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Marriage and love require huge responsibility from a person. Love requires a response. We used to think it does not. As if love is something you can easily use, or something that brings pleasure, or even something you can order in a restaurant. Unfortunately, in Russian language the word “love” is used in relation to people, animals, furniture, nature, and food.
That is why when a person says “I love” he can mean the same feeling as if he wanted to say “I like spaghetti”. A person treats the other as a delicious meal, which provokes certain emotions and appetite. So he wants to consume it, to glut himself with it. And when the plate is empty, he needs nothing more.
People treat each other like this. They want to consume each other and “possess” each other. People use this verb really often while they are speaking about love: “I want to possess someone”. This means they want to use and to consume this person. I want to get as much as possible from him. But that doesn’t mean I will give myself to the same extent. A person looks at another person and thinks: “What a nice person. What a marvelous, beautiful, clever, simple and rich human being he is. How much can I get from him”. So people use their youth, their beauty, charm, and everything what the nature granted them to get what they want.
But all these things are not eternal. In heat a glass of water is drunk rather quickly. You quench your thirst with this glass, but you see there is nothing at the bottom. But you are still thirsty. You want to consume this beautiful human nature, and to drink all this beauty. If the glass is empty, you need to find another one to consume even more.
People split up, love ends and family relationships break, and this is the only reason: people “love” each other just as they love pasta. When a religious marriage falls apart, it is really painful and scary. Because a marriage cannot be dissolved due to its nature. When God says He joins two people into one He means the most important thing – the mysterious nature of human relationships “And they shall be one flesh” (Genesis, 2:24); “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew, 19:6).
The nature of love is so great that people cannot comprehend it and cannot be dissolved. It is impossible to separate a person from God’s love. Apostle Paul once said: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”. (Romans, 8:35-37) Nothing on earth can separate us from His love! It is the nature of love, which cannot be dissolved.
Give up your life for love
If a person tells someone, “I love you” or think he loves, he should be sure he can give up his life for this person. That means we should open our hearts and let another person to enter into your life. You have to give up yourself to the other person whithout holding anything back. Give your life to him, give it up for him, open your soul for him and bring him there. How can you destroy such love? There is no way you can!
It is difficult to reach such love. We cannot get it at once, when we are in love, and at the beginning of family relationships. We cannot say such love is something what has the beginning and the end. It has the beginning, but then it continues, and then it comes up after decades of marriage. Not for the first year, not for the second one, but when people have lived many years together and know how to hear each other, listen to each other and obey each other, to forgive and to support each other, so that they cannot image how else it could be. They do not exist separately even if they are separated from each other by some circumstances and live in different corners of the world.
Love cannot be dissolved
It cannot be dissolved. It can be killed, destroyed and trampled by peoples’ selfishness, by the desire to command and do everything for themselves.
It does not matter whether the marriage is religious or not, because matrimony itself has never saved any marriage. As an act or a mystical power, it has never helped those people, who do not live by the Gospel.
If a person lives by these laws and understands what love is, then God blesses this marriage during matrimony and uplifts it.
The exerpt from Gospel that is read during the ceremony has a profound meaning. The episode, in which Christ comes to the marriage in Cana. We see that Christ blesses the marriage by His presence. It tells us about the mysterious nature of marriage and the essence of love. We see how peoples’ nature can be uplifted by love and become something really marvelous. There is little wine at this wedding, just like there is lack of something sensitive in our lives. And then the wine runs out. So does sensibility of a person. The sense is not limitless too. And patience runs out as well. And at that wedding something important runs out – wine, which amuses the guests, because people have come to this marriage for joy and happiness. So why there is little wine? Shame and disgrace.
And Christ turns water into wine. A single tasteless and colorless substance is turned into wine. The same happens to our love and relationships. They are simple and natural human needs: to be loved and to share your life, house and bed with someone else, to be covered by someone. These needs are absolutely normal, and they are simple just like water. Eventually, they are tasteless and colorless.
But Christ shows us, that love can be different, that it can be turned into a mysterious substance. Water is different from wine: so the simple human relationships and the love in marriage are different as well. This love is different by its nature. And if a person has not get such grace, if this has not happened to him, then the marriage can be saved by the common garden of children. But it will be destroyed. There is no marriage if there is no love.
But there is one more thing we know. We take wine during the Holy Communion. This wine can be turned into the blood of Christ, into the blood which He has spilled for us and which proves that He loves us. Now you see, how great human love can be!
People ask: “What are the reasons for divorce?” “Because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew, 19:6). Because of the hardness of your hearts you may divorce, because you do not love and the marriage does not mean love to you. The purpose and nature of marriage are always the same. In the Old Testament the purpose was different. Today people say that the purpose of marriage is childbearing. This is not true. Childbearing is a natural consequence, but not the aim. The aim of marriage in Islam is reproduction, and that is why people there do not think about love between spouses. It may appear, but at the beginning a man choses his future wife without seeing her face and knowing anything about her. It is hard to say, what they think about love. The situation in old testament was the same.
But Christian marriage is the union of love. The aim is love itself. It is the essence, the realization and the aim which Christ has set at the marriage in Cana – to turn water into wine. And that is why we say a Christian family is a small church. Why? Because if there is love in this family, then the gates of hell won’t prevail over it. As it was said: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew, 16:18). The same is said about a family in which people love each other. Hell cannot prevail over love. And a family is the source of real love. Not the love for pasta, but the love which joins two people into one.
Translated from: http://www.kiev-orthodox.org/site/family/2498/
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