It is a great joy, when you have a family: a wife, a husband, children… Another great joy is when you can hold on to this family, make it through tough times and make sure it doesn't fall apart. Let us pray, that you never have to go through the problems we will talk about today.
In some cases we may feel tired from family relationships. Some people are in crisis now and think at heart: “Was it a right decision to marry? Was he or she the right choice? And why did I choose that particular person?” But what is most important is that you should never say the words “I’m going to divorce!” You should do your best to avoid this. Because I know pretty much family couples which are ready to talk about getting divorced.
It is really wonderful if you have a family. Marriage, family – these are the Divine gifts. It is an honor expressed by God. It is a calling to relish love and unity of bodies, hearts, souls, and character. We cannot imagine how great it is. But how can it be that people having such joy decide to divorce? Quite strange. Why a wife and a husband cannot live in this unity and get old together? Once a man, who was going to get married within a few months, asked me:
- Father, I would like to know, whether I must live my whole life with the one woman after marriage.
I should mention that he was quite a bad-tempered and passionate person. So I told him:
- Yes, you must. A marriage means that you spend your life with the one person.
- But it is too difficult! – He said.
Yes, it is really difficult. But if you overcome this “difficulty”, you will get great delight and happiness. I know this from my own experience. I was ordained as a priest within the hour. The sacrament ended, but actually that very moment was just the beginning. The fact that I became a priest one day does not mean that I reached perfection. Once I asked a man:
- What does your wife like to eat?
- How should I know this?!
- Well… And where does she like to walk? Where does she prefer to spend time?
- I have definitely no idea about this!
You see? He is always watching TV and he is not going to discover his wife’s soul, despite the fact that they live together. But this is the thing we all should learn. It will be difficult, as it is difficult to be married to the one woman and spend your whole life with her. We can say it is a feat. Often people are just not ready for marriage. There was a woman who told me one:
- I had no idea that I would face such things. I am so tired. I have no private space. I cannot live for myself! There are always problems with children and one of them is always sick. There is never enough money, but everyone demands something for himself. I cannot just sit and say “Enough! I will not cook for you today, I don’t want to hear or see you all!” I can’t do this. I have to concentrate all the time, but this makes be exhausted. Things get even worse when my husband doesn’t understand me.
Do not be surprised. You have married a man, not an angel. It is absolutely natural, that he cannot satisfy all your needs and wishes. We all are imperfect. We all are just people, and none of us can carry out all the wishes of our husbands and wives. No matter how kind, great and beautiful your wife is, she is still a finite creation. It means, she has the beginning and the end. Her mind and spiritual condition are different from yours. Today she behaves in this way, tomorrow she can behave in another way, tomorrow she is a bit different. Later you begin to think: “What is going on? Why is it so?” There is nothing special, because it is just our nature.
A person is like a rose, which can change within a year. In the morning she is in beams of the sun she looks in one way, but when it rains – she is already different. And when it starts to fade it becomes unrecognizable entirely. We can say the same about people. If you say you want to divorce your wife, then my reply will be the following: you have not known her well enough up to today that you are tired of her. Our spouses keep a lot of secrets, a lot of new and undiscovered things, which they can share with us. We just know so little about them.
Attention means much as well. Do you remember the story in the Gospel, in which God showed the inner beauty of the Samaritan just by His good attitude towards her? God asked for some water, and by this He paid much respect to her. All women needs such respect. They need praise and compliments,or just a few kind words. Not sugary, but kind.
When I was in Thessaloniki, I was visiting a family and we had dinner together. The hostess made a wonderful meal. I liked it so much that I asked for one more portion. Then I said to her with her husband and children here:
- It is so delicious! I really like the meal you have made.
The kind woman was so happy:
- Father, let me put one more portion for you.
I agreed and passed her the plate. But her husband turned to me and said:
- Not big deal. It’s just food… She knew the receipt from her mother and since then she cooked this dish.
Then I asked him:
- Are you serious?
- And you never make your wife compliments? Even for a delicious meal?
But it is so easy to tell someone a few kind words! Why do you ignore your wife’s efforts? She may buy new clothes or have her hair cut, but you do not notice this. You are not interested in it. She asks: “Do you like my new hair style?” And the husband replies: “Is it really different from what it looked like before?” He does not pay attention to his wife, he does not honor her. Thus we get the lack of gratitude. Sometimes the spouses complain about each other too much. They do this because of the thoughts which are deceptive. If you manage to understand, that your family is a God’s gift, then you notice this fraud inside yourself.
To be honest, I am always surprised with the couples, who live in harmony after the marriage. By this I mean that they have their ups and downs, they can quarrel but they always find the decision and make it up with each other. They are fighting and love each other on the same time. It is good, because during the quarrel people learn more about each other. When we swear we say to each other the words which are unpleasant to us. We get free and become who we really are. But we must look at women as those, who really like to tell pleasant and kind words.
- Do you speak to your husband in the same manner? I guess if he hears such words from you, perhaps, he will give his life for you.
- Don’t say that, father. He is not you.
- Really? I see, you don’t speak to him in the same way…
Another time I was talking to the churchwoman. I sighed and said:
- I’d love to eat a spinach pie!
Next day she brought me five pies made by different women. So I asked her:
- But what if your husband asked for something delicious to eat? Would you do the same?
- No, father. You are the servant of God.
- Is he not? Hasn’t your marriage been blessed by the Church? Are you not bound to your husband after that? Then why do you say he is not the servant of God? You must consider him to be the servant of God and be ready to give your life for him. And then we will be as well. Then it will be great!
The newlyweds invited me once. They have a refrigerator with the door covered with different stickers like “Dear, love you”, “You are my love” and so on. I asked who did that. The young husband answered, that it was his wife’s idea. What do we need this for? It serves to remind us, that we are not alone, that there is someone who loves us. And when we spell out such words, then we get mutual understanding.
That is why it is great to watch a film together and then discuss it. Or if you can go out somewhere for several days. You have no money? Then find it! Because otherwise you will have to save up for a lawyer. Their service costs much more. Otherwise we suffer from excess: we begin to lose our temper, our family life becomes routine, and certain problems emerge. You have married not for this. We deserve a better life. And that is why we should learn to thank God for the gifts He sends us. The husband is a gift for the wife, and the wife is a gift for the husband. Let us relish the God’s gift, and then our life become far more pleasant.
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