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A Letter to My Adult Children

A Letter to My Adult Children

"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)

To My Adult Children:

You have always been welcome additions to our home. The years spent with the four of us being a tight family unit were, in my mind, the answers to every heart longing that I'd ever had. From the dream-come-true moments that I met and married your father to the life-altering births of you, my precious babies, I have always believed that you and your father were a miraculous answer to prayer, gifts that came straight from the Father's hand, and a mercy that has been lavished on one who had, at one time, believed that she was a hopeless misfit.

Over the past 33 years of marriage and parenting, I have studied the Scriptures and read every Scripture-based book I can get my hands on that might help me be the kind of wife and mother that God wanted me to be. My heart's greatest desire has been to live this privilege and calling well.

As our family has transitioned into a new season, I am finding that I am back in the classroom, having to learn how to be married and how to be a mom in a new way. As with past seasons, God has much to say about how I am to live, and he did not forget to address our current season.

1. I Thank God for how He has provided a place for you to live.

Having your own place to call home will always be a tangible expression of the fact that you are your own, separate unit. We will work hard not to show up unannounced and to respect your privacy.

2. I Thank God for how He is providing for you financially and how he is teaching you to trust Him for all of your needs.

We want to help in any way we can, but know that we will be asking God for wisdom to know how and when to help.

3. I am asking God to show us how to encourage you to leave home emotionally.

We know that you now share things, process decisions, and talk issues through with your spouse first. We will always be here for you, but our goal is not to manipulate you or make you feel guilty for this.

Parents with adult children

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/DGLimages

4. I am asking God to help you to live out your own faith.

We have raised you the best way we knew how with the knowledge we had been given. We will pray that God will continue to work in your heart and that you will grow in your faith individually and as a couple. We pray that God will put people into your lives who can help in your growth process. We know that we are not the biggest influence in their lives anymore.

5. I am asking God to help us to relinquish those things that we may have considered to be tradition.

God's Word trumps tradition, culture, what we have "always done," and our preferences. We will help you learn how to obey God's Word by making it easy for you to leave and cleave and by allowing you to start your own family traditions and way of doing things.

6. I am asking God to help us not to behave in a way that will make you wish you lived 3,000 miles away from us!

Please know that you are free to live the way you feel God is leading you to live, even if it is different than how we do. You are unique individuals who are coming together; we know that your family will look different than ours has and that you will be learning as you go. We will not judge or criticize the way you do things. We will work hard not to give advice unless you ask for it.

7. I am asking God to help us approach our new role in your lives with the future in mind.

There may come a time when our health or circumstances require you to be there for us in a new way. If God calls you to take care of us in our old age, we want to make sure that we have been a blessing to you in any way we can in the years prior so that we will not be a burden to you.

8. I am asking God to help us remember that we are not your number 1 priority.

We know that you have new priorities and a spouse that you will prefer over us.

Parents visiting adult children and spouse

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

9. I am asking God to help us to know how to encourage you to put your marriage relationship first.

Your marriage must come before your relationship with us. We pray that God will help us adjust to this new reality.

10. We are praying that you will truly bond with your spouse.

Your marriage is now your most important relationship next to God. Having a God-honoring marriage will take hard work. We will continue to pray for you daily. That will be a way for us to enter into your battle and help empower you to work hard to prioritize your spouse.

Being your parents is an honor and a privilege. We promise that we will continue to learn how to be loving, supportive, and God-honoring parents to you and your spouses. And know that, as long as we are able to, we will be on the sidelines cheering you on!

God's desire has always been that you leave one day. His desire has always been that your father and I have a strong marriage to weather these winds of change because he has desired that, at some point in our lives, WE have learned to leave and cleave to one another!

According to Genesis 2:24, the bond between husband and wife is stronger than the bond between parent and child: That means that you are now bonded to your spouses. But it also means that your father and I need to allow that to happen, and we need to be bonded to one another as husband and wife in the same way!

God is the One who ordained that Adam and Eve would be joined together. He said that the two of them would become one flesh. This is a picture that involves only two people – husband and wife. To "cleave" means "to adhere to, stick to, or join with." It is the joining of two people into one unit. When you marry, you have become a new, separate family. If we make it hard for you to become a separate unit, then we have become a stumbling block. And you could very well suffer a lack of intimacy and unity and be hindered from building:

  • A marriage that will persevere in hard times
  • A relationship that ultimately points others to God and his glory

With all of this in mind, your dad and I want you to know that we are in prayer, asking God to keep us from hindering you from learning what it means to leave and cleave.


Mom & Dad

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Halfpoint

Gina Smith is a writer and author. She has been married for 34 years to Brian, a college professor, and athletic trainer. For 25+ years she and her husband served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, where Brian was a professor and dean of students. They reside right outside of Washington DC and are the parents of two grown children, one daughter-in-law, and one son-in-law. She recently authored her first traditionally published book Everyday Prayers for Joy, available everywhere books are sold. You can find Gina at the following:, Instagram, , and at Million Praying Moms, where she is a writer. 

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