Leave and Cleave, Part 3

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When you have an unhealthy attachment to the past, you’ll often find ways to recreate it. In other words, the rocks in your head fit the holes in your spouse’s head.

Like a key to a lock, the past opens the door to all of our unresolved issues. In your mind, your perfectionism, procrastination, sexual frigidity, emotional withdrawal, fear of commitment, inferiority complex, abusiveness, insecurity, materialism, self-sabotage, appearance obsession, competitiveness, or need to be right all the time are harmless, because you have lived with these issues for so long. You minimize their danger, but for your partner it’s like living with a two-headed snake—your venom is killing both of you.

Tell the truth: as you’re reading this relationship series, are you thinking about your partner’s problems and hoping they’ll read it too? If so, that’s more evidence that it’s time to face the person in the mirror.

These behaviors did not just come out of nowhere; they have been cultivated as a result of pain and trauma from your past. If you don’t address them, you are obligated to repeat them. When Genesis says that you should leave your parents’ house, the meaning is deeper than just the two of you finding your own place to live (although this is necessary for a healthy marriage as well), it means to leave the emotional ties that keep you bound to your parents’ home. Your spouse is not your mommy or your daddy, he or she is not the one who created your issues, nor are they responsible for fixing them. That is the work of God.

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