This Woman You Gave Me

One of the pleasures of hosting this blog is the intellectual stimulation that I, your humble host, receives. And so it as present, the issue at hand being the Patriarchy.

As you know, there has been much back-and-forth on this issue. Personally, I don’t have the wherewithal to comment on this. Fortunately, Michael Bauman, one of our more frequent contributors, does.

And so, without further ado, I present to you an excellent essay from Michael. Enjoy!


Michael Bauman


Basic odds for winning at craps 1:7 or about 11%.  Even the statistics on third marriages are better than that.

Here is what most people reject: becoming one (again) with their spouse. We were one in the beginning but “it is not good for man to dwell alone” Genesis 2:18.

That is God’s plan. St. Paul’s wish in Corinthians is a lesser good, as he himself wrote in Ephesians 5:28.

Woman is meant to be helper and companion under man’s headship. Bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. That headship is valid only as long as man is submitting to God. It is not a right but a God given responsibility whose authority and the fruits thereof must always be offered back to Him in thanksgiving. Their is a deep mystery here.

We men have struggled with that ever since Adam said probably the most arrogant thing ever “… this woman you gave me…”

Today’s law reflects the hardness of our hearts because law is always a trailing indicator. It does not cause anything.

My home state, Kansas, was the one of the first states to give women property rights and the first state to elect a woman mayor in Argonia. Frontier states had a very good reason to legally vest property rights in women. Men died sooner and the wife and children were often left behind on the farm/ranch that was their livelihood and they worked. It violated good social order to not legally protect the homestead for the family when the man died.

The frontier also meant that it was not always possible for marriages to be officiated and recorded. Therefore Kansas’ marriage law became quite simple: Any man and woman who wish to be married and are of legal age with no other encumbrances , (like another spouse) can be and are married if they agree to be and hold themselves out as being married. Divorce is a division of property (which, unfortunately, includes children). These laws reflected the difficulties and challenges of living on the sparsely populated plains. In the world marriage is a property contract and always has been.

The understanding of marriage in the Church has grown over the years using the twin Scriptural admonitions of Genesis and St. Paul (and others) as guides.
St. Paul has never been the final word on the subject because following him strictly means violating the specifically declared will of God as He created us. AND having no children.

There is also a vast difference between a life in chaste holy solitude and being a misanthropic troglodyte. Men who hate women or wish to subjugate them hate themselves and deny themselves the joy, freedom and fecundity of a properly ordered marriage in Christ. That is not headship. Nor is it a proper foundation for a life of chastity which is what Ephesians 5:28 declares

Community is the fundamental will of God for His people. Hierarchical community that is in the world, but not of it. Recognition of the natural hierarchy and its responsibility, mutual respect, humility, repentance and forgiveness are the cornerstones just as they are in the smaller community of marriage. In such a marriage the fecundity produced by the natural synergy between men and women can blossom and expand beyond the children born. It will enrich everyone. A high and difficult calling in which I fail daily. It is impossible if I reject my headship and rail in futile arrogance against “the woman God gave me” and the hard heartedness of the world’s laws.

The laws and strictures of the so called patriarchal marriage are, at best, a faint secular shadow of the real thing. Unless one is a Muslim.

The life of one called to holy chastity is a different path altogether. There the marriage is with God and Him alone. That too has a special place in the Christian community and also has great fecundity inherent in it.

The parasites of the world (including the law) the flesh and the devil attack both and can rob either of the their life and offspring. We are called to a higher standard on that battlefield.

Lord have mercy on us and save us, we sink.


  1. Looks like I struck a nerve.
    All of that is fine and dandy.  Sounds decisive to me.  Yet, . . .
    Where did God say that marriage is a partnership?  Where did He say that the man does not rule?  Does anyone doubt that male authority was exercised up until the 20th century with the Church’s blessing, including any necessary coercion to keep order?
    Why are we even debating the evil of feminism and the good of the patriarchy?  Can you actually hear yourselves?  High divorce rates, men giving up on marriage, abortion, “equality”, cycles of poverty and violence coming from single parent homes and the 40% of all births and 70% of black births that are outside of wedlock – that is the legacy of feminism and the rejection of the patriarchy.

    The real problem is that these things do not touch you in your bubble.

    I do not suffer fools lightly.  You know the truth.  You just can’t face it.
    And that’s my last word on it, at least for now.  We’re getting nowhere and it is foolish of me to try to teach pigs to sing.

    PS: Michael, you shouldn’t have written this:

    “Divorce is a division of property (which, unfortunately, includes children).”

    Children are not property nor were they considered property in earlier law unless they were the children of slaves. That is a denigration of children in a culture that sees no problem with killing the unborn and pushing the envelope on infanticide.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Here is a link to the Orthodox sacrament of marriage.  I is full of amazing images and blessings. It transforms as it blesses.  It makes one what was two.  It is clearly a hierarchical union but a union nonetheless and therefore a partnership that includes God, the man and the woman. An icon of the Holy Trinity in which there is no coercion.  Indeed each is asked if they are entering into the union with a free and unconstrained will.  In love.  There is no coercion in love.
      Even God asked permission of Mary to become the Theotokos.    

    • Michael Bauman says

      Misha says:
      PS: Michael, you shouldn’t have written this:
      “Divorce is a division of property (which, unfortunately, includes children).”
      Children are not property nor were they considered property in earlier law unless they were the children of slaves. That is a denigration of children in a culture that sees no problem with killing the unborn and pushing the envelope on infanticide.
      Should I not write what is true?  What I wrote is the way the basic Kansas law is written. I actually agree with you that such a treatment of children does denigrate children and leads to infanticide.  But this section of Kansas statues is not really hard to read and understand.  It is a hold over from the frontier days.  It is in pretty plain English. 
      I used to be in the health insurance business.  Most group health insurance carriers in Kansas would not include domestic partners (there is he nasty word again) on group insurance unless an affidavit was signed that, in Kansas, legally married them the employee and their live-in girl friend (always it was the man requesting it BTW).  That also subjected them to the legalities of divorce if they split.  I was ethically and morally bound to inform the people requesting the coverage of the consequences of signing the affidavit.   Few over the years signed it after they learned that. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      False choice between “partnership” and “headship”.  Of course the man, being physically bigger and unencumbered by his anatomy (i.e. 9 months of pregnancy and 2-3 years of nursing, repeat every 2 years) by definition has to lead.  It’s he who hunts  (if the couple are hunter-gatherers) or pushes a plow (farming). That’s where 90% of caloric intake comes from.  

      That doesn’t mean that they aren’t “partners”. They most definitely are. Both man and woman are priest and priestess of their household, offering each other’s talents, resources (and yes, bodies) as stewards of creation.  He can’t nurture a child (much less bring it into the world) without the woman’s help.   The woman takes the earnings/proceeds/prey and makes a meal/clothing/covers.  It’s pretty much 50/50 if you ask me. 

      That doesn’t mean that the icon of marriage hasn’t been “distorted”. It most certainly has. I completely agree with you on that point. Short of an EMP bomb going off and frying all electronic circuits and sending us back to life as it was from the beginning to 1850, I don’t see any reordering. (I suppose if the Moslems take over and institute some type of Sharia law here in America [thanks to the soyification of the American male/butchification of the American female this could happen within our lifetime]).

      • Michael Bauman says

        George, I do not agree that the icon of marriage has been distorted. Our willingness to enter into it is truncated though.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Neither do I.

