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On obedience in marriage

Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol on obedience in marriage

8 May 2018
Tags: Religion, Orthodoxy, Marriage

Also, you, wives, obey your husbands, so that those of them who do not obey the word, the life of their wives without a word, were acquired when they see your pure, God-fearing life (1 Pet. 3, 1-2).

Scripture often says that wives must obey their husbands. In the creation of man, God created a wife as an assistant to her husband, and then, after falling, the wife began to submit to her husband, because she first violated the commandment of God and dragged Adam behind him. God subordinates his wife to her husband, and the husband already has authority over her (cf. Gen. 3, 16). In the New Testament, there is also a well-known formula of the doctrine that wives must obey their husbands. And we say that there is equality between the sexes. How does this fit with the words of the holy Apostle Peter? And is not that what they say now?

First, in the Holy Scripture, the holy apostle Paul says that there is neither male nor female (cf. Gal. 3, 28). There is no difference between a man and a woman, or between a barbarian and a Hellen, or between a slave and a free, but we are all the same before Christ. So, we will proceed from this basis.

There is a person, i.е. Man and woman. God created man, created Adam, and then Eve. They had a common goal - a connection with God, and Eve contributed to their common bringing to Heavenly Father, God. From the Old Testament, where the woman really stood below the man, we, since the law of Moses was a transitional stage, we pass into the period of the New Testament, a period of grace where there is no longer a difference between a man and a woman: we are all the same before God, and we have a common goal - Salvation and communication with God.

The Holy Apostle Peter also refers to the reason why one must obey his husbands: not because you are weaker or somehow different, but that husbands, through the conduct of their wives, can be acquired without exhortation, only seeing your pure, God-fearing life, e. so that you could acquire your husband without special preaching. When a wife gives her husband what he needs as a husband, and the husband gives the wife what she needs as a wife, then they mutually acquire each other, not dominating their mate.

Also, you, husbands, address wisely with wives as if they were a frail vessel, honoring them as co-heirs of a blessed life, so that you will not be impeded in prayers (1 Pet. 3, 7). The apostle says this to his husbands, because they, apparently, were nedotepami, did not understand what it means to live with his wife, and the apostle stresses here what a great art it is to live with his wife.

Laugh how much you want, it does not stop me! Whoever has an objection, I'm ready to listen to them!

Do honor to the female sex. Do you see what the holy apostle Peter says? Do honor - that's important, because he did not say something else, for example, that a husband bought her dresses or drove through beauty salons, namely this.

Look, equality, of course, exists, and it was Christ who introduced this equality between the sexes and ended the unenviable position of a woman who in the Roman Empire was considered a thing and belittled even by Greek philosophy. The gospel comes and raises a woman, and there is no more male or female gender. We are all made the same before God, but without the disappearance of the uniqueness of the sexes; a man remains a man, and a woman a woman, each preserves the uniqueness of her sex and her psychosomatic personality.

Because, whatever one may say, a man thinks, lives and acts in his own way, he has one psychology and one emotional world, and the other is with a woman. Neither a woman can become a man, nor a man a woman. It will not work. Their soulfulness can not be changed. And it would be good for the Church to be at least occasionally hard on some issues concerning women in the first place, this is so, and precisely in order to keep a woman within her bounds, to function as a woman in all the hypostasis of her existence, and also for psychosomatic union between a man and a woman occurred within the proper boundaries and at the proper levels.

Severe traumas in marriage begin to appear because the man can not understand how a woman thinks. With this, we have the biggest problem, because men think roughly. The mind they do not work here - we are such, we are so created, and it's not God's fault, we're just rude.

A man can not even suspect with what tenderness he should treat his wife, take care of her. And in reality, problems in families begin with this. The husband does not know how to behave with his wife. When he wants to conquer her, he becomes soft as a rug, ready to trample him, make it sweet as honey, and say only sweet words. But this lasts at most before the wedding. And when they get married, this is the end, and all the courtesies are discarded as unnecessary trash!

He says:

- Well, what are we now, we will talk about such things? We've spoken about this to you so many times! How much longer do you need to talk about this? Let's be serious! We have become adults with you for a long time, have children, I work all day, come home broken, will I have a desire to praise you, that you washed the floor, cooked a cake, made a new haircut?

He does not say anything to her. Well, he does not say - he does not say that, but only after that wait for the consequences. He will pay for his silence! And expensive. Begin to grumble because of one, because of another, and even on trifles the wife will say:

- Do you understand me! Who am I to you: a slave, a servant? No body understands me!

And all this will be repeated without end, like a cassette, which is stuck in one place. Well, tell your wife a couple of kind words, praise her, do honor, says the holy apostle Peter.

Just marvel at the apostles, fathers and devotees of the Church: what kind of knowledge they had! Well, the holy apostle Peter was married, maybe he had experience, but in fact the holy apostle Paul was not married. Or devotees who for decades may not have seen women at all, and in their creations they wrote about these things with such clarity and accuracy.

So, I must say to myself: "Well, my child, do not you know how to behave with your wife? And you do not come to mind that I should say such words to her so that everything will be all right? That it is necessary to be gentle, to give honor to the wife, that is, to praise her, to treat her kindly, to say approving words, to notice what she is doing for you, to say that the food is tasty? For example, to tell her that the jam that she prepared, excellent, and never praise her mother, sister, secretary if you have one, or a neighbor. This is all very important. We joke, of course, but it's just like that.

A husband needs a spouse to support him

And why should wives obey their husbands? Because the husband needs his wife to support him. And he does not need much. Of course, the husband is not one of those whom it is easy to touch, he does not give in very much, but still what does he want from his wife? The spouse wants support, and this is his consolation. That is, the wife should comfort her husband. And what does it mean to console? It's like when you sit down on a nice sofa, on a good bed - and relax, relax, and say: "How good! Finally I will rest "- this is the kind of wife for her husband.

