Read Genesis 2:22-24
22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. (NLT)
We may sometimes hear people saying what a tight-knit family they belong to. They do just about everything together. And we may find ourselves silently applauding them for their harmony and closeness. And perhaps envying them for those same things.
And we may be mistaken. Our text reminds us that at least in the case of marriage, a new set of relationship priorities is established. A marriage which is overshadowed by the parents is a troubled marriage no matter how much sweetness and light is on display. Adult children who can’t make decisions or run their own course in life are immature no matter how much they may speak of closeness to their birth parents.
Family closeness is a wonderful thing. Support across the generations is a necessary part of growth. But there are limits. Families can become arenas of control, where subtle and not-so-subtle forces are at work to ensure everyone is playing the ‘right’ game. Love becomes suffocation. Help becomes domination.
True love is that love that lets go, that doesn’t insist on controlling or smothering the loved one. True love sets the loved one free to become who he or she is made by God to be. It is in fact the sort of love God has for his own children.