From an interview with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos:
Question: Statistics say that in some countries of the EU more than half of all marriages end up in divorce. Do you think that besides social there are also spiritual reasons for the alarming dissolution of the family in modern societies, and consequently, what precise attitudes and measures could be taken by the Orthodox community to resist this trend?
Answer: The cause of divorces is the various passions developing in man, such as self-love, indulgence, and selfishness.
When one reads the Service of the Mystery of Marriage carefully, one will find out that the joint life of man and woman, which must be in Christ, is lived within a certain framework. When someone trespasses this framework, he first experiences what is called emotional divorce and then he ends up in a final divorce.
The way the Dance of Isaiah is performed during the Mystery of Marriage is indicative. The priest leads the couple, holding the Gospel and chanting “Holy Martyrs who have fought well and have been crowned”. This means that the steps of the new couple will resemble martyrdom and this is why the Priest should always be ahead of them to guide them on the basis of the Gospel. This means that there is asceticism within the marriage, the asceticism of the Church. When this is not observed, marriage is secularized.
Orthodox Communities should help people from their young age to learn clearly what the purpose of man’s existence is, what the purpose of marriage is and what its conclusion is. Because the purpose of marriage is not simply a social cohabitation but the experiencing of Paradise on earth and a road that leads to Paradise.
From Sobornost, September 2006.