        • Since it was I who first used the word “distorted” in this conversation by stating that the icon of marriage has been distorted, an explanation would seem to be in order.  I both agree and disagree with those who have said that the icon of marriage is not distorted.  It depends very much on whether we are discussing marriage as it has always been understood in the Church or marriage in the world.  Michael Bauman probably said it best when he used the word “truncated” by which I understood him to mean a reduction of the meaning of marriage (in the minds of many) to the point of it becoming something almost unrecognizable in terms of how marriage has been always been understood in the Christian world from the beginning – that which makes marriage capable of being an icon.
          What follows are excerpts from a rebuttal to an article in The WORD, a magazine of the Antiochian archdiocese, that was written by the then (and now thoroughly confirmed) heretic, Maria Gwyn McDowell, who not very long after her article was published chose to marry her lesbian lover.  Enough said about that.  Ms. McDowell’s article was entitled The Newness of the Spirit: the ordination of men and women, The WORD, Volume 48, No. 5 May 2004.  Many in the Antiochian Archdiocese will well remember this article, as it elicited a strong and thoroughly justified negative response from the faithful.  Her article (on the surface anyway) had nothing to do with marriage.  Its primary purpose was to argue for a female diaconate (equal to that of the male diaconate) and, by extension, women in the priesthood as well.  The reason I choose to quote from sections the rebuttal to this particular article is that it highlights more precisely my meaning in saying that the icon of marriage has been distorted.  I do not mean that all marriages are distorted or lack the capacity to be a true icon.   Of course they can and in many cases do.  I refer rather to the egalitarian distortions our society has come to accept as normative and, as it were, ‘standard-bearing’ in terms of the understanding of ourselves as male and female.
          Quoting now from the rebuttal…
          “The only ‘discussion’ in which the Church should involve herself with regard to this issue is an explanation of the ground of her practice, an apologetic for the sake of the salvation of those who may not understand it.  Clearly this is something we have failed to do, secure in our tradition, often without having a grasp of it ourselves…  We must be gentle.  We must strive to be understanding and empathetic – not sympathetic – toward those who have been victims of legalistic male domination as opposed to loving headship.  We must confess our sin and repent if necessary.  But we must not compromise the truth.  We must follow the example of the Apostle Paul when he addressed this issue for the Church at Corinth:
          Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you…(and after giving his instruction about men and women along with the reason behind it, he continues)…but if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor do the churches of God.”
          “Our generation has become so enamored of our own reason and ‘enlightenment’ that we dare to pass judgment on the so-called ‘patriarchal’ mindset of the Apostles and the Apostolic Fathers who were the foundation and inheritors of the Holy Tradition.  We do not share their holiness of mind primarily because we do not believe the Faith they proclaimed – a Faith based not on human reason, but on the revelation of God.
          “The arguments set forth by Ms. McDowell are the same ‘tried and true’ (in the sense that they have been effective) arguments of all those apostate rationalistic ‘Christian’ organizations who have now ‘progressed’ toward homosexual marriage.  If we are inclined to scoff at the possibility of this abomination occurring among Orthodox it is because we fail to see that there is a direct link between the two issues.  [Note:  This was written decades prior to the advent of so-called ‘Orthodox’ voices such as Fr. Robert Arida and the like].   This failure to understand the link is a consequence of removing the foundation of an Apostolic and Patristic understanding of anthropology and soteriology.
          “If we are to believe the very true statement of the Apostle Paul that in Christ “there is neither male nor female,” shall we then also feel free to disbelieve his other statements and injunctions?   This same Apostle also wrote that he did not “suffer a woman to teach or have authority over a man…” And lest we understand this as merely his personal opinion, he added the reason (so abhorrent to the modern mind, wrapped up as it is in denial of the truth): “…for Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression.”  What are we to do with passages such as, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God”?  This in itself speaks volumes about our modern notions of equality when it comes to the aspects of authority and headship; for we know that the Son is equal to the Father in His deity, yet He, too submits in love to the divine Headship of the Father. 
          “Shall we ascribe to ignorant patriarchal prejudice the Apostle’s other words concerning men and women?  Even if we edit out the specific words about what many may consider the culturally contextual issue of head covering, we are given a clear picture of the Creator’s design that shaped the mind of the Church:
          “…for he (man) is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of man.  For man is not from the woman, but the woman from man.  Nor was man created for the woman, but the woman for man… Nevertheless, neither is man independent of the woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.  For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.”
          “If one has listened to the hymnology of the Church and studied the Holy Fathers, one knows the  typological link in the mind of the Church between Adam and Christ (man) and Eve and the Theotokos (and in her the Church [woman]).  This typological link is perhaps most clearly expressed when the Apostle Paul speaks of how the Mystery of marriage is inseparably linked to the mystical union of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5):
          …For we are members of his flesh and his bones ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.’  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”
          “It is within the context of the link between Adam and Christ (the last  Adam) and between Eve and the Blessed Virgin Mary (the New Eve, “the mother of all the living”: the Church) that the Church understands the roles unique to male and female.  Thus the passage quoted earlier points us to their very profound and iconic understanding if we consider man and woman in the context of Christ and the Church, for Paul’s words are reflective of the higher truth of their prototype:
          …for Christ is the image and glory of God, but the Theotokos (and, through her, the Church) is the glory of the Christ.  For Christ did not originate from the Theotokos, but the Theotokos from Christ.  Nor was Christ made for the Theotokos, but the Theotokos for Christ … Nevertheless, neither is Christ independent of the Theotokos, nor the Theotokos independent of Christ, in the Lord.  For as the Theotokos came from Christ, even so Christ also was incarnate through her; but all things are from God.
          “We must understand what the Apostles and the God-bearing Fathers of the Church understood about the dignity of men and women.  It is as a man that Adam was created in the image of God and given primary dominion as prophet, priest, and king of creation.  It is as a woman that Eve was fashioned from his own flesh to rule and reign with him – not independent of him.  It is the woman who first fell into sin by being deceived into disbelieving the words of God she had received through her husband (Eve was not yet fashioned when God gave the command first and primarily to the man, Adam).  It is unto Adam, who partook of the tree with willful disobedience and full knowledge of his headship over the woman, that God called saying, “Where art thou [singular]?” for he was the head of humanity and the king of creation. 
          “So also it is as a woman that the Virgin Mary is glorified for believing and assenting to give flesh to the Son of God, and it is as a Man that Christ is become for us Prophet, Priest, and King, thus fulfilling the call of Adam.  Just as it is only through absolute faithfulness to the truth of our created nature that we can be united with God in Christ, so it is only by absolute faithfulness to the natural distinctions God created that we are enabled to transcend them by the grace of our union in Him.  Only in this way can we properly understand the Apostle’s statement that in Christ “there is neither male nor female.”  As His Church (the Woman, the Bride adorned for her husband) we shall rule and reign with Him – not independent of Him.   We are called to be gods by grace.  Like Eve who shared fully in the dignity of her husband but was not equal to him (in the distorted, modern sense of the word which implies equality of authority), we shall in every respect be like Christ who is the image of God and share fully in His dignity; but we shall never be equal to Him.
          “It is imperative to recognize that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has a very practical reason for wanting us to grasp this link between Adam and Eve, the icon of man and woman in Christ and the Church: the salvation of our souls.  In recent centuries there has been an all-out assault on this icon by the Adversary.  He began with using rationalistic theories of so-called ‘science’ to call God’s revelation of our creation into question, convincing many by this fraudulent method of the ignobility of our existence and thereby attempting to distort the image of God in humanity.  Having removed the foundational truth of our creation as male and female from our consciousness, he has effectively undermined the theological basis of anthropology; and this has resulted in the disintegration of marriage and the family –  which is both the living icon that expresses and models the love of Christ and His Church and the foundation of any rightly ordered society.  His strategy is clear: thoroughly distort the icon and thereby make the Gospel virtually incomprehensible to modern minds.   Or to put it more clearly, misrepresent all headship as tyranny and all submission as demeaning or dehumanizing.   Now these same distortions have begun to make inroads in some circles of the Orthodox Church!  But whether these distortions come ‘from below,’ from the realm of this world and its godlessness or ‘from above’ in the realm of so-called theological discourse the result is the same:  a further falling away from the truth of who we are, a further distortion of the meaning of our human existence, and the disintegration (i.e., death) of humanity.
          “Many times throughout the history of the Church she was tempted to try and reconcile the wisdom of this world (human reason) with the truth as revealed by God.   Each time she discovered that such attempts invariably lead to heresies that are irreconcilable with the Gospel revealed to us in Jesus Christ.  It was the Church’s recognition that the Wisdom of God, as revealed to her in Christ and through His holy prophets and Apostles, must be trusted above all human reason that always brought her back to the Christological Apostolic, and Patristic foundations of her Faith.”
          Ceasing now to quote from the rebuttal, I would advise anyone: The next time you are in Church, meditate upon the icons of our Lord and the Holy Theotokos.  There is nothing He has that He has not fully shared with her, save His being divine by nature.  Neither is there anything she has that she has not fully shared with Him.   He, as the image and glory of God, finds joy in honoring her and sharing all things with her, while she, as His greatest love and glory, finds her joy in honoring Him with freely chosen submission to His will    Her head is covered, indicating not only her submission to Him, but His covering of her.  This is the icon of marriage.  Anything short of this is a distortion. 
          None of us, man or woman, measures up to this icon.  But to the degree that we accept marriage to be anything less than this, we actively participate in the distortion of the icon and make it difficult for others to know the love of God and the fullness of joy that comes by submitting ourselves to Him.  Or, to put it more directly, we make it difficult for them to be saved.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Brian, beautiful and wonderfully said.  Thank you. 

          • Michael Bauman says

            Brian, I believe the rebuttal from which yoy quote was written by the long time editor of The Word, Fr. John Abdallah who was consecrated to the Episcopate shortly after his wife reposed and is now His Grace Bishop John. Is my memory correct. 

            • Michael,
              It wasn’t written by Fr./Bp John, though I would have rejoiced if it was.   The rebuttal was received and respectfully acknowledged, but it was never actually published.  The reply from the editor in response to the rebuttal was simple and brief, stating something to the effect that the Antiochian archdiocese had no intention of ordaining women.   
              Ms. McDowell’s article was published at a time when Met. Phillip was fond of saying “men and women are equal,” casually and without providing any context.   Though the danger was evident to many of those reared in America, he may have felt free to say such things because the context from which he spoke was presumably Arab – contrasting long accepted Christian as opposed to Islamic traditions.  I suspect the notion that men and women are ‘equal’ in the modern, progressive sense of the word would be largely foreign to Arab culture and thus (in his mind anyway) may not have required interpretation.
              There is little doubt that some ‘progressive’ elements saw an opening and attempted to seize an opportunity, as they always do.  Whether such an opening was actually offered in order to test the waters remains a question in my mind.  After all, Ms. McDowell’s article was accepted for publication.   But no matter.  The important thing is that it was roundly rejected by the faithful, and no other such openings have been offered since.

              • Michael Bauman says

                I remember voicing my rejection in a short letter to the editor that was not published.  I think I finally figured out Met Philip. He was an old country tribal elder who had an attitude to his flock (tribe) not unlike Misha’s: command and control. He could well have set up McDowell just to cut her head off (metaphorically speaking). 

    • “And that’s my last word on it,
      at least for now.”
      And “No” means “Maybe”…?

    • Hear, hear, brother.  I want to commend your excellent analysis both here and in the original thread.  Unfortunately many people today are feminists, even if they do not think that they are.  This even includes Orthodox Christians, even Orthodox Christians who are conservative and traditional in other ways.  We are now so steeped in feminism that First Wave feminism is considered “traditional” and actual traditional viewpoints are seen as “misogynistic,” “misanthropic,” and even “troglodytic.”
      To elucidate one of your core points in a succinct way:  under traditional laws (i.e. laws throughout the Christian world up until the Industrial Revolution), the man had authority in the marriage both de jure and de facto, due to his right to wield the “scepter” of chastisement, as well as other marital rights and responsibilities. 
      Now all of these rights and privileges are legally reversed, with the woman wielding the “scepter” of the State and its inverted laws.  She has all the power, both de jure and de facto.  In most jurisdictions, she can strip her husband of his rights to his property, his home, his weapons, and worst of all, his children, simply by her word alone.  Indeed, in most jurisdictions, she need not even claim that he struck her, but simply that he made her feel afraid.Thank you for standing for truth in the face of the soul-corrupting, family-destroying, civilization-collapsing, Satanic menace that is feminism.

      • Michael Bauman says

        But Jonathon, these are merely anecdotal stories.  

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Then there is the question of authority, by which I mean personal authority. What is the experience of those who write so critically about marriage, and expound upon rights within marriage, with actual marriage itself?One gets the distinct impression of very unhappy personal experiences with it, which in turn strongly colors their views. But we don’t actually hear this from those with the most jaundiced outlook.
          As for those of us with very long and strong marriages, whose parents and grandparents had long and strong marriages, and whose children in their turn have long and strong marriages, what do we know? Just anecdotes!

    • Feminism is responsible for fatherless homes?  Feminism is affording equal respect to men and women.  “Third wave feminism” is not feminism any more than transgender men are “women.”  
      If you think Christians should be anti-feminists because of fatherless households, I would like to hear your opinion of how Christians should orient themselves towards war.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Michelle Traditional Christianity is not anti-feminist. In fact it was the Holy Spirit which elevated women to full personhood.  If you read the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts the women are counted unlike at the feeding of the 5000. Of course there is also Jesus discourse with the Samaritan woman at the well. 
        Traditional Christianity allows men and women to be fully as we are each created. It is up to each of us to do the work of introspection and behavioral changes to realize  that fullness by His grace and mercy.
        As to war, that question has long been debated in the Church.  There is place in the Church based on Tradition for both those who serve in the military and those who do not from conscience.  
        I refer you to the work of sometime correspondent here Fr. Alexander F.C. Webster for a more complete treatment.
        That being said I think there is a fundamental difference between today’s wars which are ideologically motivated in the service to secular and anti-Christian governments and the more ancient wars.  
        Modern warfare began in earnest with the U.S. Civil War.  Every war since has had dubious to totally no Constitutional foundation.  
        I would certainly hope and pray for an end to the war between the sexes which is wholly the product of human sinfulness. Male and female.  
        When I heard Gloria Steinem speak back in 1973 she appealed to the young men in the audience to support feminism because we would get more sex (she actually said “get f****ed more)  I would say there is a case to be made that feminism indeed laid the philosophical foundation for fatherless households and the increase in male fecklessness. 
        Nevertheless, we can not, like Adam, blame Eve for inducing us to partake of the forbidden fruit that tasted so good. 
        If I a normal, non-religious 25 year old could recognize the fallacy others could have as well. I left that lecture after having been assaulted with a massive number of F Bombs and incredible hubris to never support feminism because I actually like and value women, as did Jesus.
         I still do. 
        That is a really good place to start: learn to genuinely like and value the complimentary sex (there are only two) despite all the things that do not make any sense.

