“And Laban said, ‘It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.’”
All families have some level of dysfunction, but Jacob’s household was a mess. What started with a surprise unveiling the morning after the wedding, grew into a family with two wives competing for the love of one husband. As time moved on, things got worse rather than better. Children were born into the family out of wedlock, and his wives were making back room deals as to who was going to spend the night with Jacob. It is little wonder, when these kids grew up, they had emotional issues and were willing to sell a brother into slavery. What happened to this family to create such chaos?
Genesis 29:26 “And Laban said, ‘It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.'”
Tradition can be a good thing. We have a 30 year old tradition in our family, of meeting at my wife’s parents house for Monday night dinner. In many ways, it is the highlight of the week for the kids. But when traditions are contrary to the Word of God, they are a bad thing. What was acceptable, and even expected in culture, caused Laban to trick Jacob into marrying both his daughters, and violating the ways of God. Marriage was designed by God to be between one man and one woman; and to last a lifetime. Jacob turned his marriage into two women, and two “other women”, and what followed was confusing to say the least.
It is not culturally accepted in America to have two or more wives simultaneously, but it has become acceptable to treat marriage as disposable. It is even common to hear couples, who are having difficulties in marriage, decide to call it quits “for the sake of the children.” We need to keep in mind that God designed marriage, and difficulties are not reasons to end a relationship, but to work on the relationship. Buying into the current cultural ideas of what a marriage should look like, or when a marriage should end, is wrong, and has long term affects on the kids. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves, a bad marriage or a broken marriage, will negatively affect the growth of our kids.
The answer is to stop looking at the world to define marriage, but to begin to look to the Word of God. God did not design marriage to be miserable, but to be a joyous relationship that would reflect the love He has for the world. If your marriage is less than that, perhaps it is time to look into the Bible for the blueprints of a healthy marriage. These texts were designed to help: Ephesians 5:22-33, 1Peter 3:1-7, 1Corinthians 7. Get together with your spouse and read through the Word, making any and all appropriate applications. Keep in mind, we cannot change another person, we can only change ourselves.