Leaving and Cleaving

Although I am enjoying planning our wedding (at least up to this point, ask me in 2 months), I am really looking forward to being married. Myron is a joy to be around, keeps me laughing and loves me dearly. And generally for me, thoughts about marriage leads to thoughts about family and what makes a family. Their are a lot of different families in today’s society. Two parents, single parents, singletons, family by blood and family by choice.

I grew up in the standard two-parent home. A dad, a mom and a baby brother. I have a half-brother but we didn’t grow up together. My immediate nuclear family is very close despite the fact that my brother and I are 12 years apart. And as such, we spent a lot of time together, even when I became a self sufficient adult. It was nothing for me to stop by for dinner during the week (when I lived closer, I’d go over there for lunch!). Sunday dinner was a given. I am their resident IT person, clerk-typist-bookkeeper, and reader of important mail. My mom sends us cards for Valentine’s Day and makes us baskets for Easter. Even as grown up kids, we still get Christmas gifts. Myron says I’m spoiled, but my mom says we are just well-loved!! LOL!! I have some good parents, and I know without a doubt that I am extremely blessed.

But the flipside to having a close family, especially when you have been single for a long time, is a double edged sword. The parents think that you are available to them almost at the drop of a hat and when you break routine (like going for dinner every Sunday), they sometimes don’t understand.

The Good Book says that one must leave their mother and father and cleave to their spouse, and I certainly agree with that. My first priority is to my husband-to-be. But what I didn’t expect is the mental transition that I am finding that I have to make and that my folks will certainly have to make as well. My time will no longer be my own and their feelings can’t be hurt when I decline an invitation because my husband might just want to chill at the house or because we have other plans.

I think that men have an easier time of leaving and cleaving because they are expected to go and make their own families, but for (most) women it’s a bit harder. But the fact of the matter is, when you get married you are creating your own little family. And though you are in the infancy stages of creating your family, it’s up to the two of you to nurture it, protect it and set the boundaries with friends, as well as your own families.

What say ya’ll???

14 thoughts on “Leaving and Cleaving

  1. Pingback: The Counselor Is In: Week 4 « A (formerly) unemployed bride plans a wedding on a budget.

  2. Both of us have been fairly independent from our families for some time. Before getting engaged, I would spend Thanksgiving in Atlanta with friends and go to NC for Christmas with family. We did that this year but that’s because his ex had the kids. I’m not sure how it will work next year. The only family member that will complain is my niece, but she’s getting accustomed to her new uncle.

  3. I think it will be pretty easy for me since I have lived in a different state for so long. Then again, my mother does trip when she can’t reach me by phone. Thank you for being on WordPress!!

  4. It wasn’t that hard of a transition for me when I married. My wife’s family is small and spread out. They usually get together on smaller holidays because it is easier for them to take off work and travel during that time. My family is big and local so we usually do major holidays close to home. Whenever her family did have a major holiday event close we would go there since it didn’t happen often. Sunday dinner is at my parents and my in-laws come down and join every now and then. I figure I will be scheduling holidays on a spreadsheet when I get married again. Three families is going to interesting.

  5. Old habits are hard to break. I’m sure beneath the surface they understand but they are so used to having their baby girl at their disposal to love on that it may make it a little difficult. 🙂

  6. You’ve done a great job of marking off boundaries so far. We’ve created our own family and have started our own traditions. We get together with my family or his on occassion but not very often by choice. I live my fam as he loves his but now, my closest relatives are under my own roof.
    You’ve got the right idea.

  7. This hasn’t been an issue for us really. We live in MS where his family is. So of course we see them way more often than we do my folks in CA and my brothers in TX and AR.

    When we (my 3 brothers and I) started getting married/having children we all agreed that even years were “our” years to visit each other for Christmas and odd years were “in law” years. This has worked out really well for everyone.

    I suggested a family movie night for family here – his dad, sister/husband/children. We get together once a month, rotating between houses. Much fun and we all have a scheduled “date” when we’ll see each other.

  8. I get to attend all of my family events. 4/5 generations of my maternal family get together at holidays.

    One of my mother’s cousins has Christmas on the 24th with her husband’s family and the 25th with ours. They do the same for Thanksgiving. They have been doing that nearly 30 years. One year someone in her husband’s family needed to have the holiday on the actual day so my entire extended family changed the day we celebrate. Its nice when the entire family is flexible so that couples can enjoy both families.

    Unfortunately my husband’s mother intentionally tried to make his transition difficult. She is still shocked and upset that he left and cleaved.

  9. Like Erica said, you have to set your own traditions. I say pick one Holiday, right away, that will be yours and Myron’s. I picked Christmas Eve dinner. That way everybody had to come to our house. On Christmas we went to see everybody else we didn’t see the night before. When I moved away from Philly I started having Christmas dinner and we took the 4th of July. That way we weren’t the only ones who had to do all of the traveling on Holidays. I’m an only child now and my parents are 80 and 75 so I do all the traveling on every Holiday. But I have kids that drive so I don’t have to do all the driving.

    I’m a REAL family person and I’ve found that as long as the person you’re with is a family person too, you find a way to work it out.

  10. This is one of the biggest changes that comes with marriage. Very few people really talk about it. Your family sounds very similar to mine (just 3 girls instead of a boy and a girl). I am the only married one and I’m not the oldest, so I broke the order and normal transition of many things family related. I struggled with this in the beginning. However, I’ve been married now for almost 4 years and things have gotten much better. Everyone has gotten more comfortable with their role and my new roles. As some others have stated, be firm in your boundaries and most of all be patient. You’ll be impressed with how well people adjust in due time.

  11. Hm. Well my family lives far away and his parents are deceased, so that takes care of most of this stuff. As for holidays, we are still finding a rhythm, mostly because my parents are divorced and live in different cities/states.

    T-day is his fave holiday so we agreed that we would not travel for that holiday and instead would have dinner in our home together, though my family may come up to visit during that time. Christmas we trade off. We may go home to my mom’s OR my mom may come here. We have yet to visit my dad, though he and his wife have come to our hometown (his mother lives there, too) when we were there.

    My parents are more present in our lives than his siblings, in that they send us cards all of the time and call/email all of the time.

  12. I’ve thought about this before. I’m close not only to my mother, but extended family as well. Holidays are spent with them and there’s rarely a question about that. I think about how that will change when I get into a serious relationship where my significant other will want me to spend time with his family.

    I know compromise is the name of the game, but I also wonder how cautious I should be of guys who may not value family the way I do and may not understand why, yes, I want to go to my mama’s house, AGAIN… 🙂

  13. I think it’s like everything in life it’s a bit of a balancing act. Both are important and both deserve your time, perhaps not equally though. Also, you all will be newlyweds. They shouldn’t expect you to be free at all.

  14. You HAVE set boundaries. Mine were very understanding. But Michael’s mother thought that she had dibs on his off days. I guess it never occurred to her that he should be doing things around his own home and with his family. We came to a compromise that Monday-Friday if he could do whatever she needed him to do. But on Saturday & Sunday, he is belongs to the wife and kids. And we also decided to start our own family traditions. We only visit on Christmas Eve, but I cook and we have dinner at our home on Christmas Day & Thanksgiving.

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