The Mother-in-Law Chronicles II: Boundary Setting for Better Blending

By on August 28, 2012
Mother-in-Law chronicles

In the previous post on The Mother-In-Law Chronicles, we discussed how the bride and groom each left their family – she legally, he spiritually because he was integral to his family congruity due to inheritance laws. The purpose of  The Mother-in-Law Chronicles is to promote awareness of biblical honoring of the husband’s family community. In most instances regarding biblical families – the husband’s family community/history-was the seat of identity. Generational Curses were passed down from the husband’s sin, not the wife (Exodus 34: 6-7). Blessing was passed down through the husband’s family line. Even Moses had to discover his own family community in order to lead that community out of bondage, to become who he was destined to become. The husband’s family community needs to be cultivated just as thoroughly as the wife’s family community in the 21st century.

and the bride Rachel stepped from under the canopy
back into her father’s community for 20 more years
for mandrakes she sold a night with her husband,
yet demanded this husband give her
a son or she would die
who didn’t know her husband’s community
didn’t know the stories
didn’t know Jacob was conceived
because of a faith prayer
his father prayed over his barren mother
who 20 years later with her husband
left her father’s house with false Gods,
stolen trinkets that couldn’t answer prayers,
had no idea the faith of her husband’s community
blended into her own
and to Rachel Was born
Jacob’s favorite son
a son who would ultimately save
Her husband’s community during famine
A blending of two families
Into one

How are You Leaving?

Entering a new community requires relationship reaching, relationship building, boundary establishment and blending. Before you can blend, though, healthy boundaries need to be established. Incongruous-sounding, yes, but that’s how things with God work sometimes, somehow.

Jacob found himself in a quandary. He had run away from his father’s community and was now ready to return to face his past, ask forgiveness, restore honor, and claim his spiritual heritage and community.

20 years earlier, Jacob had come to his mother’s family community, found a wife, well 2 wives, and, well, he really had no peace. Isn’t that the way it is when you are not where you are supposed to be? Things just don’t go quite right. You can still move forward in your faith walk but it’s just not quite as graceful as it could be? That’s where Jacob was.

His place in his father-in-Law’s community really was not one of honor. He had lived 20 years in his wives community without a wedding contract that separated his wives from their family. Rachel and Leah’s ultimate authority, in many ways, was still their father.

Jacob had worked for his FIL, promoted his FILs interest – and the profit from those interests would be the inheritance to his brother-in-laws – not his wives. Jacob was not in a position of power and authority. As a matter of fact, his position was so weak, his FIL tricked him into 2 wives.

It is when Jacob decided to return to the home of his inheritance, his father’s community, that we start seeing a man of wisdom, power and leadership emerge. It is through his paternal family that he would find God’s plan for his life.

Rachel and Leah had not separated from their community until Jacob returned home. No legal contract had ever been drawn up – and, as such, Laban considered who they were and all they had his.

A healthy boundary situation did not exist until Jacob started the journey to return to his own family community, which really symbolized stepping into the leadership role of not only his family but his community.

Three days after Jacob left with his family, Laban chased down him in the desert. He was mad. He considered Jacob’s wives still his property, albeit his daughters. Laban knew there was no letting-go contract. He knew.

 ”Laban answered Jacob, ‘The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne?’” (Genesis 31:43)

Jacob stood up to him, became the man his wives needed him to be. 20 years later, Jacob found himself in the desert creating healthy boundaries with his father-in-law. The marriage journey needed those boundaries, letting the bride become fully her husband’s – a covenant bride.

Laban, Leah, Rachel and Jacob knew it was time to set healthy boundaries for their marriage.

 There was a lot of letting go in the desert that day. A lot of healthy boundaries being set.

“It was also called Mizpah, because he said, “May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other”(Genesis 31:49.) If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me”(Genesis 31:50). This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me” (Genesis 31:52). Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home” (Genesis 31:55.)

20 years after Jacob entered Laban’s community, in a caravan packed with all sorts of dysfunctions, some hidden, some out in the open,  healthy boundaries were established. Rachel and Leah legally no longer belonged to their family community; they now helped define their husband’s family community.

Would Rachel’s story been different if it had happened sooner?  Would Leah’s story been different? Did they miss out on something better because of delayed boundary setting? Would the dance turned into a more graceful marriage dance?

and the bride Leah, stepped from under the canopy
back into her father’s community
Bought a night with her husband
With mandrakes her son collected
Wanting  her husband’s love,
one way or another
And found God’s
Left her father’s house 20 years later
with faith packed
into her soul
she joined her husband on the road
To his reclaim his community
Where the son born of her faith,
Judah, for whom she praised the Lord
through the line of his family community
would the world be saved
A blending of two families
Into one

Join me next Wednesday for “The Mother-in-Law Chronicles III: Threads in the Tapestry

  • The Mother-in-Law Chronicles: Under the Canopy and into the Community, click here
  • Prayer for My Son’s Wife, click here
  • Gasp! The Mother-in-Law – What to Do With Her, click here

 
Originally posted on Blue Cotton Memory.

About Maryleigh

Maryleigh is a child of divorce become whole as daughter of The King. Married for 27 years, mother of 5 boys to men, she has been a college composition instructor, teaching college-bound composition to homeschool students, journalist and freelance writer/editor. Maryleigh is the author of Blue Cotton Memory, a blog about the faith, love and politics of raising boys to men and creator of Standing at the Cross Roads, a program designed for teens and college students to break/prevent cycles of dysfunction by understanding the gifts and plans God has each of us. Her website: http://bluecottonmemory.wordpress.com.

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The Mother-in-Law Chronicles II: Boundary Setting for Better Blending