Q: Why does the Bible teach that a man is to leave his parents in order to cleave to his wife? What is meant by this? Does this also mean, by extension, that the wife is to leave her parents as well, in order to cleave to her husband?
A: The Bible is very explicit, for important reasons, to enjoin the newly married couple to live separate from their parents. We read about this Biblical injunction at the institution of the marriage, in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Later, in Matthew 19:5, Jesus Christ quotes this very Scripture with approval, to explain and to uphold the sanctity of the marriage relationship.
Commentaries agree that this command is meant to be taken and obeyed quite literally. A reason for this command is given in the Ryrie Study Bible, as follows, “Jesus cites the purpose of God in creation that husband and wife should be one flesh — the oneness of kinship or fellowship with the body as a medium, causing marriage to be the deepest physical and spiritual unity.”
The Nelson Study Bible elaborates, “The implication is that the Creator is Lord and is the One who determines what is the ideal in marriage… God ordained marriage as the strongest bond in all human relationships. A man leaves his parents and is joined to his wife. The language is very strong here. Leave means…