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Father Refuses to Allow Daughter to Come Home

Jamie Bartlet writes in an article in Marriage Partnership:

My husband, Mike, and I had been married only a few months. We'd just had one of our first major arguments (over an issue so important I can't even remember now what it was). In a fit of rage, I stormed onto our back porch and called my parents in Michigan, letting them know I'd be on the first flight out of Philadelphia. I expected them to take my side, to say: "Of course! Come home!"

Instead, my father informed me that was not an option.

"You've never told me I couldn't come home! Why are you being so unfair?" I accused.

"Jamie," he answered, "your gut reaction has always been to bail when things get difficult. Your marriage vows were for better or worse, until death do you part. I know you didn't think the 'for worse' part was going to come so soon, but it did, and you need to learn how to deal with it. You're not welcome in our home under these circumstances. You need to work things out with Mike."

After I hung up, I reluctantly grabbed my Bible and opened it to Genesis 2:24: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." As I meditated on this Scripture, I realized my impulse to run home whenever Mike and I fight was disobedient to God. Sticking with my husband isn't a choice or something I do only when I feel like it; it's God's will for my marriage.

I broke down in tears—but this time they were tears of joy for a father who knew what was best for me and pointed me to God. I went inside, truly broken by the way I'd treated Mike. While my first instinct was to walk past him, God reminded me that I couldn't ignore the problem. So after a brief, internal tug-of-war, I sat down humbly and explained the phone conversation I'd just had.

"I'm sorry I turned to my parents instead of you," I said. "From now on, I promise I won't try to run home when things between us get tough."

I still miss my parents. Living at home with them made me feel safe, and some days it's difficult knowing I'll never have that same security again. But I'm learning that's not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it's a good thing. Because when I leave my parents, I experience the joy that comes from cleaving only to my husband. And in doing that, I know I am pleasing God.

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