Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

God calls us to leave our families and cleave to our spouse, but what does that really mean? Dr. Greg Smalley says cleaving to our spouse involves pursuing of them. We can look to how God pursues us as an example of how we can pursue our spouse.

“First and foremost, God didn’t just save us. He didn’t just bring us into His adopted family. He continues to pursue us. He continues to chase after us every single day of our lives. In the same way God pursued me to be a part of His family and continues to pursue me, I need to do that same thing, but the question is, do I actually do that?”

Dr. Greg Smalley was convicted by this and sought out more information about what it means to pursue in marriage.

“It’s all about gaining knowledge. You have to know them, you have to earn a PhD on them. However, it’s hard because we are always changing. We have to constantly be learning and re-learning about each other. One lifetime isn’t long enough to get to know her. The more we carefully track each other and seek to understand each other, the more we pursue each other.”

To illustrate this point, Greg gives a clear example of what it means to pursue something. He tells the story of a time he and his family were descending down a mountain in Colorado. On the way up the mountain, Greg’s daughter had been complaining, but on the way down it was a different story. Greg asked Annie why and she responded.

“She says, ‘Daddy, I’m enjoying this because everywhere you step I step. I’m following you exactly and it’s really easy when I follow you.’ This whole idea of pursuing not only God, but my wife is really is just like that. Everywhere that my wife Erin is going, wherever she is stepping, I want to make sure I’m right there.”


Dr. Greg Smalley serves as vice president of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family.  In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. He also serves as a media spokesperson on these matters.

Key Scripture: Psalm 23:6

Featured Songs: Hills & Valleys – Tauren Wells; Impossible Things – Chris Tomlin; Press On – Building 429

Cleaving to your spouse

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