Cleave

Cleave: (v) to either split or join

“A man shall leave his mother and a woman will leave her home, and they will cleave together and the twain shall be one flesh.”

A paraphrase from the Good Book. I think it’s very fascinating that the King James translators used the word “cleave.” Because as you can
see, it has a double meaning. It can refer to cutting apart–as in when it is associated with a cleaver. Or it can refer to enjoining, a fanciful term for clinging.

Isn’t that fascinating? Because that pretty well describes marriage.

A bad marriage can tear people apart. It can take a hatchet to their confidence and self-worth, leaving them childish and vengeful.

A good marriage, on the other hand, is when two intelligent people realize the power they have together, and mingle their energies into one solid human-life effort.

I guess what the Good Book fails to communicate is, what makes the difference? What distinguishes a bad marriage from a good marriage?

It’s actually the same thing that separates friendships, partnerships and family relationships. Somewhere along the line, people who love each other stop competing. It’s usually not planned–it’s probably not the by-product of a long conversation or hours of counseling.

Confident of the love of another person, we no longer feel the need to be superior. We are satisfied with a joint project. We don’t insist on separate minds, separate practices, separate ways or separate fears.

We blend. We relax. We realize that if love doesn’t work, then we’ve just used up our last chance.

How shall we cleave?

Shall we cut one another apart in an attempt to make our portion seem more valuable?

Or shall we blur the differences and congeal into a sense of oneness?

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