When a husband comes home and says to his wife: "You know, today I did this and that!" - the wife should never question it. From the moment you question it, you like splashing a bucket of water into a fire that should be kindled to keep warm. And if you doubt it and react like this: "Well, what have you done? And all of you are robbed, fooled, laugh at you, no one seriously takes you! You are weak-willed, weak, you do not know how to make purchases, you do not know how to manage money! "- then you and your husband will be all over. He will fall asleep and nothing more will be said to you. He will return home, ask: "How are you?" - "Good", - will answer, and nothing more.

So the husband is waiting for support from his wife.

You will also acquire a husband if you obey him without, of course, becoming a slave to him. Her husband has ambition. If he says to you:

"Let's take you for a walk around Athens!"

And you will answer:

- Most Holy Theotokos! Yes, we were the day before yesterday only in Athens! How long will we go there? I told you that I do not want to go there!

If you refuse him and do not submit, and start telling all this to him, he will not lead you anywhere else. He will say:

- Well, then sit in the locked! - or: - Do what you want!

If not anything worse. It's another thing, if he tells you something, and you answer: "Well, with pleasure!" For example, he says: "I wanted to eat something!" - and the wife replies: "I will cook it with pleasure!" Or he does not even answer, but silently prepares, then, since he has ambition, the wife can easily do anything with her husband. It's as if you had an elephant, you tie him by the string and lead wherever you want.

You need to know how to behave with another person. The husband should know how to behave with his wife, as well as the wife and husband. This is the great art of matrimony. Who has learned to him, who has found himself, who has rejected his selfishness and has learned to behave with another person, has acquired much and beautifully lives his married life, he will be consoled spiritually and, according to St. Peter the Apostle, will not have a stumbling block in his prayers. That is, the grace of God will dwell in his heart, and it will not be difficult for him to pray.

Often women come to us and say:

- It's very hard for me because my husband does not go to church! - or: - He's an unbeliever! - or: - He swears at me. What can I tell him to come to church?

What can I tell him? You do not need to tell him anything; show yourself by your own behavior that the church is helping you, that in church you have become a good wife, that you consoled, respected, honored, appreciated, recognized, inspired. You must inspire your husband. When he is small, he expects that his mother will inspire him, and immediately afterwards she expects the same from his wife. This is so, so the psychology of a man functions. If you do this, you will not have to read him sermons. He will gradually come himself, fall in love with the church and become a churchgoer.

I saw many cases when my husband did not go to church, but said:

- My wife goes to church, confesses and became a very good mother, mistress. She's so good.

And you see that he rejoices and boasts to others. And when you go to church, but remain sarcastic, capricious, spiteful, angry, no one can talk to you, you do not condone anyone, you do not put a husband in anything - then he is not crazy to come to church! He will not come. And he will say to you:

- And what do you understand from the fact that she began to go to church? You became even worse than you were!

How many such cases were! Or there are middle-aged women who make tragic mistakes in the name of the Church. The husband says to her:

- Let's go on an excursion!

And she replies:

"First I'll ask my confessor!"

Well, does she deserve that the confessor ask her a bashing, figuratively speaking, for God's sake? Is it possible to say this to your husband?

Or does he say to you:

"You have money in the bank, give me three thousand lire!"

And you say:

"Wait, I'll ask the confessor, then I'll tell you!"

You can not do it this way. You can not talk like that to him. Answer him normally and if there is a serious reason, consult a confessor. But from all right to treat your husband.

People often create huge problems in marriage, under the cover of the Church

Or he asks to do him some kind of service - do it, console him, do not look for religious reasons to do as you want, whereas the Church does not say anything like that. You know, people often create huge problems in marriage, under the cover of the Church. Even in marital relations, the wife often, not wishing for some reason to have a connection with her husband, puts forward thousands of reasons:

- No, it's a holiday! I will take communion! I fast! I'll knead the prosphora! I will pass by the temple!

Thousands of reasons. Well, is this not natural, if the husband is angry and turns away from the Church? The church does not say anything like that, you made it all up. From your point of view, maybe you are right, but according to the rules of married life - you have no right to do so.

The same goes for her husband. You can not neglect your wife under the pretext of piety. You can not not pay attention to your wife because you are allegedly engaged in the Church, spiritual affairs. That is, come home and tell your wife:

"You know, we will not talk at home, so as not to talk idly!"

Do you know what "idle talk" is? Do not say too much and sit silently. If you were an ascetic, a monk is good, do it. But you are at home, and if you do this, you will lose your wife.

Or the husband says:

"I do not praise my wife so she will not become proud!"

Well, do not praise her, then her neighbor will praise you, and you will have problems

Well, do not praise her, then her neighbor will praise you, and you will have problems. And you do not guess that it should be cheered? If you do not praise your wife, how do you get it? And how could you even say such that it would be pride?

Such actions speak of spiritual imbalances, create huge problems, and this is not in the spirit of Christ and the Church.

When we say that a wife submits to her husband, this should happen the way Christ obeyed his Father: He submitted not because the Father is higher than the Son, but out of love. In order to acquire another, I submit to him for love.

When I want to buy someone, and he says to me:

"You will not give me a pen?" - I answer:

- With joy, take it! I'll give you two ladies!

Because I want to gain his love, and not because I'm his slave. Or he says to me:

"Will you do me a favor?"

- Sure, with pleasure!

It's one thing to say: "Well, I'll do it, but first I'll think about it," and another: "With joy! With pleasure! "This is quite another matter. This is the obedience that the apostle speaks about.

Metropolitan of Africa, Athanasius of Limassol
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