Marriage in the Orthodox Church

It is not just the difficulties involved in the choosing and adjusting to the right mate, that couples are facing in today's marriage. There are many additional problems, chiefly among them are:

1   "Playing Games" with Marriage, (i.e. trying to make it more compatible with the age in which we live).

Society has come up with:-
Living together 'marriage'.
Trial 'marriage' (ie. if it does not work, forget it).
Communal 'marriage' (ie. wife swapping)
Open 'marriage' (ie. where mates pursue their own self-centred interests)

Great harm is done to those who are involved in these difficult forms of 'marriage'. The bottom line is when marriage goes, what remains is just simply sex for its own sake, expressed and exploited, which become perverse and disillusioning. It ends up with the confession of the Playboy magazine, "We took what we wanted until we hated what we took".

The revolution against the institution of marriage is born of the modern craving for instant gratification. We want everything right now, instant coffee, instant sex, no economic strings attached, no emotional strings, no spiritual strings, and no intellectual strings.

They want no strings of commitment, permanency, loyalty, strings that challenge us and call forth the best of our love, patience and understanding, strings that actually strengthen the relationship and help it grow.

2   A Piece of Paper

Some couples will say, "Who needs a piece of paper? We have each other! Who needs the ritual? A Document? It is just a piece of paper. Well the deed of your house, your passport, your driver's licence, your college certificate are all pieces of paper. But you better not lose them.

The marriage licence unites two people to each other in love. It means commitment. It means sacrifice, it means caring enough to tie a mate, legally to the one love. It means protecting the relationship, the children, the property and the spouse. It means a specific kind of self-giving love ie."agape". For the orthodox faithful, marriage is more than just a piece of paper. It is a Sacrament. It is a God blessing of your love!! "Without me you can do nothing" Jesus said. With God, love is perfected, completed, transfigured, sanctified, blessed, resurrected, and ultimately saved.

This does not mean that having a church marriage will automatically guarantee a successful marriage. But it does mean that the opportunity is now given in Christ for the completion and the perfection of our love. It means we have invited the Lord Jesus to enter this all important relationship, to redeem it, to give the couple the grace and the power to be patient when it is so easy to be impatient, to be loving when it is so easy to be unloving, to be kind and understanding. For all of these and others we need His grace, His presence, His love, and His power.

We hold the glorious ideal that the two persons, choosing to become one flesh and one spirit in Christ, will take each other for better and worse, and forsaking all others, continuing to grow together.

Go down the road of life towards the horizon, and Jesus who stands behind you, will provide the companionship and blessing you need.

Metropolitan Paul Saliba

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