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"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

Notice this scripture does not say a woman shall leave her father and mother; it says man. If he is still at home with Mama and Daddy, he isn't a man yet, but hopefully he is working on it.

Man Must Assume Responsibility
A person becomes a man when he has gotten out from under Daddy and Mama's footsteps - when he has taken a job and is maturing in life. Until that happens, he is a male, but not a man! There is a difference. All of us in the male species were born a male, but we could live and die without ever becoming a man. You see, God fashioned man with responsibility.

Our son is still at home. He is only 18 years old, but he is growing into manhood by learning to accept responsibility. He is about to go to college, so that's work he is assuming. As long as he is willing to take on work, he can still have access to all the goodies of our home. But as he matures, he will have to reach the place where he gets a job and leaves his father and mother. This should be before a woman comes into his life.

From Mama to Wife
No woman should be joined to a man when he is coming right out of his mama's house. That means he hasn't yet learned how to be on his own. He is still under the care of his mama. She still fixes his meals, presses his clothes and makes his favorite dessert. He can leave his clothes lying around his room, but before he gets home, Mama will have put everything away.

One reason men don't learn to cook or to clean is because they never really leave home. They just go from Mama to wife. They should be going from Mama, to job, to being out on their own before they ever try to find a wife.

This is why there are still so many boys at home when they should become men who are out on their own. Only after moving out from under their parents' eyes will they really learn to operate responsibly. Then they will be able to do the work God gives them.

Man's Need for Self-Sufficiency
Men should not be marrying at such a young age as 19 or 20-years-old. For a woman to see some maturity in a man, she needs to wait until he gets a little older and has learned to become self-sufficient before she marries him.

For him to really be joined to his wife means he has to be separated from his mama and daddy.

Some people are out of the will of God because they allow their mamas and daddies to keep their noses in their children's business. Or they keep running back to Mama and Daddy every time something happens, saying, "My husband did this..." or "My wife did that...."

Neither mate should be running back and telling their parents about their marital problems. They should stay in there and get it worked out themselves, with God's help. If necessary, they can go to the other provision God has made for them: the Church. For them to take their marital problems back to Mama and Daddy just makes things worse. That's not really their parents' business.

Let's say a husband and wife are having a problem. If she goes and tells Mama about what has happened, Mama gets upset and says, "I'll kill that jerk!" Then Mama tells everybody else in the family. When Daddy hears about it, he says, "I'm getting my shotgun!"

But two days later the husband comes home with flowers and a card. He gets down on his knees and apologizes to her, saying, "I'm sorry, baby. I was stupid. I shouldn't have done that. Will you forgive me, please?" So the wife accepts him back at once, and it's makeup time. Then both of them are smiling and happy.

But guess what? Her parents are still fuming. The husband and wife may forgive each other, but Mama and Daddy will never forgive!

Who's Pursuing Who?
God's order of things is the way to go. Again, Genesis 2:24 says: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

The word cleave in the Hebrew means "to pursue hard, be joined together, stick to."1 That shouldn't be hard for the man to do. After taking one look at her, he wants to pursue hard after her.

The man is to be perpetually chasing after the woman, and she is to be doing all the things to cause him to be perpetually chasing her. When either of them stops doing what they are supposed to do, then their marriage can break down.

While he was chasing after her, she did lots of wonderful things to keep him interested. She dressed a certain way for him and always wore some new perfume. She kept teasing him, and he just kept coming back for more.

She smiled when he walked through the door. She may have been sitting there talking with somebody else, but when she saw him, she smiled at him and then he saw her. He thought she was the cheeriest, most wonderful person he had ever seen.

She never let him see her without makeup. If by accident he did, she would say, "Wait a minute. I can look better!" She would leave the room and not come back until she had everything combed and fixed and straightened. She was always looking and acting so nice. (And he was supposed to be the one pursuing her!)

I remember when I pursued Deborah. I was always calling her, but she wouldn't say very much. When I asked her why she wasn't talking, she said, "I just like hearing your voice." That was all I needed to hear! Then I just wanted to take her places and buy her things. I would say, "Where do you want to go? What can I get for you?" I didn't watch much TV; I was at her house all the time. I just wanted to be with her.

In the dating process, the woman lets the man chase her until she gets him! Then after marriage, her ideas change. She thinks, I have him now, so I don't care what he likes. I'm dressing for me! In fact, after marriage, things change for both of them. She won't sit next to him anymore, and he forgets her birthday. When either of them break their roles, trouble sets in.

One Flesh
Let's look at this Scripture again: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

Note the last phrase of this verse: "... and they shall be one flesh." It's important for you to realize that sex isn't dirty; it was God's idea. God created it, and anything God created is good. But men have made it dirty.

Over the years people have said to me: "Pastor, we don't need to get married. All we have to do is come together like in the Bible. We don't need some piece of paper to tell us we're married."

But that kind of thinking is wrong. Law says it takes that piece of paper to verify the marriage. In Romans, chapter 13, God's Word says we are, first of all, to respect the laws of the land. (v. 1.)