  2. Great response, Michael! Loved the part re: the Frontier. However, you often seem to end your posts on a gloomy note (wish you didn’t this time), and are definitely too hard on yourself. 
    This part really cracked me up: “There is also a vast difference between a life in chaste holy solitude and being a misanthropic troglodyte.” Ouch! Though perhaps a little too harsh, I think it really cuts to the chase. Misha, what exactly are the ends towards which you need to be able to exercise “necessary coercion” and “rule”? Truly, who are you imagining as your prospective life partner in this imaginary scenario? What poor creature needs to lorded over like this, and what sort of satisfaction could one possibly extract out of this kind of dynamic? I love my partner, in part, for the ways in which she challenges me, because it makes me grow. What you’re describing sounds more like a full time job, and an utter bore. For me, managing my employees during the working day is quite exhausting, and when I come home I’m quite content to let somebody else make some of the calls, if not all of them. 

    To conclude, I just want to say this is a big pile on, and you’re doing an admirable job defending yourself Misha! Maybe ease up on the fools and pigs a little…

  3. As I have mentioned here, I’m not interested in playing the marriage game here in the West.  It’s no win situation for me and I have no stomach for it.  As to “misanthropic troglodyte”, that is the type of thing that people say when they are desperate and know they have no case.

  4. Michael Bauman says

    Dan, I am sorry you perceive my closing as gloomy.  It was not gloomy when Jesus saved St Peter.  I sink all the time, Jesus saves me all the time in big things and small.  I started being aware of it in 1968.  18 years later He raised me up again right into the Church.  It is literally the story of my Christian life.  I do not find that gloomy.  Repentance leads to joy.
    What I do find a bit gloomy is that you give Misha props for persistently advancing a false and pernicious understanding of marriage. Consistently articulating the truth is not piling on.
    I have been telling essentially the same story about marriage with a continually deepening understanding and support for it since I began my investigation one evening in Ft. Worth, Tx in 1975.  
    That study has greatly enriched my life and my marriages.  Any view of marriage which allows for and requires  “physical discipline” of one’s wife is without truth and deserves no respect. 
    As for Misha, I truly hope he can find the strength to repent and be free.  I would rejoice at that. That is what being saved as we sink looks like.  God is good! 

    • Michael,
      Thanks for explaining to me what was meant by sinking. I rather like this idea of an amplitude, of constantly sinking and rising like a fishing lure. I’m sorry for how my comment regarding the pile-on was perceived. I’ve actually really enjoyed reading what you and Tim have been writing over the last couple of days, and am firmly in your camp when it comes to the question at hand. It’s just that it must be a little gobsmacking to have an entire article rolled out the very next day to refute points you made in comments the night before (referring to Misha here). So far as I can tell, it’s really just him in his corner too. Therefore, my “props” to the underdog. Nothing to do with the substance of the discussion. 

    • Michael,
      God is good but you are deluded if you think I need to repent of telling the truth regarding what passes for marriage in the modern West.  It is self-evident that the icon is distorted and the result is lamentable.  You shall know them by their fruits.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Misha then pray for me that our Lord’s mercy lead me into all Truth and I will pray the same for you allowing Him to give the increase. 

  5. Michael Bauman says

    I forgot to add that Kansas marriage law requires both the man and the woman to be financially responsible in the marriage and each entitled to 50% in a divorce.  We are not a community property state. 

  6. Antiochene Son says

    I have to disagree on the point of Saint Paul not having the last word. As the hand-picked instrument of Christ to the Gentiles, Saint Paul is the final word on a subject not elucidated further in Scripture, except when he gives the caveat that his word is an opinion, such as “I would have you do X” or “I say, not Christ, but I”. At least that’s how St. Basil saw it.

    Let me tangent on some thoughts which are not directly related to the piece but often arise when discussing these subjects.

    Even God’s belief that Adam needed a helpmeet must be read in the light of the New Testament. The Hebrews of old needed to procreate because they had no understanding of eternity, and they believed in living on through their children. The Church blesses families and children, but we know that theosis is ultimately an individual pursuit and responsibility, for there will be no marriage or families in the Kingdom. There are only members of Christ. These things, as well as nations and other forms of human fraternity, are for this world only, and only have value as aids to growth in holiness.

    Marriage and family are good, but they can also lead to unhealthy attachments. If a couple’s son wants to be a monk but mother can’t let go of her desire for grandchildren and father wants him to take over the family business, that is an impediment to the son’s salvation. If a man wants to become Orthodox and his wife holds him back for years, even decades, t
    that is wrong, and that marriage is likewise an impediment.

    So st. Paul is right. Marriage is good for those who need it for salvation. Family is good for those who need them for salvation. But those who don’t need them, or they cause stumbling, they are bad. So we need not idolize family or marriage or women’s liberation, because they are bad for some and good for others. What we need is respect for both paths because God provides each of us with a different one.

  7. Sage-Girl says

    After years of bible class I’ll only add this?:

    Notice — holy bible never says the ? Serpent spoke to Adam & Eve … but only to Eve.
    Only Eve responded…

    Notice — that Serpent, ? did Not go by God’s created Order — he didn’t go to Adam First but directly for Eve …?

    [Timothy 2:14]  
    “Adam was not deceived, but the woman”?‍♀️
    St. Paul teaches that origin of evil was from the woman.  Eve as the prototype of sinners — she “led” Adam instead of other way around. 

    Adam was Not present at Eve’s temptation.?

    Adam only blamed his wife Not the Serpent? which shows he was Not aware of Serpent’s discussion with her…

    but why did he allow Eve to be away from his leadership and presence? ?

    • Michael Bauman says

      Yes, but it took the evil one directly to lead her astray. Adam just gave into Eve’s suggestion and then turned around and blamed God.  Why didn’t Adam say no and lead Eve to repentance as a head should have–thus he (we) were given even more responsibility. 

      • Sage-Girl says

        Adam did Not blame God — he blamed Eve

        • Michael Bauman says

          Sage-girl, Adam blamed both. If he had not blamed God he would have merely said, Lord, I gave into the temptation from Eve, forgive her and  forgive me.  But, after hiding with Eve from God he had the temerity to say that not only was his sin the total fault of the woman but the woman “God gave him”.  This is classic male responsibility shifting.  I am not sure women do it that way but we men certainly do. As the head, I bear responsibility for those under me AND the responsibility to offer up the sins of all for transformation on behalf of all and for all. That is the priestly function which, contra George, the woman does not share. I cannot have it both ways. 

        • Adam’s Fall | Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese

          Adam’s Fall
          By Fr. Patrick Reardon
          When we think of Adam’s fall, there are two passive participles that should come forcefully to our minds: lost and cursed. These two words sum up the human condition without Christ.
          First, man is lost. Worse, he continues to get lost. It is a mistake to think of the fallen human being as somehow looking for God. Indeed, the very opposite is true. When the human race fell in Adam, a kind of spiritual inertia came into play, a force that kept him going in the same direction–away from God. Of himself man had no power of initiative to reverse the movement. This is what is meant by the Fall.
          If man was to return to God, God had to take the initiative. If God had not sought man out, he would keep going in the same direction-away. This is very clear in the biblical story of Adam’s hiding from God immediately after his disobedience. He and all his descendants would still be lying low there in the bushes if God had not come after him, inquiring, “Where are you?”
          It was not that God did not know where to find Adam. It was Adam who was lost, rather, not God. God knew where Adam was, but Adam didn’t. God’s query “Where are you?” was intended to wake lost man up to his real situation. As such, it was the first proclamation of the Gospel, the merciful word that began to reverse the direction of man’s existence. Indeed, it was the first step toward the mystery of the Incarnation.
          This divine inquiry was necessary, because man had no interest in finding God. It was of God, on the contrary, that Adam was most afraid, because God recognized him to be naked. God understood this and promptly provided a covering for man’s nakedness. It was the initial step toward man’s final clothing, indicated in St. Paul’s exhortation to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14).
          But even when confronted by his sin, Adam did not accept the guilt and responsibility. He immediately blamed Eve: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Indeed, this response even seems to blame God for the Fall. Adam speaks of Eve as “the woman whom You gave me,” as though to say, “I did not ask for a wife; this whole arrangement was your idea. This woman, whom You designed, is the one who got me into this mess.”
          Eve, for her part, follows Adam’s example of passing the blame: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” This too was God’s fault, of course, because He created this “creeping thing” (Genesis 1:25). Eve could hardly hold herself responsible for what happened.
          Even found, that is to say, fallen man was obviously still lost.
          Hence–to come to our second point–fallen man was cursed. In assigning punishment for the original sin, the Lord apparently accepted the order of guilt assigned by Adam and Eve. Accordingly, the snake was the first to be punished, then the woman, and finally the man (3:14-15).
          The first word of God’s verdict is “cursed” (‘arur), because an historical curse is the lasting effect of the Fall. The Semitic root of this expression, ‘rr, is found in Akkadian, Ethiopian, and Arabic–in addition to Hebrew. Pronounced out loud, the word sounds, in fact, like a roar. Well, I suppose it should, because both words, ‘arur and “roar” (from the Old English root ra) refer to the same thing–a loud and frightening expression of anger. Long before its first written record on Akkadian temple inscriptions, it is obvious that the root ‘rr was an onomatopoeia, a word that imitated a sound, in this case the sound of a lion.
          Thus, to be “cursed” (another word, we note, that preserves the same guttural ur sound) means to receive a decree of irate and radical disapproval. It signifies expulsion from God’s society and communion. Moreover, it is of the nature of a curse that it is effective simply by being pronounced.
          The curse incurred by fallen man was related to the very earth from which he was taken: “Cursed is the ground for your sake. . . In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread/ Till you return to the ground,/ For out of it you were taken;/ For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” The curse, that is to say, was man’s mortality. What Adam handed on was domination by death; “sin reigned in death” (Romans 5:21). By reason of Adam’s Fall, man without redemption is under the reign of death and corruption, because “the reign of death (regnum mortis) operates only in the corruption of the flesh” (Tertullian, On the Resurrection 47).
          This is what Adam bequeathed to his offspring, “the reign of death.” To die without the grace of redemption is to die eternally. This is the real curse of death, because to die such a death is to be “lost” in a most radical way, lost in the sense of putting oneself beyond the possibility of being found.

          • Thank you Tanya (and of, course, Fr Patrick) for this excellent exposition. It helps me understand, insofar as I am capable, what went on in the Garden – and why what follows therefrom, well, follows…

          • Fr. Pat — that’s all well & good But it still shows Eve’s mega mistake in obeying the serpent over asking Adam
            … here Adam was missing, this is where he lost his headman ship …

            Thereafter, Eve the female archetype was condemned to be physically weaker than the man, subservient suffer in childbirth etc.,
            the collective feminine is more emotional, less logical —
            the cunning Serpent knew to go first to Eve – 

    • anonsayswhat says

      St. Paul does say that the serpent attempted to deceive Adam first, but Adam did not fall for it. The demon spoke through the serpent. I guess you could say Adam knowing his position above the animals, could not take seriously what was told to him and merely ignored it as nonsense. Eve decided to communicate with the serpent, which she should have never done. That’s why in that passage St. Paul is speaking about women and silence.
      I guess in a way Adam should have known something was afoot. Eve came to him speaking about the same fruit and then decided to give in to temptation. And Eve was in full knowledge she was bringing down Adam in tempting him.

