Words of the recently reposed Elder Joseph of the Vatopedion Monastery:
“….Now then, today I am forced to speak about this matter also; it is a somewhat daring endeavour, but necessity has caused me to bring up the subject, when every day I hear men say “my wife is like this….my wife is like that….all women are devils…”.
So, I ask: “Excuse me dear fellow, but this woman you are referring to – weren’t you the one that married her?”
“Well then, when you married her, didn’t you find every love, tenderness and happiness in her person?”
“So, why have you changed now? She is the same person. Both when you married her, and now. Can you see that you are to blame?”
I met an elderly couple some years ago – quite elderly, in their eighties – who had so much bitterness between them that, if it were possible, they would kill each other. I felt sorry for them; I sat down next to them and began to search deeper and discovered that they had reached that point out of ignorance. They had no idea what Christianity was, or anything about morality – nothing whatsoever. When I sat down to talk to them, I saw that they were quite receptive and they would pay attention to whatever I told them…. Well ! After trying to briefly show them that mankind is descended from God and that it has eternity inside it, and that we will not be in this world forever, and that conjugality is not dissolved here but continues into eternity, they were both moved and they accepted all that they heard. I left them, and after some time, they sent me a letter in which they said: “Dear Elder, it is as though we are reliving the first month of our marriage…..” Imagine that – those who were ready to kill, to slaughter each other…. Can you see the evidence now?
I will tell you of another character, of a proper husband; one that we rarely encounter in our day. But we did encounter one such person. He was in every way a perfect character – a Christian, and a completely social sort of person. He married late, almost thirty years old, not because he was averse to marriage, but because he thought that was how it should be. So he said his prayers with faith, and found himself a young girl and married her. The girl was young – ten years younger than him. Soon after he married her, she began to get into mischief. He pretended not to notice; he regarded her as his daughter and himself as her father. However, they had important business interests overseas and they had to go there, even if only temporarily. So he took her and they went abroad. When they arrived, she became very obstinate, and would say to herself: “He did this on purpose, to estrange me from my environment. I will desert him.” So she just up and left him. She came back to Greece, and where do you think she went? To one of those “casino” places, and began to live the life of a free woman – one who is paid…”
The husband however, from the day that she left him, never stopped praying with tears and insisting – in fact extorting God: “Benevolent One, I will not retreat, I will not leave you alone; You were the One who gave me my wife. “By God is a woman suited to a man” (according to the Bible). I want my wife. If the young girl has strayed, must she be lost? Why did You come down to earth? Didn’t You come to find the lost ones, to heal the sick, to resurrect the dead? I will not budge. I will not let You rest. I want my wife. Bring her back to me.” He wept for two whole years.
His prayer was eventually heard and the young woman came to her senses. “Oh dear,” she confessed, “God will have to create another Hell, because this one is too small for me!”
So she sat down and wrote him a letter, saying: “I dare not address you; I have no such right. If I return, will you accept me as your servant?”
He replied: “My love, why did you mention that word and hurt my feelings? Wasn’t it me who sent you on a vacation and was waiting for my love to return, to my wide open arms?”
So, he went and waited for her at the airport, as they had arranged. When she arrived, she fell down and began to beat herself and cry. He took her in his arms.
“My love, why are you doing this and hurting my feelings? I was longing to see you again. Let’s go home now; we never parted – I was always with you.”
That young girl turned out to be a faithful wife after this….
And that is the stance that a man – a husband – should take. If husbands are like that one, then show me what woman is bad?”