Our relationship with our parents is extremely important, and we need to show them tremendous love and respect. However, when we marry, our relationship with our parents cannot remain the same as it was when we were under their roof and single. Yet, so many married couples are suffering because they have failed to put healthy boundaries in place for their parents.
We love our parents, so it is understandable that setting boundaries for them can be difficult and even awkward. But, it must be done in order to have a thriving marriage. I’ve talked to numerous couples where this is a big problem. One spouse feels like setting boundaries would disrespect his/her parents in a way that would almost ruin their relationship. While the other spouse is grows resentful by the day because he/she feels as if he/she always has to take a backseat to the parents. He/she feels pushed aside and devalued. This causes tremendous friction between spouses because both feel like they are in a lose/lose situation.
Friends, the Bible is very clear when it comes to defining where our first loyalty should be when we marry. In Genesis 2:24 it says,
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
In other words, once we are married, our first loyalty must be to our spouse–not to our parents. This doesn’t mean that we don’t care about our parents or listen to their guidance, but it does mean that we consult and care for our spouse BEFORE we go to our parents. We are called to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12)–not obey them–once we are adults and especially when we are married.
So, how can we tell if our relationship with our parents is hurting our marriage?