She was a 20 year old mother of three, ages three and under, having left family and all that was familiar to support her young husband in his desire to pursue a college education. They lived in the Tony Sudekum Housing Project in Nashville, Tennessee in 1957. He attended school while holding down two part time jobs in order to feed his family and pay his educational bills. She cared for her children and kept the home so that he could complete his degree.
Following college, they moved to Kansas City, Kansas, so he could attend seminary and earn a graduate degree. After one year, he was offered a small church in St. Joseph, Missouri. This opportunity would provide a parsonage (free housing) and a regular income to support his family. So, he accepted the call, commuting back and forth to seminary for one year. While there a fourth child, a baby girl, was added to their family.
During their time in St. Joseph, she attended a junior college. They pastored for 3 years before moving to Lawrence, Kansas to attend Kansas University. While there he earned his Ph.D. and she earned her under graduate and Master’s degree. Once he graduated from the Ph.D. program, they returned to Nashville where she earned her Ed.S. and her Ph.D.—all while raising four children!
I know this couple well—they are my parents! I remember that little parsonage. My sister, brother and I shared a small room at the end of the hall. Our army bunk beds were adjacent to one another. The covering on our beds consisted of olive green wool blankets stamped with U.S. Army.
We didn’t have much growing up due to our parent’s desire to further themselves through education. Honestly, I didn’t know the difference! Looking back, I have to admire my parents for their determination, hard work, discipline and independence. Not once did they ask their parents for financial help and not once did either parent offer to help. My mom and dad left home as a young man and woman determined to establish their own home apart from their parents.
What was understood back then was that when a couple married they left home—emotionally and financially! When they said, “I do,” it meant the two of them were joined together—physically, emotionally, financially and in every other way. They were to leave and thus cleave to one another as it says in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (KJV)
If a couple leaves and truly cleaves to one another, over the years they will weave into one! I was watching a master weaver weave her intercut design with a loom and threads. She said, “Weaving is the process in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling. The method in which these threads are interwoven affects the characteristics of the cloth. The way the warp and filling threads interlace with each other is called the weave.” As she worked she used the loom to place great pressure against the threads to weave them so tightly together that nothing could separate them.
What I am observing in many of the young couples today is an emotional and financial attachment to their parents, and I believe this is affecting marriages. They have not truly left and cleft—therefore there will be no weaving together. Did you notice that in the process of weaving there are two threads and the method in which these threads are interwoven affects the characteristic of the fabric (marriage)? You cannot weave four or six threads (the couple and one or two sets of parents) together and have the quality of workmanship or strength of fabric (marriage).
When young couples are rescued emotionally and financially, they never grow together through tension and difficulty. It is the pressure or tension applied to the woven thread that strengthens the fabric. Also, young husbands are robbed of their God given responsibility and privilege to financially care for their families and emotionally support and encourage their wives.
I think our generation has failed to allow these young people to leave and cleave, therefore many are never making it to the weaving (interlacing with each other) part of their marriages. If you are emotionally or financially involved in your child’s marriage, stop! Young ladies, if you are turning to your parents to meet your emotional or financial needs, stop! You should be going to your husband for emotional support—not your parents. God has given him that responsibility. He also gave him the responsibility of providing for you and your children. A man receives great satisfaction and pride in being the provider for his wife and family.
Only in leaving your parents and cleaving to the young man you call your husband can you weave together as one flesh. In Ephesians 5:31 God says, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united (woven) into one.”(NLT)
This is God’s good and perfect plan for marriage!