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Genesis 2:23-25
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Matthew 19:4-6
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Mark 10:6-8
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.


In recent years I’ve heard more and more couples saying the man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife. That’s Biblical, but I’ve heard it to the extent that they should live with the wife’s family. At the very least they should live near her family. Holidays with her family, family photos with her family, reunions with her family, text and phone calls to her family. His family? Oh no, he left them and is cleaved to his wife.

The scriptures above are the only scriptures I’ve ever heard to support this belief. If you look at those scriptures alone I’d have to say that on the surface that sounds almost logical…almost. Let’s start with the scripture in Genesis. Adam speaking of Eve says this ‘is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’ Yes, it states the man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. What it says next matters so much though. In case you didn’t fully understand the bone and flesh comment, God makes it where there is no question: ‘and they shall be one flesh’. The man becomes one flesh with the wife, not the wife’s family. Sorry, ladies! Hopefully you’re not ready to stone me. If you are I better run because it doesn’t get any better for you from here.

In a traditional wedding have you ever wondered why the bride is given away. It’s not because women are weak or a possession. Instead it is because she is treasured. Ephesians 5:25 states Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Husbands are required to treasure their wife like Christ loves and treasures the church.  That isn’t looking down on women, but rather holding them in the highest regard possible. Her father should have been protecting her throughout her life and now, although she will always be his little girl, it is someone else’s job to protect her. Although her support still comes from many sources, including her father, the bulk of her emotional and physical support now comes from her husband. Her father is taking a back seat in her life. Adam and Eve were formed by God. If you read through Genesis you will see that God presented Eve to Adam. Just as a father presents his daughter to her husband today. If the duty of protecting the bride has, for lack of a better term been transferred, it would seem she also has left her family and is now under her husband’s protection.

So what does it mean for the man to leave then? I know many wives who would love it to mean they don’t have to see their in-laws. The scriptures states Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. I believe simply by the context we would all agree that leave and cleave must be related. We understand that cleave is to adhere to or to join one’s self to. I don’t see many married couples with velcro, duct tape, or super glue keeping them together. If they create one flesh why don’t we see that? We all understand this does not mean their physical bodies morph and become one. Aside from purely personal reasons why do we expect the leave portion of the scripture to be physical?

So who leaves? Both! The man leaves his parents rule and creates his own home. The woman also leaves her parents rule and with her husband creates a new family.