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Grandparents—A Vision for Three Generations

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Read a compelling “Leave and Cleave” love letter, from adult children to parents.

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Grandparents want to see their life visions fulfilled in the lives of their grandchildren as well as in their adult children. After discussing the importance of adult children encouraging their parents to develop close relationships with their grandchildren, Dr. Dunlap provides readers with an amazing “Leave and Cleave” love letter. He offers this sample letter to premarital counselees, and encourages them to send a similar letter to their parents before they marry.

The final way that adult children can honor their parents is to give them their blessing and encouragement to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. 

5.       Parents of adult children want to have close relationships with their grandchildren. 

The Bible commands Christians to have a vision for three generations—they are to teach the truths of God’s Word to their children and to their children’s children.  It is important that grandparents be given a teaching role in their grandchildren’s lives.  Adult children should make an effort to give their parents an ongoing report of their grandchildren’s school progress and extracurricular involvement.  Grandparents generally delight in knowing the details of their grandchildren’s various activities.  

Parents want to know that their adult children are living lives that are acceptable and pleasing to God, and they want to see this vision fulfilled in their grandchildren’s lives as well. 

I often encourage adult children to send their parents what I call a “Leave and Cleave Love Letter” when they are about to be married.  I offer them this sample letter to help them organize their thoughts.   

Dear Mom and Dad, 

You have been wonderful parents all my life.  Thank you for a lifetime of love and devotion to me.  God has used you—your words, deeds, and attitudes—to make me who I am.  I will always be deeply grateful to you. 

The time to leave and cleave has arrived, and this is a very important time for us all.  Although I am leaving, I will always honor, appreciate, respect and admire you.  But knowing you as I do, I feel certain  you agree that my relationship with my husband/wife must now become the priority relationship in my life. 

I ask you to regard him/her as a part of the family in the same way that you regard me.  I also ask for your wisdom in helping us learn to merge our two lives into a loving, one-flesh relationship.  We will take your counsel seriously.  At the same time, we will prayerfully search God’s Word in an effort to determine God’s will for each situation that we encounter. 

I have always depended on you and looked to you, as the primary authority in my life.  That is changing now, and although the change will be hard for me, and probably for you, I assure you that the changes do not diminish my deep and abiding love for you both.  I aspire to follow your godly examples as we establish our new family under Christ. 

I want us all to feel free to lovingly disagree from time to time, secure in the knowledge that we all love one another and we are committed to one another.  I eagerly anticipate all the new and enjoyable aspects of our relationship as they unfold in the months and years ahead.  

Thanks again for all that you are to me, and for all you have done for me. 


Your Son/Daughter   

God is pleased when His children make a sincere effort to honor their parents.  If you have been unloving or ungrateful toward your parents, repent before the Lord.  Then ask your parents to forgive you for your ungrateful spirit, or your insensitivity to their needs.  Finally, implement a workable plan to attempt to mend and nurture the relationship with your parents while there is still time. You will reap manifold blessings from your attempts to honor your father and mother as God commands. 


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