Archimandrite Andrew (Konanos) advises on how to learn to live a fuller marriage.
I met a family one day. One of the spouses said, “I envy you, Father! I admire you for your resolution in leaving everything behind and becoming the person you are. I wish we all were like you.” That’s a weird kind of logic, isn’t it? Why would you want to become like me? What is that I do but you cannot do? They normally talk about marital abstinence. If you come to think about it, married people can do everything else.
No one prevents you from doing anything that a single person can do. Do you admire his prayer? You can pray, too. Just turn off your TV and pray. What do you admire? Why are you so envious? Are all Christian couples like that? Of course not. I’ve met many successful couples who enjoy their life and follow their chosen path because they are happy together. When you are happy doing what you do, you don’t envy anyone or anything. You simply say, “That’s the road that I’ve chosen. I’ve got to go down that road.” There isn’t a better or worse way.
Every person paves his or her own way to happiness and salvation. You are most likely married. I say so because more than ninety percent of people have families. Live like a regular family person. Live your family life as fully as possible so as not to make a monastery out of your family because you should be aware that if you do so, you hurt your loved one and make them sad.
I advise you to pay more attention to your loved one. Don’t pretend that you’re ignorant. Stop using your constant headaches and “ah, I can’t, I’m tired, I’m literally exhausted” as an excuse. You keep changing the topic all the time. You’re entitled to avoiding a conversation. You know, if there’s a problem, you’ve got to be looking for ways to solve it.
Ask yourself this question: What is happening with me? Why do I torment myself and deny a source of peace, joy, and pleasure that God has given me out of his great love and mercy? Why do I throw this big and impressive God’s gift away? Why do I hurt my loved one, too? It isn’t me who can decide single-handedly and say, “I don’t want it.” You may not want it but your spouse does – and you don’t care, do you?
I wish you to take successful steps. By successful I mean steps towards unity, love, and marital consummation. May it bring you a lot of delight, peace, joy, and make you praise the Creator who is also present in your marriage. I assure you that He blesses it and is happy that you do it. Enjoy your love! If you’re a monk or single, enjoy God’s love. God is love and He dwells in your heart!
Fragment of “Marriage Has Its Problems…” by the Very Rev. Andrew (Konanos)
Translated from Modern Greek by Sergey Rudko
Translated into English by The Catalog of Good Deeds