Most of us are familiar with the television show Everybody Loves Raymond, which centers on Raymond, his wife and children, his bumbling brother, and his meddling parents. There are many laughs to be had throughout the show as the lives of the central family are constantly interrupted and dramatized by extended family as they drop in and demand to be the center of attention.
More than once, Raymond’s wife, Debra, is stuck in the middle begging Ray to stand up for her and the kids, while his mother plays innocent victim. Although the situation in the show is exaggerated to a point, it’s not surprising that in a lot of marriages, there are dramatic friends, persistent exes, and even, yes, meddling in-laws present; I call these folks the “middle men”.
“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
When a man and woman are joined together in marriage, two things happen. First, they leave their family home, “cleaving” from their parents, their parents’ rules, and the responsibility of the parental household.
Second, they become “one” with their spouse, in both physical and spiritual aspects. This means that they leave behind “self” to become an enjoined entity of “us. If we are living biblically, we are in agreement to abide by these conditions, given in Genesis, involving marriage; but there are several ways that we can violate that agreement, like:
- Allowing others’ opinions to affect our opinion of our spouse,
- Letting friends or family come before our spouse in our priorities,
- Refusing to defend our spouse when someone speaks out against them,
- Letting our children come between us (like choosing to go directly against our spouse in how we
- discipline, for example),
- Sharing our thoughts/feelings/emotions with someone instead of our spouse.
God is supposed to be our “Number 1”, and our spouse is meant to be our “Number 2”.
There are no whole numbers between 1 and 2, so if we put someone else between us, someone gets an undeserved fraction of our time!
Have you consistently put your spouse before others?
Are there people in your life who have forced their way into your marriage?
In what ways can you enforce healthy boundaries with friends and family to reestablish the proper order of things?
by Lili Morris