Saturday, August 29, 2009

Marital Advice from Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi


Do Not Complain About Your Spouse

Now then, today I am forced to speak about this matter also; it is a somewhat daring endeavour, but necessity has caused me to bring up the subject, when every day I hear men say "my wife is like this, my wife is like that, all women are devils...".

So, I ask: "Excuse me dear fellow, but this woman you are referring to - weren't you the one that married her?"

"Yes."

"Well then, when you married her, didn't you find every love, tenderness and happiness in her person?"

"Yes."

"So, why have you changed now? She is the same person. Both when you married her, and now. Can you see that you are to blame?"

Looking at Marriage From an Eternal Perspective

I met an elderly couple some years ago, approximately in their eighties, who had so much bitterness between them that, if it were possible, they would kill each other. I felt sorry for them; I sat down next to them and began to search deeper and discovered that they had reached that point out of ignorance. They had no idea what Christianity was, or anything about ethics - nothing whatsoever. When I sat down to talk to them, I saw that they were quite receptive and they would pay attention to whatever I told them. Well, after trying to briefly show them that mankind has origins from God and has eternity, and that we will not be in this world forever, and that the conjugal relationship is not dissolved here but continues into eternity, they were both moved and they accepted all that they heard. I left them, and after some time, they sent me a letter in which they said: "Elder, it is as though we are reliving the first month of our marriage." This from those who were ready to kill and to slaughter each other. Can you see the evidence now?

The Faithful Husband That Did Not Abandon His Adulteress Wife

I will tell you of another characteristic of a proper spouse, which is extremely difficult to find in our day. But we did encounter one such person. He was in every way a perfect character, a Christian, and completely social. He married late, around thirty years old, not because he was averse to marriage, but because he thought that was how it should be. So he said his prayers with faith, and found himself a young girl and married her. The girl was young, ten years younger than him. Soon after he married her, she began her mischief. He pretended not to notice; he regarded her as his daughter and himself as her father. However, they had important business interests overseas and they had to go there, even if only temporarily. So he took her and they went abroad. When they arrived, she became very obstinate, and would say to herself: "He did this on purpose, to estrange me from my environment. I will desert him." So she abandoned and left him. She came back to Greece, and where do you think she went? To one of those "casino" places, and began to live the life of a free woman - one who is paid.

The husband however, from the day that she left him, never stopped praying with tears and insisting - in fact exhorting God: "All Good One, I will not retreat, I will not leave you alone; You were the One who gave me my wife. 'By the Lord is a man and woman harmonized' (according to the Bible). I want my wife. If the young girl has been deceived, must she be lost? Why did You come down to earth? Didn't You come to find the lost ones, to heal the sick, to resurrect the dead? I will not retreat. I will not let You rest. I want my wife; bring her back to me." He wept for two whole years.

His prayer was eventually heard and the young woman came to her senses. "Oh my," she confessed, "God will have to create another Hell, because this one is too small for me!"

So she sat down and wrote him a letter, saying: "I dare not address your name; I have no such right. If I return, will you accept me as your servant?"

He replied: "My love, why did you mention that word and hurt my feelings? Wasn't it me who sent you on a vacation and I was longing for my love to return to my open arms?"

So, he went and waited for her at the airport, as they had arranged. When she arrived, she fell down and began to beat herself and cry. He took her in his arms.

"My love, why are you like this and hurt my feelings? I was longing to see you again. Let's go home now; we never parted - I was always with you."

And this young girl proved herself to be a faithful wife from then on.

And that is the stance that a man - a husband - should take. If spouses are like these, then show me what woman is bad?

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