I have heard people use Adam and Eve as their excuse, saying, "But they didn't have a wedding ceremony."

My question then is, Who would have come to their ceremony anyway? Just animals, I guess. (And there was no bridal shower for her, either.) But there still was a marriage. God was the One Who brought the woman to the man, and God joined them together in marriage.

In fact, chapter 3, verse 8, says: "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves...."

So the woman had become Adam's wife. God had performed the first marriage ceremony, telling the man to cleave unto his wife.

Sometimes a man might be having a fight with his wife, or a woman might be having a fight with her husband.

The wife may say to him, "You aren't my daddy!" That's right. He isn't her daddy; he is more than her daddy - far more. He has much more authority over her than her daddy does.

The husband may say to his wife, "You're not my mama!" No, she isn't; she is more than his mama. She has more than enough right to tell him about things that are happening in their lives.

As Genesis 2:24 says, the man is supposed to leave father and mother. It does not say he is to leave his wife; it says he is to cleave unto his wife.

Marriage: A Threefold Covenant
I want us to look now in the book of Malachi. I might be sticking my nose into your business, but did you know it's the pastor's job to meddle in other people's business? That's what shepherds do: they get right in the middle of their sheep.

As chapter 2 of Genesis tells us, the wife was created as a helpmeet for the man, to be his capable spouse and to fit herself to him.

We see here that the children of Israel got themselves into trouble for messing around with this very subject:

"And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand" (Mal. 2:13).

These men wanted God to receive their sacrifice and to bless the works of their hands, but He would not receive it. They cried and bawled and wailed at the altar, but God still would not receive it.

"Yet ye say, Wherefore? (or, "Why, God?") Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant" (Mal. 2:14).

When joining in marriage, a man and woman are not just entering into a contract with the state; they are entering into a threefold covenant. There are three beings involved in this covenant: the husband, the wife and Almighty God. When entering into marriage, the husband and wife are making a covenant with God. How God deals with them will be based upon how they deal with their covenant.

These men of Israel were not dealing rightly with the wives of their youth. They had married young, but after getting older and becoming wealthy and established, they were shedding their wives for a younger model.

The Lord was saying to them: "I am not receiving anything from you. I am not blessing your hand or doing anything for you, because you have dealt treacherously with the wife of your youth. She is your covenant partner. She was there when you had nothing, and she should be receiving the fruit of that which you now have."

My wife is supposed to receive the benefits now accrued her, because she was with me when I had nothing. Because I have been blessed, Deborah ought to share in those blessings. Just because she is reaching 40 does not mean I can turn her in for a 20-year-old. This is what those men were doing in the book of Malachi.

Let's keep reading here in verse 15: "And did not he (God) make one...?"

In other words, "Did not God make the husband and wife to be as one?"

In Genesis 2:24 we read how God made the man and the woman one - one in name, aim, purpose, thought and direction.

"And did not he (God) make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed..." (Mal. 2:15).

God wants a godly seed. He wants a born-again man and a born-again woman to have children. Now I'm talking here in general; I'm not referring to individual cases. There are some married couples who, for various reasons, should not have children. But, as a whole, God is seeking a godly seed.

God Hates Divorce
"... Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously" (Mal. 2:15-16).

What is this Scripture saying in verse 16? That God hateth putting away, referring to divorce.

Notice how verse 16 reads from The Amplified Bible: "For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate divorce and marital separation, and him who covers his garment (his wife) with violence. Therefore keep a watch upon your spirit (that it may be controlled by My Spirit), that you deal not treacherously and faithlessly (with your marriage mate)."

God hates divorce, but He still loves those who happen to be involved in divorce.

Divorce was not in God's original plan. God had intended for the man to stick to and cling to his wife all the days of their lives. He had intended for the woman to be a help to her husband, but not to run his life. Together they would be doing what God had intended for them to do.

Jesus' Attitude Toward Marriage
Then in Matthew, chapter 19, we read what Jesus said about this subject of divorce:

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 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? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together (which means marriage), let not man put asunder (Matt. 19:3-6).

Male and Female From the Beginning
Notice verse 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" (Matt. 19:4).

Jesus was saying that from the beginning God made them both male and female. He did not make them to be male and male or female and female.

Some people have the idea that homosexuals were born that way. But that's not true; they weren't born that way. Now maybe things happened to them when they were too young to recollect which caused a change in their lives, but they weren't born that way.

God made male, and He made female. That's the only way we are to be when joining ourselves together in marriage.

They Shall Be One Flesh
Then Jesus, quoting from the book of Genesis, says: "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh" (Matt. 19:5).

Now the wife cannot be telling her husband, "You need to give me some space." He is to cleave to her, and she should be glad of that. His instinct is to keep her close and stick to her; so when he sees her, he wants to touch her.

But then she says, "I can't seem to wear a certain kind of clothes. When I do, my husband won't leave me alone!"

Does that mean she would want him to be messing with some other woman? I doubt it. "... And they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together (meaning marriage), let not man put asunder" (Matt. 19:5-6).

Remember Jesus' words: "What therefore God hath joined together.... Now it may not have been the will of God for one person to have married another, but when they made their vows and said, "I do," it became the will of God.

