He’s Your Son Not Your Surrogate Husband

by Yvonne Chase on May 3, 2017

The Stroke Of Midnight
It was New Year’s Eve and I was sitting in the pew waiting for service to start. Down my row to the right was a handsome man and a gorgeous woman locked arm in arm. There was a level of intimacy between them that was very sweet. I thought for sure they were engaged and or definitely married. If none of that was true, I thought for sure he would propose to her at the stroke of midnight and make it a Happy New Year.

This Is My Baby!
I was beyond shocked when I found out he was her son and she was his mother. Somehow we got into a conversation and she said,”This is my baby” and he followed it up with, “Yea, this is my mom. Doesn’t she look good?” My entire face said:

The Damage Is Already Done
Ashton Kutcher never came out to tell me I was Punk’d. Fast forward to Married At First Sight where we see a similar relationship between Nate and his mother. They’re super close. His parents never married and his mother raised him as a single mother. Of course, she has major issues with his choice to marry a stranger. Can’t say I blame her. Watch the video below and we’ll talk after:

Leaving His Mother
From the moment I saw their dynamic, I felt she would have a problem letting him go. I even wondered if he was a mama’s boy and hoped he wasn’t. At a family brunch prior to leaving for their honeymoon, she had a conversation with him about her feelings.

Standing Up To His Mother
Once they got seated and she got a chance to spill her guts, she asked Nate, “Am I still the queen?” His reply was, “No disrespect to you mom but Sheila is my new queen.” High five to Nate for standing up to his mother.

Boundaries Are Not Established
What I saw on New Year’s Eve and what I’m watching between Nate and his mother is an issue in my community; the black community. Mothers are raising sons on their own and that creates a host of problems not only for him but for any woman he dates and marries. In this dynamic, the son is also a surrogate husband to his mother who smothers him and creates a co-dependent relationship where boundaries are not established.

Cut The Umbilical Chord
If Nate is going to be successful at leaving his mother and cleaving to his wife, his mother needs to leave him alone and cleave to something or someone else. Although the verse in Genesis is directed to the spouse, I believe parents play a huge role in making it possible and easy for their children to leave and cleave. It’s hard for a mother to cut the umbilical chord when her son is the only man in her life and that is why the epidemic of single motherhood is a problem.

son
Becoming Separate From Your Parents
In her book, The Relationship Fix: Dr. Jenn’s 6 Step Guide To Improving Communication, Connection, And Intimacy, Dr. Jenn Mann talks about the importance of individuating from your parents. She says and I agree 100%:

“There are key times in a person’s life cycle when individuation is supposed to occur. Becoming separate and independent from your parents is an important part of becoming an adult. You can be close to your family and still be individuated. This means that while you respect and may be interested in your parents’ opinion, at the end of the day, you do what you believe is right in your own best interest, regardless of their reactions. You cannot have a healthy relationship with your partner without becoming separate from your parents. Your spouse must always come first, above your family of origin.” 

Establishing Her Own Life
While I don’t believe Nate and Sheila will stay married beyond the experiment, I hope this experience is the catalyst to his mother cutting the umbilical chord and establishing her own life so that should he marry in the future, he can leave and cleave to his wife with ease. Nate’s mother needs to know this; the parent-child relationship is temporary and the husband-wife relationship is permanent.

Something to think about…

What say you? What role do parents play in helping their children leave and cleave? How important is it to individuate from our parents once we marry? Did you have a hard time individuating from your parents?

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz May 5, 2017

Wow… This is some powerful stuff here. My Mother In Love always says your daughters are yours forever, but your sons go and take a wife. Seems she took this lesson to heart. I pray I’m raising my own sons to go be good husbands to the wives God blesses them with.
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Yvonne Chase May 5, 2017

@Liz,

Based on observation and experience, sons tend to cling more to their mothers and daughters tend to cling more to their dads. I too, hope you are raising sons to be good husbands to their future wives. It’s imperative that mothers cut the umbilical chord and let their sons live their own lives. Individuating is important. I believe parents, especially mothers, play a key role in how it happens.
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Debbie Wilson May 5, 2017

Yvonne, In the years I counseled women the leaving and cleaving issues came us many times. I like how Dr. Jenn defined individuating. ” This means that while you respect and may be interested in your parents’ opinion, at the end of the day, you do what you believe is right in your own best interest, regardless of their reactions.” I think even for singles it’s important to leave and cleave to Jesus. When we grow up we transfer our dependence on to Him.
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Yvonne Chase May 5, 2017

@Debbie,

I love your point about singles leaving and cleaving to Jesus. Never quite attached that verse to singles. Thank you for giving me something to think about…
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Tammy May 5, 2017

I have a son myself and he is (or was? still is somewhat?) a momma’s boy. I hope that I have taught him over the years how to treat a woman, that he knows that he needs to leave home and that he needs to be all there for his wife. This was very powerful stuff, makes me stop and think and see if I really have done everything I needed to do for my son.
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Yvonne Chase May 5, 2017

@Tammy,

It’s great that you are aware of who your son is and what you have done and can still possibly do to prepare him to leave and cleave. Wives don’t want mama’s boys!