      • But Adam simply proved he was not the leader … and Jesus came to be the new Adam, our true leader 

  8. Tim R. Mortiss says

    All I can add to what I’ve said before is that I prefer the company of my wife, our children, our grandchildren, and their spouses (my married kids have been married 30, 25, and 17 years respectively) to the company of pets.

  9. Michael Bauman, why do you think that Adam’s statement, “…this woman you gave me…”  (“…And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me….'” KJV) is probably the most arrogant thing ever?  Also, I realize that we all need to repent, but why do you specifically hope that Misha finds the strength to repent and be free?  I think that he has thoughtful, insightful comments, and I am in agreement with him on all of those which I have read thus far.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Katherine, Adam’s statement is rejecting any responsibility and blaming God for his own choice to eat.  
    I find Misha’s approach to women highly offensive, un-Scriptural and wrong. We men are not given women to control and discipline. That is not what headship is about. Christian headship involves the Cross–being willing for me, a man to lay down my life for my wife. Not in some submissive way toward her but to guard her and keep her to, among other things direct her toward God and help keep the world at bay. To lay down my life for her in prayer, love and thanksgiving for her.
    It is not my duty to control her or discipline her least of all physically.  My duty to love and honor direct and protect.  
    Both my late wife and my living wife were victim’s of abuse before I met them.  Great damage had been done to them. Part of my job is to build them back up as human beings and protect them. I grew up in an abusive home so I have my own demons.

    Sometimes my selfishness wins but adding to their grief with physical “correction” is sinful and in no way proper headship.
    Women are not lesser as human beings and lovers of God  just different and female. Women receive and nurture what they receivehg from us. They were taken out of us to be companions and to receive from us giving form and substance to what they receive from us. 

    Ephesians 5:23 tells us that man is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church. He is head of the Church because He went to the Cross for us.

    Am I to do less for my wife? God forgive me I do in my
    selfishness but those times are meat for repentance.

    Both of my wives were given to me by God. Am I to despise that gift by damaging and abusing them in any way? God forbid!

    It is certainly not my duty to “physically chastise” the gift God has given me toward my salvation. That belief is anathema and no part of a Godly marriage.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Katherine, do you support a man hitting his wife? If a man has to resort to violence against his wife, he has lost all moral authority over her.

    • Perhaps if Christ is the Shepherd, the man may be likened to his sheepdog and the woman to his sheep – in which the wealth of the flock subsists. Now the sheepdog only has that authority over the sheep that has been delegated to him by the shepherd. He herds the sheep out to green pastures in the morning and guides them back to the paddock in the evening, all the while protecting them from wolves and serpents etc.
      But, should so exceed his authority as to inflict blood upon the sheep, he is become no better than a wolf himself. He is now a clear and present danger to the safety of the flock. Many a sheepdog has been shot in such a circumstance, with no blame attaching to the shepherd.

  11. To Gail, Michael, and others:  Misha is not saying that a man should hit his wife.  He is supporting the legal right for him to do so, within reason, which was enshrined in law for all of Christian history, and which made his authority both de facto and de jure.

    In the modern West, the man’s authority is neither de facto nor de jure, but strictly theoretical, conditional completely on the wife’s desire to submit to him.  As soon as the wife no longer desires to submit to him, his “authority” no longer exists, and she has full legal recourse to strip him of his position, his property, and more importantly, his children.

    In America (I can’t speak to other countries on this point, though I suspect Western Europe is just as bad), the law has gone so absurdly far against “abuse” that a man not need even strike his wife to be considered “abusive.”  In most jurisdictions, she need not even claim that he struck her, much less prove it.  She need only claim that she is scared that he might strike her, and she can obtain a restraining order and have her husband kicked out of his own house, stripped of his right to be with his children, and in most cases stripped of his right to bear arms.

    Again, all of this is conditional on the woman’s whims.  What sane man would entrust his life to a woman’s whims?  It is like giving her a loaded gun, pressing the barrel to your forehead, and hoping she doesn’t pull the trigger.  A woman must be extremely trustworthy for such a task.  And still, she has all the real power, both de facto and de jure, and he has none.  And that is even setting aside the issue of physical chastisement.

    God’s grace can change the calculus, and I personally still desire to be married and pray daily for a worthy wife.  But I also understand and sympathize with the point of view of Misha and men like him.  Given the factors discussed above, I have personally found 95% of single young women to be completely unmarriageable.  They simply cannot be trusted not to ruin their prospective husband’s life.  It also doesn’t help that many (most?) of them cannot cook, refuse to clean (or just have no problem living in filth – many modern women are complete slobs), have unpleasant personalities, and have no desire for children or even for marriage at all.

    Misha has a solution for young men, which might save their lives (suicide after divorce is quite common, especially for men).  Telling men to “man up,” as you have done, is not a solution, unless you mean “man up and fix the laws which uphold the current inverted state of affairs.”  Saying that men can thwart feminism by simply being providers and protectors is laughable, as many men do that job quite ably and still have their lives destroyed by their ex-wives, whose biggest complaint is “he didn’t make me happy anymore.”

    By the way, Misha has his history right, and you do not.  Feminism began in the mid-1800s, and gained its first monumental (and disastrous) victory, female suffrage, in 1919.  This was long before men began abdicate their traditional roles, which began in the 60s at the earliest.  Over 3 million American men fought in World War I – over 25% of the male population between ages 18 and 31 – of which over 100,000 lost their lives and 200,000 were wounded.  Over 15 million American men fought in World War II – over 20% of the male population at large – of which over 400,000 died and 600,000 were wounded.  The numbers are even more stark in Europe.  And yet you have the audacity to claim that men in this era were shirking their responsibilities?

    They failed in one way and one way only – they failed to keep women in line.  As Misha said, the more recent abdicating of responsibility has been a reaction to feminism, not the other way around.

    • Wise women will naturally gravitate toward the Christian man, since he helps to fill their deep soul’s longing for Christ. Young men should not despair but should stay with Christ, who will guide him and bring a woman to their life for them, with healthy guidance from older Christian men who have loving families of their own.

      The answer is NOT to “force” women into filling a mold that a certain man wants. Our freedom is Christ-given, and yes many women have the freedom to turn their backs on Christ, as men do as well. Yes there should be societal pressures that push people toward virtuous lives – which we DO NOT HAVE any longer in the West in our mainstream culture. Which is why modern secularism/feminism/paganism flourishes.

      But just try to get into a “relationship” where your goal is to “keep a woman in line” – and you’ll see how miserable it is for both parties. There’s no emotional connection at all in such a non-relationship.

      But I pity the poor daughters who have supposedly “Christian” dads who think it’s acceptable for their daughters’ future husbands to “hit” or in any other way abuse them.  Such men are not fit to be husbands or fathers. 

      A Christian husband/father’s authority mirrors Christ’s servant and sacrificial leadership.  Did Christ hit or abuse his disciples or followers?  Or was He longsuffering and willing to be turned into a bloody, dead corpse on a Cross for them?
      I’m sorry, but if any man is just looking for someone to order around, do what he says, and worship him, then that man has no right being a husband/father.  He’s not even really looking for a wife – he’s looking for someone to boost his ego.  He’s better off hiring people to play these roles for him.
      A wife must do her part too, which is the entire point of dating/courtship – to ensure that a couple’s life vision matches one with the other.  A deeply Christian man with a committed secular Marxist woman will never work out, and vice versa.  It’s not compassionate for anyone to pretend that it will, either.  Sometimes the job of friends and family is to tell young folks who are dating what they don’t want to hear.
      But please stop with this nonsense pseudo-intellectual jiu-jitsu about whether it’s “ok” for a man to “hit” his wife.  That’s insane, and any man as a 3-year-old boy would have been traumatized seeing his own mother abused.  It’s well known that the best way to forever traumatize a boy is to have him witness his mother abused.  Our children are as much Christians as we are (often times more so than we are), and their perspective, safety, and freedom from trauma matter.   (It was Christians who first brought forward the idea that children are ensouled beings who matter, not simply property, as children had been treated for years.)
      There are so many men who simply don’t have the emotional capacity to be healthy, stable husbands and fathers.  This is an unfortunate truism that too often goes unsaid. These emotionally immature adult men were typically traumatized themselves as children and have deep, unhealed emotional hurts.  

      Sadly, most of the time, if they marry, these men end up marrying women who are looking to “save” or “care for someone, and then these women end up being abused themselves.  And the cycle continues – through the 4th generation, as the Scriptures tell us.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        RE: “Wise women will naturally gravitate toward the Christian man, since he helps to fill their deep soul’s longing for Christ.”

        Very profound and completely true.

      • LOL….I stopped reading halfway through. In the circles I run in, virtually all, if not 100% of “men” (freely admit that this includes me) are 100%, totally emasculated. Our wives are completely in charge and totally and completely rule the roost. And here you come warning about the “bad men” out there. It’s akin to a person who lives in northern Minnesota warning people in January about the dangers of being outside in the heat. 

        • Michael Bauman says

          Daniel there are bad guys out there. There are bad women too. That is not the point. Good men listen to their wives as good women listen to their husbands. There is a natural hierarchy that our mutual lack of trust makes really hard to act on.
          BUT it is an integral part of salvation — part of the struggle, a big part, that needs transforming. None of gets right all the time.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Jonathon, you raise one really significant point–the wars.  So many men killed.  Many more men left as basket cases. Suicides of former soldiers massive.  The resultant destruction of existent and potential homes and families incalcuable.  It changed the natural balance between men and women demographically and socially.  Not to mention the 1918 flu which hit predominately young males.  
      The geographic size of and the male mortality on the plains before that had its own impact on eroding social norms.  
      The criticism of feminism is apt and appropriate but there is no valid place for physical coersion.  Making that a cornerstone invalidates the rest of the argument. 
      Regardless of history, such violence has no place in a Christian marriage. 
      It is no accident that this discussion began in the “Mouse Utopia” thread.  Serious entropic challenges to our fundamental physical, mental and emotional make up have been going on for a significant time. 
      Is there an adequate and effective response within the life of the Church?  
      If there is it does not involve giving in to the modern fallacy of progress, growth and development.  
      Neither does any paradigm of marriage that includes physical “chastisement”
      The points you make on the lack of suitable women are valid. My son certainly feels that.
      But that lack also points to the reality of the partnership of marriage and the solution perhaps in Christian match making.  That was what brought my niece and her husband together.  
      The young man’s seminary sponsor knew my brother and his daughter.  He called my brother and suggested the match. My brother suggested it to his daughter. Everybody agreed to give it a shot. It is working despite many challenges. 
      But, hey, that is just another anecdotal monent. Not important or significant.  Another major fallacy in Misha’s aporoach. It is those small seemingly unconnected moments that reveal the solution.  

