other. This is why polygamy is completely out of God’s plan also. Only two partners – helpmeet, fit for each other – can cleave together until they become one. If you have been married and you have not become one, yet both of you are Christians, then examine your marriage. Have you both left your father and mother and relations and in-laws to cleave together as husband and wife? I must say here that if one member of the family fails to “leave,” the other member will surely have interference and domination from the in-laws. Love does not exist where your action causes your partner to suffer humiliation and subjection. Domination may not (and does not often) come directly from the in-laws to the affected person but through his/her partner.
Let us watch out. The very moment you divulge your secrets to your family, the very moment you invite them to settle a rift between you, asking for subsidy for your feeding or other sustenance, is submitting your children wholly to the care and training of your parents, the very moment you argue or fight in their presence, the very moment you appoint your parent as your special adviser, the very split second you stop truly loving your partner – that very moment Satan sees a loophole and brings your partner and invariably you, under the domination of in-laws.
We have our example in the word of God. In Genesis 29-31, we read of the experience of Jacob. Anyone contemplating on marriage should study these chapters lest they fall into the bondage that often befall those who run into marriage prematuredly. Laban continued to dominate Jacob and play him out even with more service years. Even when Jacob had served for the wives and children he said in Gen. 30: 25-26 “… I want to go back home, Let me take my wives and children – for I earned them from you- and be gone, for you know how fully I have paid for them with my service to you.” Yet Laban said (verse 27) “Please do not go.” He bargained for more properties (sheep, cattle etc.) as wages for more service years. He never was able to run his home until he left to take his role as the head of the family. God is not calling us into a marriage of servitude but of freedom, joy, peace and lasting unity.
I challenge you today that you must leave, cleave and become one if you desire a balanced Christian home free from domination by parents and in-laws. If you are not prepared for the responsibility of marriage, don’t venture into it. If you are not sure of God’s choice that will best fit you to become one, don’t rush into unequal yoke. Be sure your foundation is sound and have Christ only as the glue that will join both of you together to become one. Keep in-laws, parents and friends out of the administration of your home and the joy of being one will be yours.