As I said in the post, I believe parents play in role in how/if their sons leave and cleave to their wives and family. As long as you let him go to do so, all will be well.
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Valerie Murray May 5, 2017

Yes, I agree. I lived on the same court as my in-laws for many years Sadly, they have both passed and while I do consider it a blessing to have been close to them, we definitely needed to have some boundaries. His mom learned when my husband would ask her opinion and tend to choose hers over mine to “ask your wife” lol.
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Yvonne Chase May 5, 2017

@Valerie,

Boundaries are super important especially when living in such close proximity. Your mother-in-laws’ response to her son was spot on!
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Michele Morin May 5, 2017

I recently read a post in which someone gave her daughter in law to be an apron with the strings removed as a shower gift, and I’ve had that image in my mind ever since. As a mother of four boys, I’m being very careful to make sure that the d-i-l ‘s (as they come) know that they’re #1 from now on.
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Yvonne Chase May 5, 2017

@Michele,

That’s a unique gift to say the least and it sends a powerful message. Love it! Making sure your daughter-in-laws know they are number one is wisdom.
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Mari May 5, 2017

Clap Clap Clap!!!!! all around great post omg! I have seen this sort of behavior and thought I would fall to the ground. Great read Yvonne thanks for sharing.

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Yvonne Chase May 6, 2017

@Mari,

Thank you. I see this behavior often. No disrespect to single mothers, however, if men are going to be men plus great husbands to their wives, mothers need to leave their sons alone and give him the space to leave and cleave to his wife.
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Marva | SunSparkleShine May 7, 2017

It’s such a fine line, isn’t it, Yvonne? Moms want to love their sons well and wish the best for them but then it’s hard to let go. I pray that when my son gets to that age I’ll have the wisdom (through your words and others) to respect his wife and honour their union above my relationship with him.
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Yvonne Chase May 7, 2017

@Marva,

I hope so too Marva. Mothers have to raise their sons to be men then let them go.
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Brittany May 8, 2017

I had this issue with my MIL. To the point where counseling had to come into play. She needed to hear this exact thing from someone else! Luckily the counselor did say this exact thing and so far, things have been better! Thanks for sharing!

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Yvonne Chase May 8, 2017

@Brittany,

I’m sorry. I hope things continue to get better and better between you and your MIL. Everything goes left when a person doesn’t know their place and oversteps their bounds.
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Lanae Bond May 8, 2017

When I saw the relationship between Nate and his mom, I cringed (most of the show has me that way). I knew they had that type of relationship from the time they showed him and his mom. I really don’t think the relationship with him and his wife, will go well because of his mother. I never seen any marriage work for a guy with a mother like that!

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Yvonne Chase May 8, 2017

@Lanae,

I think Nate and Sheila will divorce, however, I don’t think his Mom will have anything to do with it. They simply are not a match. The experts made a mistake matching them based on faith. Nate is not a Christian. He has religion, not a relationship. It’s obvious!
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Debbie Kitterman May 10, 2017

Yvonne – great points and I completely agree! I have friends that are having a hard time cutting the chord with their adult sons still living at home and not wanting to let them go. You had some great points and observations as well. Thanks for linking up with #TuneInThursday last week. Hope to see you tomorrow too.
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Jean | DelightfulRepast.com May 11, 2017

I was very close to a couple who were like second parents to me. They had been married for 67 years when she died. Her husband told me that his biggest regret in life had been not standing up *to* his mother and not standing up *for* his wife! His mother behaved abominably toward his wife for the first 30 years of their marriage, right up until his mother died. He regretted that he had done nothing to solve the problem during those 30 years and nothing to make up for it during the remaining 37 years.
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Yvonne Chase May 11, 2017

@Jean,

Dang! Sad, sad, sad! If a man can’t stand up to his mother and put her in her place before marriage, he ought to wait until he can. He must be able to stand up for his wife!

I think mothers have a responsibility. A mother ought to let her son leave and cleave to his wife. She had her time with him. Just because he’s married doesn’t mean their relationship ends it simply means it shifts to a new location.
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Jean | DelightfulRepast.com May 12, 2017

And I forgot to mention, Yvonne, she was not a single mother. She had a husband, who she also treated badly. It was all about her and their only child!
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Cynthia Johnson May 18, 2017

As an older woman, I have more than a few female friends who have raised their sons as single parents for whatever reason, and I have never seen this dynamic of “surrogate husband” within their families. They have raised well-rounded/grounded individuals! It would be nice if the wording in your article would state “some” instead of generalizing as a whole.

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