First, I want to start off by saying how proud of my wife that I am. Seriously, freaking proud. She is continuing her education and is only month away from receiving her degree, not to mention that she will be spending two weeks in China as part of her program thingy. Also, she does all of this whilst taking care of our house and our daughter while I'm out doing what I call work and she works for one of our priests part time and she is trying to start her own business by making and selling home made cleaning products.
Second, I would like to apologize to my wife for her having to put up with me - especially during my journey to Orthodoxy. I know I am terrible to put up with a lot because I try to have fun in everything I do, and my wife is usually serious. In other words I annoy the hell out of my wife, and sometimes I do it on purpose, but mostly I don't realize that I am doing it. I'm sorry.
Now then... I am very grateful to have my wife by my side, through thick and thin, although we have had some major bumps in the road. I thank God - and her - that we have been able to mend our relationship every time. And of course with each obstacle we have and that we over come we learn an important lesson.
One of the most important lessons that I have learned is that communication is key. Think about it, your spiritual life grows the more you talk with God so why wouldn't your marriage grow when you talk with your wife? It is essential that we talk with our wives, that includes listening to them. It is also important to let them know how we feel about certain things. Don't like to talk and get all emotional? Get over it, you're one flesh now, bub.
Another important thing is compromise. Even though you may be one flesh now you are still two different people that came from different backgrounds. Neither of you are always going to get your way. If you don't compromise a little then you could end up miserable in your marriage. Honestly, please try to work with your wife to make your home happy and peaceful. This doesn't mean giving in to her every wish and desire but facing the reality that you are not perfect and you will not always know quite what is in her best interest.
|The look of martyrs|
Let me put it this way; marriage, in the Orthodox Church, is seen as a type of martyrdom... No seriously, it is. It is a constant struggle between both parties involved to make the relationship last and in a Christian marriage both parties need to help the other in their relationship with God. In any marriage both parties need to help the other in making their personal relationship with each other thrive.
That leads me to the most important thing that I have learned; you can't go it alone. Trust me on this one. You need to make God central in your life. That means prayer and going to church. I will always stress prayer and attending church. In prayer we open ourselves to the influence of the Holy Spirit and we communicate to God as a group instead of as an individual. In church we can get the support we need from our fellow parishioners and our priests to include their interceding on our behalf. It helps when you have other people looking out for you and praying for you.
|The look of crazy, yes I'm wearing a kilt.|
Luckily, we got through that hiccup and we were much stronger for it. It still took some time, but I tried my best to not annoy my wife as much and I tried to explain to her what was going on at our church and answer her many questions. It also took time for me to realize that my role as head of the house was not to strictly enforce my law, but to lead my family into a godly life by following His laws. And that I am responsible for my wife's salvation and she for mine. That's right, it is on me to treat her right if I want her help in obtaining theosis.
|she helps with the crazy, too.|
|Pictured: Helpmeet Helena|
|Not the day I proposed, but close enough.|
Have I mentioned that I love my wife?