In marriage love is necessary for a reason more justified than any other. The reason is the nature of the woman, fruit of love (she was created from Adam`s rib and the rib is near the heart) who is not complete if she misses love. The woman spreads love out of her maternity, asking to be loved in return as long as by her nature and position (of mother and wife) she loves.
The history and order of things attest the fact that the husbands want to succeed in their attempt to live in harmony and normality, between them it must exist love all the time, especially from the man for his woman. Christ did this thing too. He sacrificed Himself to make it be glorified.
Saint John Chrysostom this great hierarch calls the man to show love to his wife all the time and all his toil and efforts have a single purpose: to make her happy.
This thing unfortunately is missing very much today and the consequences are disastrous. The meaning and the nature of the union were forged under the influence of the European chaos which has no respect for what belongs to the human personality, or for the spiritual and moral values our ancestors preserved by sacrifices.
Because the multiplication of men is made by lawful union, the devil, the open enemy of the man, tries furiously to break the habits and the bond of love and unity.
The great value of marriage must not be rejected by living a guilty and abnormal life so that we won’t be as the old apostates of the moral values disinherited by God: `my Spirit won’t remain in these men because they are only flesh. (Genesis 6,3) And He gave the deluge for punishing apostasy.
To ease the accomplishment of this role the husband should be for the wife depending on circumstances sometimes father, other times brother or friend and always her man. If he does this thing, his wife will show him a peaceful and harmonious attitude, she being many times kinder and more generous but other times when facing some insignificant events gets discouraged and is afraid.
The husband’s proofs of love are not exaggerated or false because only in a lawful marriage the real authentic love may be manifested since the man and the woman become a single body. Any other proof of tenderness and sympathy is not equivalent with being body in the lawful marriage from which it appears the spring of human life.
Even the name of the female gender requires the exercise of completion by the man`s love, this being a main reason of jealousy, feeling that is in excess at the woman. The best way to chase away the woman’s jealousy is the real authentic manifestation of man`s love towards his wife.
In the general altered situation caused by man`s estrangement of God it is impossible not to have temptations. (Luke 17,1) It is required much attention for keeping the bond of marriage. We should quit temptations because they cause the misunderstandings. We recommend especially to the man who is head to be loyal to his love and bond with his wife, because the devil and his servants will not stop to war them for harming the root of life itself.
An example of real comfort and support in the difficult moments, given by our elders and which addresses to both husbands is this : `Don’t ever forget the first week from your marriage.` You are both as you were then. Nothing separates you.
I recommend to the men: `live wisely with your women since they are weak creatures (1Pt.3,7).
This means that the estrangement of the woman heals through love and delicacy not through rebukes and anger. Don`t criticize your wife when she makes a mistake especially in time of temptation and dispute. Fulfill the word of David :
`And I as a deaf did not hear and as a dumb who does not open his mouth.`
Later when you are alone, without the children – if there are any – embrace your wife tenderly and tell her : `My dear, don`t you know how much I love you ?` I want you to be an honorable woman. What you have done is not for your honor.` Only then she will accept her mistake and she will truly ask for forgiveness. These things are gained through experience. If you rebuke her when she makes a mistake she will become stubborn, will answer back, will get upset, will use all kinds of pretexts and lies. Wisdom prevails if it is used the remedy of love.
From our studies from what we heard and saw I drew the conclusion that the greatest responsibility for any bad thing which occurs in a marriage belongs to the men because they don`t show their love for their wives. They love the women but unfortunately not their own. This is the root of evil. Then there are stirred jealousy and doubt – with the well known consequences, especially when those around them agree that something is going on.
The meaningful counsels `tolerate and you will be tolerated` and `accept one another` must be steadily followed for having a normal marriage. The men have many mistakes and severity. Usually the lack of attention and the moral concessions- which are in excess in our times – abound. If something similar happened with the woman the revenges and punishments would be countless. The love for the wife is completely justified because the only person who will always stand by the man’s side is his wife, all the others around him will gradually disappear but the marriage of the pious husbands will continue in the hereafter.
Source: Gérontos Iosíf Vatopaidinoú, «Syzitíseis ston Áthona», Psyhofelí Vatopaidiná 13, p. 141-164.