Monday, June 8, 2009

St. John Chrysostom - On Marriage and Family Life

St. John Chrysostom is one of my favorite writers on the subject of marriage and family life. His homilies are simple, straightforward, very compassionate, and warm. Even though he lived in the 4th century, (347-407)his words have great meaning for today. People have changed a lot. Our society has changed a lot. However, there are certain human qualities that never really change very much. Things like love, self-sacrifice, devotion, service, submission, obedience, and more still speak to us. Many of the struggles that marriages face now were very similar in Chrysostom's time.

Here are some quotes from one of his homilies. I believe that his teachings on marriage and family are very Scriptural. I also believe that what is today called "Complementarianism" is close to St. John's teachings.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church. (Ephesians 5:25).
1. "You have seen the amount of obedience necessary. Do you want your wife to be obedient to you, as the Church is to Christ? Then be responsible for the same providential care of her, as Christ is for the Church. And even if it becomes necessary for you to give your life for her, yes, and even to endure and undergo suffering of any kind, do not refuse."

2. "Even if you see her belittling you, or despising and mocking you, still you will be able to subject her to yourself, through affection, kindness, and your great regard for her. There is no influence more powerful than the bond of love, especially for husband and wife . . . . Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies (v. 28)."

3. "So if you think that the wife is the loser because she is told to fear her husband, remember that the principal duty of love is assigned to the husband, and you will see that it is her gain. "And what if my wife refuses to obey me?" a husband will ask. Never mind! Your obligation is to love her; do your duty!"

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