God Never Wanted Divorce
"They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning (meaning in Genesis) it was not so" (Matt. 19:7-8).

In the beginning, God never intended for there to be divorce. He intended for a man to always be with his wife - and that was it. But God allowed man to go through stages and do what he wanted to do. Man did what was good in his own sight; and as described in the book of Malachi, he dealt treacherously.

We could look back through the book of Genesis and see what happened when men had their own way. They messed up, allowing sin to run their lives, and destruction came as a result.

The Law was established as a way to point out man's failure and to show him that he needed a Deliverer - and deliverance. Men were putting away their wives for no reason at all.

In Old Covenant days, a husband could give a writ of divorcement for any cause. If he wasn't satisfied with his wife's cooking, he could divorce her. But that was never the will of God.

Today we can see this happening again. The wife or husband can be put away for any cause. It's called no-fault divorce. But there really is no such thing.

"It Is Not Good to Marry"
Jesus said: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry" (Matt. 19:9-10).

The disciples were saying, "If we can't get rid of a woman whenever we want to, then we shouldn't get married." Do you see their attitude?

While at the University of Michigan, I attended a class on marriage and family. I remember the professor standing up and saying to all the men in that class, "If you marry a woman, you're a fool. A man should never marry a woman; he should just live with her."

The foolish women in that class were swallowing everything the professor said. But just because the professor at a university says it still doesn't make it so. I put up my hand and asked if I could speak. Then I gave an objection to his statement. As a result, he marked my grade down. I had to make an official appeal over it; but I won.

Jesus' Words About Eunuchs
The disciples were saying, "It's not good to marry." Jesus responded by saying to them: "All men cannot receive this saying [of being without a wife], save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb..." (Matt. 19:11-12).

Jesus was saying that certain ones were born that way - but not as homosexuals, as eunuchs.

"...And there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men..." (Matt. 19:12).

In other words, Jesus was telling how some men have declared to others, "In order for you to operate with us, this is how you must be." We find this happening, for example, with Catholic priests who take an oath of celibacy.

"... And there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake..." (Matt. 19:12).

Such people have made this decision because they desire to serve the Lord with all their time and energy. That's all they want to do.

"...He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matt. 19:12).

Jesus was telling us that some men aren't capable of being celibate. In this case, He was saying to them, "Then you should get a wife."

Husband and Wife Are as One
I want to show you something else about 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. Again, the husband and wife are to be as one flesh, clinging hard to one another. She is to help him and adapt herself to him.

Let's look at Genesis, chapter 5: "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man (day six in the Creation), in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created" (Gen. 5:1-2).

When they were first created, it was not as Adam and Eve. They were Adam - a male Adam and a female Adam. God fashioned this woman and built her from the man. Then He brought her unto Adam. God called the male, Adam, and He called the female, Adam. It was Adam who gave her a name. He looked at her and said, she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Gen. 2:23). God was saying, "They are as one, so they will have the same name."

The practice of a woman taking upon herself her husband's name comes from the Bible. When a woman marries a man, she takes his name as she becomes his helpmeet. As his helpmeet, she is to fold herself into him, and they become one.

Today the world is teaching that the woman should keep her own name and identity. For a woman to say she isn't going to take her husband's name is a statement of defiance to God; it is a defiance of her role against his. To do this is for her to be asking for trouble right from the start.

There is a basic attitude involved between the husband and wife in marriage. They each have a role. But God sees the husband and wife as one the way He saw Adam and Eve as one. Again, the Scripture says He called their name Adam.

My wife's name is no longer Deborah Bell, but Deborah Butler. When she married me, we became one in name, aim, purpose, thought and direction. It was a call from God.

All of that individualistic thinking left. She is in me, and I am in her. Where I end, she begins; and where she ends, I begin. What God has joined together let not man put asunder with humanistic ideas - be they from man or from woman. God knows best.

Husband To Love the Wife as Christ Loves the Church
The New Testament clearly establishes man as the head of the home, but he is to rule his home with all the love that is in him. Let's look at Ephesians 5:25. It says: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it."

The husband is to treat his wife as Christ treats the Church, and Christ loves the Church. The Lord is so patient and kind and loving toward us. Even when we mess up, He still loves us. God is so good to His children. The husband is to be the same way toward his wife.

1 Strong, "Hebrew," p. 29, #1692.

Source: What On Earth Are We Here For? by Keith Butler
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Keith Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
Bishop Keith A. Butler is the senior pastor of Word of Faith International Christian Center. Keith Butler is the founder and president of Keith Butler Ministries (KBM), an international organization established to take the life-changing message of the Gospel to "the uttermost parts of the earth." Through Live Your Faith Seminars and the establishment of our PISTIS School of Ministry in various locations, Keith Butler provides teaching of the Word of God on a variety of subjects such as how to live the life of faith, how to fulfill the call of God for your life, how to receive your healing, the importance of walking in love and many more topics. PISTIS is specifically designed to train ministers so that they are equipped to go out into their world and teach and preach Jesus effectively.

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