    • “What sane man would entrust his life to a woman’s whims?  It is like giving her a loaded gun, pressing the barrel to your forehead, and hoping she doesn’t pull the trigger.”
      Geez Louise, some folks take themselves very seriously. Quite the dramatic analogy. I was just happy that someone was willing to put up with lil ol me, but little did I know… It’s very strange for me to think that one of the best things that’s happened to me, is actually akin to someone placing a pistol to my head, prepared to blow my brains out. Same as I asked Misha – to what ends are you lamenting the loss of your right to be a jerk to women? Is the slim prospect of ending up on the street thru loss of property in a nasty divorce, and having to start over again, really the worse alternative to living your entire life in anger and resentment? Maybe because of the way I’ve been raised, but to me it really means nothing to start over, so long as I have my loved ones by my side. If I don’t have them, than what’s it really all for? So this idea that it’s “suicidal”, or “deranged” for young men to enter marriage, or what sounds like any meaningful romantic relationship with a woman, for fear of losing property and autonomy seems incredibly childish and materialistic to me. 
      In general, someone that relies on the design of the social framework to derive his authority (regardless of what we’re discussing – a husband, a father, a ceo, a statesman, a Boy Scout leader, etc), is in my eyes a weakling and a blowhard. I’m sure I could earn the respect of a woman even in the year 2245. If 95% of them are unmarriageable at that point, like you say, I’ll work with what I have, and LEAD by example until we’re more attuned to one another. 

      • “I’m sure I could earn the respect of a woman even in the year 2245…I’ll work with what I have”.
        In 2245…!!?  O Methusaleh!
        Whatever are you drinking?
        And where can I get some?

        • Not a typo – was trying to make a point that it’s not the time period that matters, but what you’re made of.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I can guarantee that if you believe 95% of single women are unmarriageable, you won’t find the one that is, and woe betide her if you do.
      For an ostensibly Orthodox Christian site, there are some amazingly aberrant things being said about marriage.
      Troubled lives yield troubled ideas.

    • Jonathan, thank you for your comments. I was recently speaking with my Deacon about the plight of our single Seminarians. They are on the path to the Holy Priesthood, yet greatly desiring to be married. He told me that one of them made the following statement: “I’d be happy if I could find a woman who was willing to take a shower every day.” That’s how low the bar is these days. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        Daniel, I think that that comment by your deacon friend is unkind. Admittedly, I live in the South and my experience with Orthodox women (especially in the more traditional parishes) is that they are Godly women to be sure but attractive ones as well. Indeed, most of the thirty-something women I know are (as Solomon wrote) “an adornment to their husbands”. I see not only physical beauty but piety as well.

        Is it possible that your deacon friend doesn’t have some personal issues of his own or perhaps that he projects his own defects onto others? Just sayin’. I don’t mean to judge it’s just that when you get to a certain age, you kind of see things a little more clearly than one does when he’s younger and full of piss and vinegar. (Personal experience, here.)

      • Michael Bauman says

        Daniel, my niece married a seminarian last year. They were put together by the young man’s sponsor and my brother (also a priest).  The courtship lasted a year  They ate now at Jordonville. 

  12. Michael Bauman says

    There is one other icon of marriage that should not be fogotten: The Bridegroom Matins.
    Especially the Hymn:  “I behold the Bridal Chamber, richly adorned for my savior but I have no wedding garment to worthily enter. Make radiant the garment of my soul oh giver of Light and save me! ”

    • Sage-Girl says

      MB:  haha – you’ll be surprised once you enter Heaven — there is No marriage …
      so hold on loosely … our “idols” generally are not enlightened Saints; in fact, our “idols” on temporary earth rarely pass the “idol” test up in courts of Heaven 

      • Michael Bauman says

        Sage Girl, there is only one marriage the marriage of the lamb in which we all participate.  But, God willing, I will see my late wife there as shining as the sun in the radiant garment of her soul and my wife now as well as her late husband.  They all know each other already as well as my wife’s still born child Justin.  Still need a wedding garment that only He can give. 
        Union with Him is the ultimate marriage.  For now, getting closer to my wife and God through that will have to do.   

  13. Michael Bauman says

    There is an aspect to our discussion which has not been directly addressed: rights.
    Both Misha and Jonathan have asserted that a man’s “rights” in cultnure and law are being violated and destroyed by feminism. 
    What I and others are saying is that “rights” are immaterial when it comes to Christian marriage there are no rights.
    The emphasis on rights is itself a product of feminism.  It is a political construct that immediately negates the possibility of union and puts the man and woman at odds. Then the  “chastisement” actually has a place as horrible as it is.  

    • Michael,
      Traditionally we don’t speak so much about “rights” as we do “authority” and that is the crux of the matter, what authority does a husband have vis a vis his wife and children.  What specific authority can he exercise in order to rule as God directed in Genesis?
      I’m satisfied that my answer is the correct one given biblical and Church history.  The non-violent meme is fairly recent in modernist Orthodox circles.  I doubt any Orthodox prior to the early 20th century would have recognized any such rule across the board, notwithstanding the fact that peaceable resolution is always to be preferred if possible.
      This taboo about domestic violence is a thoroughly twentieth century phenomenon – the idea that ever striking the woman is unthinkable and barbaric is completely modern.  It is a sort of Pavlov type response in beta males inflicted by feminist demagoguery.  

      • Gail Sheppard says

        A peaceable solution is not just “preferred;” it is required, for any other solution would fall outside of Scripture.

        Hitting one’s wife is not kind, tenderhearted, affectionate, honorable, charitable, or forgiving, nor should a woman submit to her husband, if he does not submit to her.

        Anything outside of these parameters would not be pleasing to God:

        Romans 12:10: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”

        1 Peter 3:7: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

        1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

        Ephesians 5:21: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

        Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

        • “Submitting one to another . . .” is directed at the brethren.  It is not a mutual submission of husband and wife.  That would completely negate the wife being directed to submit to her husband.  It is a common misinterpretation of Scripture among modernists though.  They really want it to be that way and so they take liberties.
          None of this is really important.  America is an evil society immersed in feminism.  Nothing I say is going to change that or have much of an effect on those who have been corrupted by its wickedness.  All the social pathologies will continue and you can make believe you don’t know why.
          But God knows better and in due time there will be a Reckoning.  And feminists will not like it, no not one little bit.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            Didn’t Christ submit Himself to us in order that we should submit ourselves to Him?
            Did not the Creator elect to take the form of the created in order that the created might seek union with Him?

      • Michael Bauman says

        Misha, my authority over my wife which is real and present comes from God.  My ability to exercise that authority comes from my love of her in Christ AND that she was given to me by our Lady, the Theotokos.  
        I cannot imagine ever hitting my wife even in a rage, it would utterly destroy her (as the weaker) vessel and the blessing from God that is our marriage.   Even her unChristian late husband who had severe PTSD and could have easily killed her with his marital arts skill, never would hit her even in the midst of towering rages.  He would have died first.  He honored her above all else.  As do I.    
        I really do not care what the law says. In you rely on the authority of law, that is the same as a right. I can and will exercise my God given authority in my home but I will never do it in a way that hurts my wife, a beloved our our Lord.  She would be broken if I did that as I would be broken, and it would surely send me to hell. 
        In order to receive the gift God had prepared for me and His blessing, I had to repent of my own sins and forgive too.  By His grace, I did that and am still doing that.  He has given her into my arms for me to nurture and protect.  It is that simple.   
        My heart aches for you Misha, that you are so stuck in your ideology that you are blind to the wonders and possibilities God has and would give you I am sure.  That is the reason I have contended with you as I have and why, too, George has allowed it to continue.  
         With Brian’s exceptional exposition of the reality of man, woman and marriage I can do no more.  God bless and keep you, Misha, may He make His face to shine upon you and enlarge your heart by His mercy and Grace. 

  14. Johann Sebastian says

    I think I understand where Misha is coming from, having made similar observations myself.
    But I’m not quite ready to give up hope. Not while there’s still time.

  15. Roger Jones says

    I have made it clear to my pastor, and others, that I reject any interpretation of Christianity that requires me to be a receptacle for unlimited amounts of abuse.  However, the posters in this thread, with the exception of Misha and Jonathan, seem to think that such is a sine qua non not only of male headship in marriage, but of being a man in general.

    Here is a little experiment you can conduct.  Ask anyone what men owe to women (or what a husband owes a wife).  From men, you will get a list as long as a five-year-old’s letter to Santa Claus.  From women, you will get a list twice that long.  Then ask the same person what women owe men (or what a wife owes a husband).  You will get one of the following in reply.

    * silence (least likely)
    * shaming language attacking your masculinity, good will, humanity, basic decency, fitness of your reproductive equipment, sexual orientation, ability to earn a living, and ability to live on your own (i.e. not in your parents’ basement) all while insisting that women can do no wrong, and if they do wrong, it is the fault of a man (most likely from women; The Duluth Model Response)
    * a response like “women help men to be more productive and have better character”, i.e. drive him to be a better slave
    * a response that sounds like Porky Pig at the end of a Warner Brothers cartoon (most likely from men)

    Yes, I have run this experiment a number of times.  I have gotten exactly one response that didn’t fall precisely into one of the above categories, and even that response wasn’t particularly good (i.e. it didn’t really address the second half of the question).

    Men should definitely count the cost before marrying.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      I wouldn’t expect anything for myself out of a marriage. Just a commitment to share in my desire to raise and provide for our children while giving them the tools they need to live a fruitful and happy life. For them to be better than we were and for them to raise children better than them, and so on, and so forth.
      A Christian upbringing makes that possible.
      Material success helps too, but it is a means and a tool—not an end.
      Too many are motivated by personal ambition, by illusions of individual fulfillment, by “what’s in it for me?”
      It’s for what awaits us in eternity and those we leave behind after our time in this world has exhausted itself.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Roger, such dark cynicism. In my experience when one asks questions from that mind set, one hears the same thing in return.  
      What does my wife owe me? Nothing. I owe her nothing. What she gives me is all that she can as I give to her without expecting anything in return. Marriage is not transactional.  
      We also confess our sins to one another and forgive one another. We irritate each other too.  We share our lives with each other in Christ.   We pray with each other and for each other, we laugh, cry, fail and succeed together even if we are apart and try to help others when we can.   We have each suffered loss before and the one of us will do so again.  We are both willing to risk that again.  
      It is expectations that cause havoc.  I learned that mostly in the struggles during my first marriage Still, I love my late wife still and the son she birthed at great risk to herself.  In the end she gave me far more than I could have ever expected and is still doing so.  

    • Be aware that the only states in life blessed by the Church are marriage and monasticism. 

      The modern western phenomenon of rampant “intentional single adulthood” is not only extremely unhealthy but it’s unheard of and makes no sense from a Christian perspective.  

      Intentional single adulthood – as in “I refuse to consider married life and I refuse to consider a monastic family” – is not blessed by the church simply because it’s not good for us.

      We are all meant to live in families – either the family life of man/woman/children or the monastic family life.

      So for young men who won’t do the hard work to develop emotional sobriety and can’t “tolerate” the intimacy and deep connection that goes hand-in-hand with marriage and family life, then why not speak with your spiritual father about monastic family life? 

      I’m finished reading posts from “armchair relationship theologians” who can’t do relationships themselves but seem entitled to lecture everyone else how intimate relationships  should be done.  Talk about pride and hubris.
      Are these same young men who can’t tolerate the “demands” of women also asking older men who have been leading families for years for input and advice?  

      There are many of us Orthodox Christian men who have found peace and love and joy in marriage and in raising children – why not ask us for tips?
      There are plenty of young women out there looking for solid Christian young men. The New York Times will certainly never talk about them, but yes they are out there.

      • Roger Jones says

        Round 2.

        Michael Bauman said, “What does my wife owe me? Nothing. I owe her nothing.”

