Monday, November 19, 2012

Life of an Orthodox Husband

What? Have I not written on this subject yet? Well here is my attempt to explain a few more things in my life as an Orthodox Christian...
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.
One thing I do regret is how much I annoyed my wife with Orthodoxy. It was all I would talk about for a while and I'm sure she put off joining the Church just to spite me. No, really, I was very annoying. I guess she couldn't understand my zeal for finally finding the true Church and everything was so crazy for her as I had just returned from my first deployment. I think it was a bit too much for her to take in at one time. I also regret that I did not really talk to my wife very much about my decision, and instead of taking it slow I just jumped right in leaving her behind. In essence I was leaving my wife alone after she had just spent a year away from me. Yeah, I suck.

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.
That also means that I have to stand up and be a godly man for my wife. It is on me to lead my family in the way that they should go, but that does not mean that I lord my position over them. Contrariwise, I need to see my wife as she is, as my helper; I need to let her help me in the running of the household - which means actually listening to her input for our family - instead of trying to do everything by myself. 

Pictured: Helpmeet Helena
Eventually, my wife did join the Orthodox Church. It was one of many times that I was proud of her. Now, I'm pretty sure that she knows more about Orthodoxy than I do seeing as how she works for one of our priests and he has tons of books on Orthodoxy and emails bishops and metropolitans on the daily. Again, I am very proud of her because she has proven to be such an amazing woman, a loving wife, a caring mother, and a wonderful helpmeet. I truly believe that there is nothing that my wife can not accomplish (within human means), because she has shown me that she will never stop. Ever.

Not the day I proposed, but close enough.
This all brings me back to November 3rd, 2005 when, after my AIT graduation, I dropped down on one knee and proposed to who was my current girlfriend. I know some people thought it was a mistake as I was 19 and she was 17 - we were so young, there was no way we knew what we wanted - but I was sure that this young woman was who I was meant to be with for all eternity (even back in our Protestant days we said death would never separate us, a pleasant surprise to us when we found out that no such sentiment exists in Orthodoxy). Now, after six and a half years of marriage I could never be prouder of my wife and the direction she has taken. I still love her so much, and still find myself just staring at the beauty who shares the same house as me. 

Have I mentioned that I love my wife?
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