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How Should Parents and Newlyweds Interact? // Ask An African Pastor

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Getting married is a three part process of leaving, cleaving and uniting under Christ. This can be done in both a god-honouring and family-honouring fashion. However, parents will need to give the newlyweds space to bond. Newlyweds will likewise need to consider their approach to decision making – being guided more by the word of God and consideration of their spouse – than their family.

See below for a lightly edited transcript of this #AskAnAfricanPastor video with Pastor Ndaba Mazabane in South Africa:

How can African Newlyweds build a God-honouring & Family-honouring marriage?

“It is always a joy to work with the newlyweds and people who have taken a step to commit themselves to building a strong marriage.
Of course, there are challenges that go with that. And especially when you think about many of us in a black culture, for example, there are so many challenges that goes with that.

Of course, there are also the joys of starting afresh and starting anew and building the unit. Now, the big question obviously is then, how do couples assert themselves, when you have parents, when you have relatives, and even sometimes siblings around you, in building a marriage that is going to be honouring to God, but also honouring to those that are around you?

What the Bible says about Marriage

I think first of all we really need to go back to what the Bible says when it speaks about marriage itself. In Genesis we are told that there are three obvious aspects in marriage. Leaving, cleaving and being united into one unit.

Leaving

Now the leaving simply means that you really need to leave. Here the biggest challenge often is when parents find it difficult to let go. And this can be a hamstring for couples actually to assert themselves in building their marital bond. So the leaving has nothing to do with being disrespectful. In fact, it gives the opportunity to the newlyweds then to find themselves.

the leaving has nothing to do with being disrespectful. In fact, it gives the opportunity to the newlyweds then to find themselves.

And that is why it is important also to spend a little bit of time in premarital counselling. Then when you cross over into the ‘united states’ of marriage, you are able to begin and think and reflect on how you together are going to build your family. So leaving, on one level, it is a challenge on its own because we grew up within a context. We grew up where we’ve been directed by parents. And often and sometimes it may be very difficult to get going because you still have the tentacles of going back home and asking mom and this and that.

And by the way seeking advice from parents, it’s not sin. But what is important is also for the parents to give you the space so that even if you go and ask for advice and you ask for help, it is limited up to a point. Because at the end of the day, it is the newlyweds who are going to have to make their own decisions. So leaving and letting go are very very important to the newlywed.

Cleaving

I think the second thing, in the aspect of getting married, also means that we are going to cleave and you’re going to cling to each other. What does it mean? It means then from now on going forward what you do, you do together. What you do and the decisions that you used to make on your own, now you’ve got a partner.

Going forward what you do, you do together.

Both of you have to be thinking, and especially if it is something that impacts your marital bond. So it is very very important then, in your clinging, that you seek to have one mind. You seek to have one purpose. And then you work together, you work through the issues together. So you can be able then to, you know, face all the challenges that go with marital life.

United into One Unit

So, the third part and the third aspect, is that of being united. You know, the union in Christ means that from now on, our unity and our union as a marital… as a married couple rather, it simply means that our basis is Christ and his Word. It is… we are guided, by not only the bonds of marriage, but also we are bonded by what the Word of God teaches us on a daily basis.

we are guided, by not only the bonds of marriage, but also… by what the Word of God teaches us

So, I would say, carry on and don’t allow anything to stand in your way. Sometimes parents also, my message would be to let go and let God guide the newlyweds.