        First, that position at least has the virtue of equity.  What I am objecting to is the notion prevalent in our society that the husband has to expend all the effort, and the wife need do nothing, or even has the right to squander his efforts, and wantonly so, and even destroy his life in the Family Court grinder.

        Second, that position is anti-Scriptural.  Scripture clearly lays out a set of expectations for husbands and wives. Even when we fall short, the expectation is there.

        Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (Ephesians 5:22-28)

        FTS said:  “Be aware that the only states in life blessed by the Church are marriage and monasticism.”

        So, there is no room in the Church for those of us who are not married and not monks?   I suppose after I die I should be buried face down so I can see where I’m going.

        I tried for years to find a wife; I prayed a lot for it.  I also wasn’t going to marry just any woman for the sake of marrying.  I wanted a good wife, and I wanted to be a good husband.  However, I found that most women are are nasty, ungrateful, and manipulative, and I refused to be attached to such a woman.  Besides, at my age I have now lost the desire to marry. 

        I also have no business becoming a monk.  None.  It would be an unmitigated disaster.

        I am not advocating a single life of hedonism.  I do advocate being equally yoked in marriage – and that means more than just marrying an Orthodox Christian.  It means that both husband and wife have to pull the plow.  But then, I’m just a single man – what do I know about anything?

        • Sage-Girl says

          ?Roger Jones:

          be of good cheer — IF you’re living a spiritually devoted life of prayer while in this material world & not squandering your sexual morals, you’re part of our holy “family” — and if Destiny has it you never marry on earth, be very certain;

          God will join you in Afterlife with a most perfect soulmate — beyond your wildest dreams
          May It Be Blessed ?

          • “God will join you in Afterlife with a most perfect soulmate”: A strange notion, in light of this: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”

            • I already said there is No marriage in Heaven — meaning there’s no sexual reproducing & no exchanges of mediocrity; however, that does not exclude being Reunited with a mate you really bonded with on earth OR you are given a soul companion, in perfect fusion with you — if that’s what your personal soul desires…

              The true Adam & Eve scenario is indeed enacted in Heaven & it’s too Ineffable to describe …  suffice it to say, it’s granted to those with enough depth & spirit who can resonate on that level; yes there are levels of Heaven — the Saints inhabiting the highest 

              • This is very eccentric. Prove to me, from Scriptures, the Fathers, holy Elders, and Church Tradition, that we receive a soul companion in heaven, with whom we are fused. At least one quote. Just one.

              • Sage-girl
                Where is this teaching on being given a soul companion after death to be found? If it’s a teaching of the Church, please site the reference. If it is not a teaching of the Church, then I implore you to cease and desist or at least add a disclaimer that separates your personal beliefs from the teachings of the Orthodox Church.
                Thank you.

                • I’ve been following this conversation about Sage Girl’s assertion that we will have our perfect spouse/soul companion in the afterlife.
                  I certainly agree with those who object to what can only be called strange doctrine.  However, much (though not all) of what she has written about it does truly apply to Christ Himself, who both is and will be the divine, perfect spouse of us all.
                  Perhaps this is the correct sense of both the desire and its fulfillment that she is trying to express in an otherwise strange and misdirected fashion.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  In Sage-Girl’s defense, she did say she is basing her opinions on what she’s read about NDE, which are just that: experiences not teaching. She is free to do that. I suspect she hasn’t read the horrible experiences that many people report of going to places you wouldn’t want to find yourself, let alone your soulmate, but that’s beside the point!

                  But having said that, you make a good point: NDE’s and someone’s opinions about soulmates are alien to Orthodox teaching. That someone believes it, is fine. That because she believes it, she presents it as a truth on an Orthodox blog, is not fine unless she is prepared to back it up with Orthodox teaching, which she can’t, because it isn’t. Not only does this sort of thing inflame people who know better, it confuses inquirers.

                  So from now on, the blog won’t allow commentators to present ideas that are not Orthodox without qualifying them as their own opinions with respect to Church teaching, theology, Tradition, Scripture and the Holy Fathers, which would include a discussion about what we will find in the next world, unless someone can back it up with a legitimate Orthodox source.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Sage-girl I think the afterlife soul mate is neo-Platonic pseudo mysticism.  Sorry as Basil points out, not Orthodox

            • Your WRONG  — In afterlife we are joined with our perfect soulmate that doesn’t exist on earth …

              In near death experiences many have reported this – I’ve read hundreds of them; very, very few connect with their true soulmate on earth — on earth we are thrown together by Destiny to learn lessons for our growth —

              but Heaven is entire different Universe … it’s like comparing kindergarten antics to knowledge of PhD 

          • Antiochene Son says

            After we slip this mortal coil the only relationship that exists is one’s own relationship with God–for good or for ill.

            • Be careful … ask yourself what in Sam Hill platitude do you really understand of  “relationship with God?”  Do you think it’s a nebulous world so divorced from this one – floating on cloud ☁️ with harp?

              No — It’s a life abundant as Jesus promised. I’ve studied plenty about the Afterlife & let me assure you relationship with God is not like relationship with your priest ;
              relationship with God in Heaven also includes life as we knew it on earth except it’s a life more Expansive — more Exquisite —without flaws, without darkness of this material realm.

              That place is so infinitely superior to this world that nobody in an NDE reports wanting  to return even when given a choice to reunite with loved ones. That says a lot … they didn’t want to come back to their material body;  the ones who returned were in metamorphosis & ALL express that it’s silly to nit pick at religious truths — because there’s no end to them. We will find it ALL out once we get there

              • So…what does the Orthodox Church teach?

              • “I trust people’s NDEs over revealed Orthodox truth.”
                Thanks, but I’ll pass. You’ve totally slipped into perennialist garbage.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Sage-girl, dear one of God. Please reconsider your understanding.  NDEs while perhaps revealing some reality are fraught with the possibility of demonic interference.  
                Please talk to your spiritual father about this.  The revealed Orthodox truth says very little specific about what is to come. Jesus words that we are neither married not given in marriage is the most authoritative. 
                Earthly marriage can be a doorway to Theosis — the union with God to which we are called.  Our only “soul mate” eternally is Jesus Christ. 

              • Antiochene Son says

                Sage-Girl, you need to do some study about Theosis, which is what the Orthodox Church teaches about the afterlife.
                The abundant life God wants to give us is his own life. The divine Energies. The greatest hesychasts only get a taste of that, but we will all get it in the end.
                No, not sitting on a cloud with a harp, but eternity is about God–and God alone. 

        • Roger, I have good news for you:

          St. John Chrysostom did not marry. He wanted to become a monk in some monastery. But his mother, being widow and lonely, begged him to stay at home with her and live like a monk THERE. He did that.

          The point is there are monks and monks:
          There are monks isolated in cells in the wilderness.
          There are monks in the Holy Mountain who do whatever (even ecumenistic) Bartholomew says to them. 
          I used to know a monk from Athos who, for various reasons, lived part of his monastic life in Athens with his sister.
          There are holy Monks and some others not so holy.
          As the Greeks say, “the rason does not make the priest”.

          You can be a kind of monk like St.Chrysostom and live according to the will of God. You can stay at home in civilian clothes and start your day asking yourself,
          “Here as I am today, what does Christ want me to do TODAY?”
          and do it.   

          • Michael Bauman says

            Roger, being equally yoked is the key if we are equally yoked in Christ.  The Scriptural expectations are regarding Christ, not me.  I can call her to Christ, teach her etc but I can demand nothing.  She can ask for me to give her Christ and I do best, often in repentance but does not and cannot demand.
            Submission is to give over voluntarily. It is not an artifact of the will alone but of the heart.  
            My wife quite naturally submits to me because she first submitted to Jesus (long before I did).  She sees in me a similar submission.  We share a common head but in a proper hierarchical way. The only thing she has ever demanded of me is that I be the spiritual head of our family. That was required before she would marry me.
            She says we “fit”.   Equally yoked.  The other way of saying the same thing is to say we both owe each other everything in Christ. 

        • MomofToddler says

          I haven’t really been following this thread, but I liked the points that you made.  It must be sooo hard to find a good spouse these days especially if one is Orthodox.  I was not Orthodox when I got married, but converted shortly after.)  I’m sure it’s also hard for women who can’t have children to hear that they are saved through childbearing.  (Especially in these “pandemic” times, Orthodox women in certain states/communities can hardly even visit their godchildren or nieces and nephews and serve as a mother that way.) The modern world makes things very difficult!   In today’s world, a man that wants to protect and provide for his wife is treated with contempt by many women.  It’s very backward and absurd.  But what do you mean by “pull the plow”?  Do you mean that you want your wife to be motivated to have an independent career and split finances 50/50?  It’s going to be hard to find a traditional Orthodox woman that is not a feminist, and is also feminine, that also wants that.  

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Your points are all well taken, MomofToddler, but I hope nothing I said earlier came across as saying women aren’t “saved unless they bear a child.

            I was told by a monk that childbearing is legitimate path toward salvation because it involves “dying to yourself.” Women, I would imagine, would be credited with the same if caring for their elderly parents, or doing anything that would put them in a position of putting the needs of others before their own.

            Legitimate paths are no guarantee of salvation. The thief on the cross probably did none of these things, and he achieved salvation!

            I’m sure God takes our present circumstances under consideration.

            • MomofToddler says

              Oh no, I hadn’t read it yet. It’s just something I hear, and it is true, but I feel for women that struggle with infertility. Especially in today’s world, being a “mother/grandmother” outside one’s family is often impractical and sometimes unwelcome. It’s part of the general destruction of community in the world I guess. I wish it wasn’t that way – I certainly wish I had a local “grandmother” for my kids.

              Infertility can be another form of dying to oneself, but it is such a hard situation to be in. I had secondary infertility (I am now no longer in that boat with two children spaced apart quite a bit) so it’s a issue that I am sensitive to….and I know it’s hard for women to hear (about childbearing being the main part to salvation for women) and because of community today, the other path to motherhood is hard to experience.

              For much of my free time, I have been listening to Fr. Peter Heer’s course so I am behind on the blog!

      • “Intentional single adulthood – as in ‘I refuse to consider married life and I refuse to consider a monastic family’ – is not blessed by the church simply because it’s not good for us.”
        That is a direct contradiction of the teaching of St. Paul on the subject (as I have quoted elsewhere) and certainly not the teaching of the Church.

        • Hello Misha,
          I’ve heard this statement over the past several decades from multiple Orthodox priests and bishops, most recently from Met. Jonah.  These clergy are certainly aware our modern realities where vast numbers of adults are single and are not part of monastic brotherhood or sisterhood. 

          Yet these clergy are clear that the Church only blesses two states in life:  marriage and monasticism. It’s for our own good, too, since God created us and intends for us to live in community with each other. We were not created to live or exist in isolation. Even the hermit who lives alone must get a blessing to do so. 

          Particularly with our modern paganism, it’s simply too dangerous for the Christian to live alone. The temptations all around us are often too much to bear.

          Yes of course there are many who are single not because of choice. But my decades of life have taught me that this is often because they don’t know how to do emotional intimacy – it’s too frightening for many and makes many feel too vulnerable. Yes it takes a lot of work to make a relationship healthy, including ongoing therapy, particularly if we’ve grown up in abusive environments and never saw healthy intimacy modeled for us.

