Despite the widespread opinion in the world today, Christian Orthodox spiritual advisers have learned from their spiritual children that it is in a woman’s nature to need constant support from the man. That is why the man has a greater responsibility for the working of the marriage. Most often, he doesn’t realize this and doesn’t fully understand feminine psychology. And this can turn into a real source of frustration and problems. Archimandrite Ephraim of the Vatopaidi Monastery tells husbands to assume their greater share of responsibility for the well-functioning of their marriage, becoming real leaders of their family according to Christ’s model of loving humility. Here is some advice for husbands from this holy man living on Mount Athos:
1. If you are already married, all you can do is follow the next 10 guidelines below. But, if you haven’t done it yet, the first thing you two should discuss is your faith. Is the girl you are dating a believer, does she go to the church? If you don’t meet on spiritual ground, in your faith, then your marriage may not last.
2. In a marriage, love must flow especially from the man towards the woman. This is what Christ has done with His Church, He gave Himself to glorify it.
3. Man should ceaselessly show his love to his wife and prove her that all his labor is designed to make her happy.
4. According to circumstances, the husband has to be sometimes a father, some other times a brother and on certain occasions a friend for his wife – and always her man. If he can do it, his wife’s attitude will be balanced and unfazed. Because most of the times she is benevolent and sacrificial, but sometimes she can also be discouraged or fearful when faced with unimportant events.
5. The man, as a family leader, should not betray his love for his wife and his bond with her, because the devil and its servants will ceaselessly wage war on them, thus dealing blows to the very foundation of life.
6. As men, you should „show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honor to the woman as the weaker sex” (1Pt. 3,7). This means the woman’s alienation can be healed through love and gentleness, not through reprimands and anger.
7. A woman’s nature is so weak that, as soon as she sees her husband show any degree of kindness to another woman – be it his co-worker or friend –, her heart is immediately filled with envy. This is not due to a sinful predisposition, but to the love she has for her husband. That is why the husband must tenderly find the “trigger” to tame his wife.
8. After giving birth to the first baby, the woman is not looking so much for her husband’s sexual role, but for his tenderness and affection. The husband must know this and be tender to his wife.
9. The husband must never rebuke his wife in front of others. Often, out of selfishness, husbands criticize their wives especially in the presence of their own relatives.
10. If the wife calls her husband at the office, he should not answer her in a hasty tough tone: “Leave me alone, I have no time now!”. He should simply tell her: “Honey, I’ve got some work to do, but I’ll call you later”. When the wife understands and is convinced that her husband loves her, she will willingly set herself at his feet, ready for any sacrifice.
11. Don’t hide anything from your wife, because you will be discovered sooner or later. Tell her everything and consult with her in everything. It’s not good that the wife find out your secrets from relatives, colleagues or friends.
If the woman cannot feel her husband’s tenderness, the emptiness in her heart can be filled neither with her parents’ love, nor with her own children’s love. So deep is the mystery of marriage, that not even her own children’s love can replace the emptiness left in a woman’s heart by her husband’s lack of affection!
Therefore, because they don’t show their love for their wives, men have the greatest responsibility for all bad things that may occur in a marriage. They love women, but, unfortunately, not their own ones. This is the root of all evil. This is how jealousy and suspicion appear.
From the book “Mărturie athonită în România” (“Athonite Testimonials in Romania”), by Archimandrite Ephraim of Vatopaidi, Mount Athos, published by the Holy Monastery Vatopaidi in 2004