Man shall leave!!
Scripture says that when God made the first man and woman, He gave clear instructions for them to have a new identity as a couple. They were to ‘leave’ their parents and ‘cleave’ to one another to become ‘one’. They ought to discover joy in having a nest of their own. Over the years someone somewhere made changes and the Hebrew culture was accepted as the ‘norm’.
Today the woman leaves her parents and is asked to make all the sacrifices to fit into her husband’s family. This style is accepted as divine. Women have less value and bridal price is becoming bigger in spite of equal education and equal earning capacity of women. Many of the problems women face are related to the joint family expectations and the control of the new bride by the in-laws. Even though the joint family has many advantages depending on the character of the in laws, the underlying fact is that the bride is the property of the bridegroom’s family. She has to make all the adjustments to fit into the new setup. She loses her own identity as she gives up her surname. Why? Why can't she retain her surname? Why can’t the children have both parents names as part of their name?
Why does the Church encourage this pattern in spite of all the other major changes happening all over the world? The Church gives no teaching about this cultural aberration. What about inheritance? Job gave equal share to his daughters thousands of years ago!!
Marriage brings in a new unity that needs space and time to mature and function in the right way. The reality of this ‘Oneness’ is planned by God and needs to be learned by the couple in this space and time. Yes, wisdom is available from elders and parents in times of need but the man and woman have to be by themselves to learn this ‘Oneness’.
Man and woman are equal and they have equal responsibility to make this new life meaningful. Man needs to leave his parental control just the way a woman is expected to . This leaving is crucial for love to blossom and responsibility to make the Oneness real. Both families need to let go of their children but support them as they create their own destiny. The new couple needs to make decisions about the way they are going to care for their parents when the need arises. Both sets of parents are equally important and this care can be expressed without coercion and blackmail. It is the strength of the oneness of the couple that frees them to be involved in caring activities for others. We have reversed what God said and made the woman do all the leaving. Man continues to be the aggressor and his family continues to dominate the decision-making processes for their advantage. The woman’s love for her own family is choked. Most of the men do not have the moral courage to stand up to their convictions. They are too dependent on their parents to make decisions. These men have no real life goals and marriage goals. They are immature and see women only as a commodity. It is automatically assumed that the woman shall follow her husband wherever he goes. Or they stay with his family for x number of months or years. There seems to be no healthy dialogue based on scripture and Trinitarian love. This culture has made men spineless and irresponsible in their own family matters.
The tradition of men and the cultural background undermines the truth of the scripture. Women continue to pay the price for this but they also perpetuate this malady through their intense desire to have a son who will carry on the family name. Many in-laws treat their daughter in-laws as second-class citizens and much psychological oppression goes on even in so called middle class respectable Christian families. Money becomes the real god that determines the way a woman is treated. Marriages are arranged and conducted almost as a business deal. Weddings are a display of wealth and status.
We all behave in a worldly way when important life issues are faced. Our faith gets buried or ignored and we embrace our deep-seated cultural values and prejudices with out a second thought. We have taken in the values of the cultures around with out questioning. Our behavior is the same as someone who has a different faith. Our faith has not overcome and displaced this aspect of flawed culture. Not many people question the customs and traditions and vocalize their disapproval when it’s against ‘kingdom values’. Our real self has not undergone radical conversion. Our polished behaviors as a result of education, social upbringing and tradition soaked religious activities do not have the moral fiber to withstand the power of conformity. The scripture tells us not to conformed to the pattern of the world around us but be transformed according to the kingdom values. Most of us have not heeded to this high calling for revolutionary change in our families and in our churches.
We have created double standards for our children. Discrimination based on sex continues to thrive. Religion also seems to sanction this bias. The girl child from the very early years gets the message that she does not belong in her own home. She exists for some other family. Her rights are suppressed and her gifts are buried. In many cases she has no control over her own feelings, her future and her income.
The Trinitarian concept of love is vital for change to take place at the mind level. Marriage ceremonies and messages give too much one sided importance to submission of the wife to her husband and his family. Man leaving and cleaving and loving with a sacrificial love is belittled or completely ignored. No wonder men behave the way they do. They have no model except the model that is in the culture or what they have seen in their own fathers. The woman learns to suffer silently and eventually turns to her children for some compensation and attention. Soon she realizes that they too have inherited their tragic image and characteristics and the cycle continues.
Is there any hope in coming back to the original purpose that God desired? Can the church begin to affect the families in discovering the truth? Is it possible to help young people in the church to think Biblically? Can the church help the parents to ‘let go’ of their children and trust God more? Can the church support and encourage new couples to understand the Trinitarian love? Is it possible for families to redefine inheritance and how to come with a counter- cultural value system? May be a few families can start this.
for a couple that is the reality
Kingdom people need an inside out revolution in these matters. Our minds need to be realigned to kingdom values so that we become aware of our choices. We need to remember that we are called to BE the heaven on earth and act and deal with what we face in a different spirit. We need to model Kingdom values to our children. Can the change begin in our churches? How long are we going to be blinded by the powers that are behind the evils plaguing our society? Evil is not some thing far away but it is so close that we fail to see it. We are contaminated and corrupted by it. It comes in various forms and bombards us from every corner. We as followers of Jesus need counseling to recognize the trap that we are in and get rehabilitated through spiritual therapy. The Holy Spirit is longing to release us from our cultural bondages and bring us to the
love. The question is ‘Do we want this’? land of Trinitarian