          When I was a young man struggling with sexual temptations seemingly all the time, my wise priests counseled me to work on finding a healthy woman/marriage where these could be used as Christ intended for us.  It took some time and trial and error but thankfully God sent me someone.

          Sexual temptations (and other temptations too, but what’s the old adage, young Christian men struggle mostly with pride and sex) for young men (and young women) are often too much to bear alone. 

          Sex most certainly isn’t evil – that’s what some of our Roman Catholic and Calvinist friends may say, but we certainly don’t believe that. But it must be channeled properly. 

          We really do need a network of older Orthodox Christian family men who are able to guide younger men who need structure and guidance but are often too ashamed or unaware of how to ask for it. 

        • Michael Bauman says

          Misha, Wrong again!  St. Paul lived before organized Christian monasticism indeed before the Church was well organized but he was, essentially, a mendicant monk who taught the faith. He spent significant time in the desert under the guidance of Ananias who had received Saul(According to Holy Tradition) before being blessed to undertake his journeys.   He was not some proto-Protestant or proto-60s hippie “doin’ his own thing dude”.   
          Everywhere he went he formed and nurtured community each of which was part of his extended family. His spiritual children like Timothy led those comunnities at times.
          Clearly what St. Paul meant was a celibate life consecrated to God and dedicated to mission and evangelism.  
          That is about as far as one can get from the modern “intentionally single adulthood” that is largely barren, bitter and alone.  
          There is a man in my parish who just got married at age 43.  He had investigated monasticism and spent some time near a monastery in the southwest. All the while he worked as he could promoting and teaching the faith and supporting himself.  He had converted as a young man when his parents did.  His mother is overjoyed.  His father reposed some years ago. But is father was a stalwart man.
          The young man prayed, fasted and was celibate.  He has his own spiritual children.  

          • Antiochene Son says

            Imagine a single man who gets up, says morning prayers for 30 minutes, then works as a nurse in an old folk’s home. After work, depending on the day, he volunteers in his parish organizations, looks in on his elderly neighbor, serves in a soup kitchen, or attends a class or service at his church. On the weekends he mentors an at-risk teen or participates in a prison ministry, and attends services, goes to confession, and sings in the choir. At night he says another 30 minutes of prayers and starts over again. He strives to love his neighbor and gives sacrificially to virtually anyone who asks.
            I am not this man. I wish that I were. I know men like him.

            1. Is he leading a God-pleasing life? 
            2. Would he please God more if he were a monk or married? 
            3. Could he even do everything he was doing if he was married or a monk?
            God gives whatever gifts he desires to whomever he wishes. He could give the gift of celibacy to someone not called to be a monk. (Most of our Antiochian bishops are such men, drawn from celibate secular priesthood, not monks.) It is wrong and unjust to rigidly limit the Holy Spirit to two conventional paths.
            Theosis is not a formula, it is a result of choices made every day with the life you have been granted. 

            • Sage-Girl says

              Antiochene Son:

              Wonderful insight — that’s what our  St. Elder Paisios posits in telling true story I wrote of married man who’s wife left him with kids & despite rarely attending church broke down in tears asking help & God heard his heart — he was granted vision of Uncreated Light of Godhead?

      • Johann Sebastian says

        “There are plenty of young women out there looking for solid Christian young men. The New York Times will certainly never talk about them, but yes they are out there.”
        That’s like saying there’s also still silver and gold coin circulating at face value in the United States.
        Or that winning lottery tickets exist.
        Some of us were born in the wrong time, and many of us may come from the wrong place(s).
        And I suppose also that an honest assessment would admit a preoccupation with worldly considerations–be they physical attributes, intellectual abilities, trifling pursuits and pastimes, social rank, cultural factors, and habits–or any of myriad “compatibilities” do further whittle that precious few down to even fewer. And that’s a two-way street.
        Maybe some of us are too picky, for right or wrong reasons, or a combination of both.

      • George Michalopulos says

        FTS, “rampant ‘intentional single adulthood’,” (great moniker btw, let’s go with ISA for short) is not only unchristian, but irrational.  No culture can sustain itself with a surplus of rogue males or eternal spinsters beyond a certain percentage.

        • Antiochene Son says

          The problem is not so much rogue males as loose females. Monogamy ensures that, more or less, every person who wants a mate should be able to find one.

          When you don’t have monogamy, you get incels. And invariably incels are blamed for their state when it’s probably not their fault.
          To say (I’m not saying you say this, George, but rhetorically) an incel should just try harder to find a wife is like telling a homeless person “get a job, ya bum!” It’s not reality, and it’s cruel. Or to say “well I found a wife” is like a Boomer recalling how he bought his first house with a job he got on a handshake in the ’70s, and you’re flawed if you can’t do that. It is not reality. 
          Many women, including “good Christian women”, only slow down to look for a good husband after they realize the clock is ticking, when their potential husband might have wanted to have two or three kids already. Having given away the flower of their youth to a lineup of Chads, they toss their husband the leftovers. And the husband takes it because that’s all there is left. 

          • George Michalopulos says

            AS, you had me in complete agreement until your last paragraph, specifically your comment lumping “good Christian women” with many other women. Perhaps I’m naive but I can’t imagine that twenty-something women who are promiscuous are necessarily “good”. I say this as an indictment against myself because of my own misspent youth. I too, thought I was a “good Christian man” but that was so far from the truth that I thank God every day He didn’t take me then.

            In any event, what you and I are describing is nominal Christianity at best. In any event, in your overall critique, you are accurately describing the ravages of the sexual revolution, which is resulting not only in the incel phenomenon of rogue males who will probably never find a wife but the flip-side of that coin: which is a growing cohort of unmarried females. The sexual revolution upended the 50:50 chance that any young man and any young woman would find a mate.

            We are now stuck with the 80/20 rule in which 20% of the men get 80% of the women. This does increase the chances of the bottom 20% of women getting a mate but it makes monogamy impossible for the 80% of the women who fight over the 20% of the most desirable males.

            Having said that, you are correct about how we Boomers were able to get a job “on a handshake” (and thereby a house). That’s darn near impossible anymore. As such, I truly feel sorry for the thirty-something males out there. That, btw, is one reason I’m all for an immigration moratorium: the saturation of the workplace with cheaper labor from overseas has driven down the market value of the native males’ labor.

            • Antiochene Son says

              Thanks George. I don’t hold Baby Boomers in blanket derision like some; people deal with the world they live in, and are shaped by the world they sharpened their teeth in. I fully expect that some of my life experiences will be utterly irrelevant to 20-30 year olds in the future as well. There are many great Boomers in my life who are some of the most self-sacrificing living saints I have ever known.
              To your first paragraph and my last previous, I should be clear that a person who lives that way is not, objectively, a good Christian. But whether it is weakness on behalf of our clergy in enforcing basic morality at the Chalice or a general dark attitude in the whole Church, I have known Orthodox young women who even went to church and communed regularly, who were nevertheless living lives not dissimilar from Mary of Egypt’s former life. On Sunday you could have thought them wife material, but the rest of the week they were doing the devil’s work. God help them and save them.
              But that kind of reality makes it very hard for young men to even find a suitable wife within a parish, especially if they are leading double lives in this way. And there are plenty of Orthodox women marrying men outside the Church, despite having several options in their own parish, while in my experience Orthodox men would prefer a wife who is in the Church. They could be forgiven for looking outside the Church as well, but that brings a host of its own potential problems (though not always; there are many successes as well).
              If I overstated anything, it is only to implore those who perhaps don’t understand the state of things today that there are real reasons men are giving up on the idea of marriage, and it’s not for hedonistic reasons, at least on the part of men. Again, at least in my experience.

      • “Are these same young men who can’t tolerate the ‘demands’ of women also asking older men who have been leading families for years for input and advice?”

        Afraid their advice would be obsolete to a post-Tinder world.  The “demands” of women to settle for a traditional provider husband have skyrocketed, meanwhile they’re having all the casual sex they could want, until they hit their thirties and begin to panic. The percentages of male virgins just keep going up and up, throughout the Westernized world, with Japan leading the pack:

        And, yes, this does mean women are having all that casual sex with the same top tier of “sexy” men, with almost no chance of getting a marriage out of it.  

    • Roger — your absolutely spot on IF your dealing with liberal lefty women … which is unfortunately the vast majority! 
      Liberal women hate relationships with men.

      Conservative women are way way cooler ?

    • Spot on Roger. So true. 

  16. Such bitterness in this thread.  
    Women do and will naturally submit to heroic men.  If women are not submitting to men, it is the fault of men.  Berating, complaining, purposefully misunderstanding feminism and subjugating yourself to the premises set forth by postmodernists… this is childish, not manly.  Instead, men must be heroic.  Women WANT a hero.
    I am a recent convert and practice Orthodoxy poorly. Please forgive me. People invoke St. Paul to defend mens’ rights, but rarely talk about men’s responsibilities.  St. Paul tells women to veil themselves in church, so we do.  St. Paul also tells men that they must not wear their hair long… but we choose not to observe *this* for some reason.  St. Paul writes extensively about the Church’s responsibility for widows, both financial and otherwise.  During the lockdowns these last six months, how many of us called the widows on our prayer lists every week?  Has the Church renounced its financial responsibility towards widows because of “social security” but it still expects its members to contribute to monasteries, despite similar unemployment benefits ostensibly available to monks?  Or monks should not work, but single mothers should?
    Forgive my ignorance and my questions.  I envision the Church to be a feminist institution primarily.  Sometimes I am saddened that we are no longer responsible for each other the way we should be, and I acknowledge my own shortcomings in that regard.
    If there is anything a single young woman can do to encourage a man to become a hero, I am all ears.  

    • Johann Sebastian says

      I think we aspire to heroism and sacrifice for the families we wish to have, but the signals we receive–especially if we are part of one of the younger generations–indicate that this is not what women want.

      We are viewed as weird.

      I don’t wish to “rule over” a wife. I do want to lead a family. That means sacrifice and putting myself last. It means being patient, but it also means being firm as to what should and should not be.

      Righteous anger is justified when there is danger of going down a road that is harmful. Physical force is never justified, although a controlled tap to a child as an admonition, with a timely and clear connection to whatever misdeed was committed is sometimes necessary, as Scripture tells us. Not to instill fear, but to teach a lesson.

      If we are simply unhappy, discontent, or something doesn’t go “our way,” there is never a justification for anger, although admittedly sometimes our human frailties get in the way. Theory is far easier to convey than practice is to demonstrate.

