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MARRIAGE and DIVORCE




THE DIFFICULTIES OF MARRIAGE

The life of virginity cannot be attained if you have put your foot in the path of a worldly life.  And so the married can only become spectators of the beauty belonging to others and mere witnesses to the blessedness of  others.  And so we become like cooks of a great dish but do not partake of the banquet (St. Gregory of Nyssa was a saintly bishop who was a married man.)  And so blessed are they, already, who have no obstacle to the enjoyment of virginity.  

When a man living in poverty sees the wealth of the rich, he becomes troubled and is annoyed by his poverty.  And so when a married man sees the beauty of virginity, he becomes distressed by his married state. . .because of what is in store for virgins, not only here but also in the afterlife.  

Man is willingly ignorant of the circumstances in which he exists; and so many things escape his notice.  Truly, what is chiefly sought after in marriage is the joy of living with someone.  Add to this having good children, sufficient wealth, harmony in age, youthful vigor, much affection and sweet rivalry in subduing one's own will in love.  Add glory, power, renown, which naturally arouses envy and hatred in others.  And so a "seemingly" happy life becomes an object of suspicion and brings us more grief than pleasure.  In the world, it is impossible to "seem" happy and escape envy.  

The continuous expectation of death and uncertainty of the future make all men live frightening and unhappy lives, dissipating any present joys.  When the bridegroom looks upon the face of the beloved, the fear of separation immediately comes over him; while he listens to her sweet voice, he knows one day he will not hear it; as he delights at her sight, he shudders at what an accident can do to her body.  How can you be happy with such thoughts?  

This make us distrustful  of life, seeing that the goods of this life are not what they appear to be; that life is deceitfully mocking us who stretch towards it.  Reversals show the instability of the world and the truth about successes.  And so "enjoyment" of worldly things go by unenjoyed.  

When a child is born, we cannot rejoice because the child and mother are both in danger of death.  And, if not one dies, there is now the fear of both suffering misfortunes in the future, or bad upbringing for the child or unwished for casualty or mutilation.  

The fears of the wife, dangers of pregnancy, risk of child-birth, toil of educating the child, the heartbreaks caused by the growing teenager, are all multiplied with the growing number of children.  

And since the wife is dependent on the husband as head, she feels headless if he is separated from her even for a short time.  And she is haunted by premonitions of widowhood or infidelity.  To distract herself, she indulges in excessive gossip where her mind is kept away from pleasant matters and dwells in morbid topics.  These are the sad things inherent in the married state.

St. Gregory of Nyssa: "On Virginity"

 

 

 

(10-21-04)

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