Leaving and Cleaving … Continued Thoughts

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

These verses are AMAZING!
Why? Because of who says this ….
Although we often hear them at a wedding, these verses aren’t spoken by a wife to her husband. These words are spoken by a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law.
I think that is pretty amazing.I can’t help but think of the many young married women I’ve heard from who have such a difficult relationship with their MIL. For so many different reasons, this relationship seems to be harder than any other to navigate. Years ago I read a great book called “The Other Woman in Your Marriage” by Norman Wright, about the strain that can be placed on marriages because of unhealthy ties between a mother and her son. This is especially damaging to young wives attempting to adjust to marriage and her new life with her husband.
At present, I have friends who are sisters, mothers, daughters, grand-daughters, and/or sisters-in-law. But most have the greatest cause of angst in their role as daughter/mother-in-law.

As I read the verses in Ruth, I’m struck by the loving and emotional good-bye these three have. It seems so far removed from the relationships I encounter today.  As I’ve considered the potential damage I could do to my son’s wife, I’ve also realized that I can begin praying now to establish the kind of relationship with my [future] daughter-in-law that Naomi had with Ruth. I believe it’s MY responsibility to create an atmosphere of acceptance, trust and encouragement.
In other words, I want to start well. In the book I mentioned, Norm Wright gives an example of starting well as a new MIL. A newly married couple is leaving the church and the new mother-in-law hands to her brand new daughter-in-law a “signed certificate” and says to her:

“Lauri, this paper belongs to you—and so does Alan. I used to be the Number One woman in Alan’s life. I’ll always be his mother, but this is my declaration that I’m transferring the position of being Number One woman to you. This is a signed certificate giving this position to you, as well as my announcement to Alan, to be sure that he understands this change. Have a wonderful honeymoon. I love you both.”

“Leaving and cleaving” will be fleshed out in many different ways in a marriage. One way that I can make it happen is to to give all my kids the wedding gift of being released. Especially my son.

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