      And in dealing with those who may bring the family harm, unambiguous and decisive actions are certainly necessary.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Michelle, forgive us men our bitterness. For some, their life experiences have tended to induce it.  As we have done much to induce bitterness in women. 
      Re feminism: there is literally nothing in the conglomerate of secular philosophies that are called feminism that are worthwhile. Even those parts that seem true are poisoned and invalidated by the anti-God premise of original feminism.  
      FTS had the best suggestion. Find a mentor in your parish that is the same sex as you and talk.  Beyond that there is clearly a lot of repentance needed by each of us to soften our hearts toward one another and change them. 
      The solution does not reside in any political ideology.  
      What I have written was, in part, a suggestion of where we as men most need to repent.
      However, Misha and Jonathon have this point-the law in many jurisdictions is clearly supportive to women who want to fleece and punish ex-husbands and lovers.
      But if we are the heads and leaders we are supposed to be, forsaking all others and raising up our wives, daughters and sons in thanksgiving to God much would change. I have only the example of my wife and my two nieces to draw from.  The woman’s gift is to bring things into creation in a way that is not possible for men.  I have seen both my wife and my nieces do that.  But men have to love and trust a particular woman enough to give to them.  From my side, that can be difficult.  For some here clearly impossible.
      A key lies in what Brian wrote–we are not independent of each other.  
      Each person’s circumstance is unique but realizing that submission and dominion do not mean what we think they mean.
      Become a God loving woman who looks ri Jesus first, pray for a God loving man, seek direction from older women and listen. 
      God will both change your heart in appropriate ways AND place a fitting man into your life 
      Then the struggle begins to deepen and more fully realize what abd how God wants the two of you to live. It is all too easy to put your own will and passion first.  
      My wife is clearly loved by God and He has a special place in her heart for Him that at times during Liturgy radiates so that others can see.  I am sure there is at least one such woman near you.  
      Most of all pray, repent, listen and watch.  
      May God’s grace and mercy be abundant in your life.  

      • Dear Michael,
        Thanks for your email to one of my email addresses!  It was from  an email address without your name in it but with the state in it,  so just checking!  I have replied to your given PM email address.   Please just confirm it’s “really you”!  ☺️

    • Sage-Girl says

      Great post for reflection Michelle…

      and salient point on widows; I only know when I became a widow I never dreamed to ask church for emotional rescue — except there was one priest friend, from afar, when he heard news he swooped in & gave me emotional rescue — 

      I know, I sure love a hero!?‍♂️ 

    • “I envision the Church to be a feminist institution primarily.”
      Please explain this statement. I’m very interested.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Hate to say it, but frankly the lugubrious pumpkin eaters and their misogyny here are really too much.
      It’s just not that hard to do it right. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone, as my ma would say.

      • “Hate to say it, but frankly the lugubrious pumpkin eaters and their misogyny here are really too much.”

        Here’s a new word for you, “misandry,” it is 99% of the time, the only relevant word regarding sexism under the modern matriarchal welfare state. 

      • Michael Bauman says

        Tim, you are correct yet, there are no longer just two sexes, everybody has more “rights” that must be defended against every other person’s rights; feminism has done much to destroy love and trust in families and the Church has been largely silent.  
        The libertine vulgarity of much modern culture appeals solely to the sinful passions.
        It is more difficult externally.  It takes more internal work to come to a place of genuine love.  
        My two nieces and their husbands seem to have gotten there, my son is struggling with it. Largely because of me.  
        But the answer is to first seek Jesus  Christ in prayer and repentance; eschew gender ideology; find a good mentor;  learn to like the opposite sex; pray for a Godly spouse and mate; be patient and listen. OR embrace the monastic life. 
        Only the final step is different. 

      • Tim, I’m lost. “Lugubrious pumpkin eater” sounds… just incredible, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it means. Is this in reference to the ‘60s film with Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch, or the old nursery rhyme? A literally lugubrious pumpkin eater would seem appropriate to the context here, and would perhaps be just as funny, but I’m still dying to find out what you actually mean. 

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Not the movie, which I hadn’t heard of until your post and looked it up.
          It’s the nursery rhyme….

    • “St. Paul writes extensively about the Church’s responsibility for widows, both financial and otherwise.”

      Widows in the Bible were effectively a pre-monastic order, which you had to be over sixty to be enrolled in (1 Timothy chapter 5:9). 

      “Or monks should not work, but single mothers should?”

      As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. (1 Timothy 5:10).  Most monks in Eastern Orthodoxy do work manual labor, if prayer itself weren’t enough, usually past secular retirement age.

      • I found this to be a strange critique as well. Monks don’t have ‘jobs,’ but they certainly work, and work hard. Regarding unemployment benefits, I don’t think that they are entitled to them, since they are officially classified as ‘religious workers,‘ albeit technically unpaid.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Interestingly, where monks as “religious workers” are entitled to nothing, someone who stocks the shelves with beer is given 3 days, expenses paid, at the Venetian in Las Vegas, because s/he is an “essential worker.”

    • Michael Bauman says

      1. Learn to like and enjoy the best qualities in men;
      2. Do not accept anything less than the best. Men tend to go in the direction women set for them in relationships.  It has been that way since Adam. Part of it is the natural way energy flows(from the positive to the negative) but there are other factors.  Men who like women genuinely want to please them.  
      3. Don’t waste time and energy on men who do not like and respect women. 
      3. Refuse to be manipulative. It is way too easy. 
      4. At some point you will have to have the courage to allow a man to see you.

    • So many replies!  Thank you to all.  Especially to Michael, with so much good advice (as always).
      Re: advice particular to me — My husband and I have known each other since we were 5.  We divorced 3+ years ago.  I am 33.  I understand that single adulthood is not blessed, *especially* single parenthood, but I am unable to envision a life without my husband as he has always, always been in my life.  I do not believe that divorce is possible when co-parenting a young child.
      I have developed a number of seemingly insurmountable problems since he left.  The worst of these are problems of my heart.  Anger, unrefined = crude = cruel words, and a general sense of being pregnant with a secret chaos that comes from being terrified of the person I trusted, of witnessing an inexplicable personality change after a lifetime of knowledge, and of my own constant isolation, which makes it impossible for me to articulate and thus sort out my thoughts.
      I regretted my post above after I wrote it, seeing the cruelty in it.  I tend to have these outbursts on this blog for some reason.  Please pray for me.
      I agree with all the advice given and will write it down and read it over from time to time.
      Re: feminism — I like to think that feminism just means “equal respect for the sexes.”  I think of the Church as feminist because it takes *such good care* of women and allows women to be women.  Michael, you are probably right to disassociate this word “feminism” with what’s respectful of women.  I wish there was a word for this particular manner of elevating women and considering them equal (in terms of spiritual potential), while placing them in the role that is most beneficial for them and others.
      Re: The questions that I posed.  I want to state that I think the Church does a great job with taking care of widows and single mothers.  I am also a firm believer that almost all of us need to live with less (myself included).  I recall that the Russian Church built (last year?) an entire apartment complex for single mothers, which I think is incredible.
      The questions were meant to spur a man who was looking to be a hero to say, “Ah, maybe if I volunteer to help the widows in my congregation, word will spread through the women of my good deeds, and they will match me with a young maiden.”
      I do not know about the interpretation of St. Paul.  As monastic men wear their hair long, I am prone to believe that we apply the words of the fathers in the context of the entire tradition and that we apply the words of the fathers similarly to the manner in which we apply cannon law, neither of which I know nearly enough about.
      Hope you all have a peaceful week.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I think it’s good that you’re going for definition when it comes to what it means to be a “feminist.” There are some who would argue that a woman having a mind of her own, even IF she submits to her husband, makes her a feminist.

        There are even one or two who think merely being born female makes a woman a “feminist” who has to be slapped down to learn her place.

        I wouldn’t even slap down a dog, but that’s just me.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Nor would I, my dear.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Michelle, blogs can bring out the worst in people. It takes a concerted effort not to follow the emotion of the moment.   
          Feminism as with any such … ism is an ideology and therefore untrue.  
          As I have told many women over the years Jesus Christ is the key.  Without His Incarnation women would still be largely chattel slaves.   
          Without women there would be no community however.   The Church has the truth even if we do not always live it as we should. 

    • Hahaha….what complete, unadulterated jibberish. Kill the men, then blame them for it. 
      In observing the young single gals in my parish, all I can say is that I fully get why none of the single guys in my parish wish to have anything at all to do with them. 

      • Johann Sebastian says

        There are none in mine.

        Lots of men, though.

      • Daniel F.

        Blame you ask?  
        Blame the parents of those girls for not teaching them modesty or spirituality.
        Blame the priests who don’t take a stand to speak out about one’s behavior or dress in church… they only care for filling up the pews & won’t make waves.
        Blame liberal media contaminating Society where nobody knows their dignified place & manners are obsolete.

        Blame ourselves & All individuals that allow secular machine to be the “Elder” — when we allow friends or spouses to become “Idols” instead of seeking out holy mentors, even if it’s only found in books 

        • Michael Bauman says

          Daniel, the path of righteousness can be found no matter what the current circumstances.  I am a man. I can speak to what I have learned as a man.  But I sm also not of the younger generation yet I have seen many fine women who are young. 
          My wife and I are just starting Chapter 5 of “The Ethics of Beauty” which is about the sexual/gender dichotomy. My wife asked me to read it with her to guide her in understanding the ethos of Orthodox thought as that is still quite new to her. 
          Take hope. The two actions I would advise anyone looking for a mate to take are to be chaste and pray to Our Lady to send them a God loving mate.  
          Then work hard while you are waiting to prepare yourself to receive the person. 

        • Michael Bauman says

          Sage-girl, blame?  All of the things you mention can be included in what the Church calls “the world”.  We can do almost nothing to overcome the world in anyone else — only ourselves. The good news is that I can overcome it in myself by following a spiritual discipline in Christ of repentance prayer, fasting, almsgiving and worship.
          That is the path our elders have described.  The details are unique for each person so having a spiritual father or mother is important. 
          One thing I have found is there is no blame in repentance. Cause and effect in such matters is notoriously slippery as all things work together for good in a repentent heart.
          Indeed assigning blame is just what Adam and Eve did in the Garden.  They each looked everywhere but their own heart.  
          You are right in this sense that a strong community would actively encourage and support a life of devotion to Jesus that would make it less difficult but it still comes down to me recognizing my own sin and failure and crying out for mercy. That is the essence of the Cross.  “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” is both a saving prayer on Jesus’ lips and a command for us to go and do likewise.  
          It is not other people’s words and actions and inactions for which I must give account, but my own.  
          Further the deep evil of our times, the modern project, lies in the demonic temptation to force everybody into “proper behavior and thought”
          The result we can see in so many major cities.  … And in the chasm that exists between men and women.

          The troubles I have had in marriage relate to my unwillingness to repent for my sins both to God and to my spouse while demanding she change. As head I must set the example. In approaching marriage I had to do the same thing.

          Any good marriage I know of the man really thinks that they are unworthy of their wife–not out of some beta submissiveness but out of a deep recognition the grace of God.

          That being said our culture makes it exceptionally difficult for men to like and trust women and women to like and trust men. That is why I told Michelle to learn to like men (even our male idiosyncratic side).

          The same goes for men–even more if we are to be head and husband. It is impossible to love what you do not like and impossible to husband (nurture and protect) what you do not love.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Daniel again, this assessment of the young women in your parish is unkind. Perhaps you should consider moving to another parish? I’m not trying to be snarky but in my own experience, I have found that when I try to be more loving to people and merciful of their station in life, my heart changes for the better.

        Case in point: when I was younger (middle-aged), like many middle-class people, I often looked down on people who came to church in casual attire. Until I realized that some of these seekers were un- or underemployed and couldn’t afford nice three-piece suits. In getting to know them, I came to realize that many of them were sincere Christians who needed a spiritual refuge.

        We Greeks have a saying: “Before marriage, keep both eyes open, after marriage, close one eye”. The parish is very much like a marriage in that in a parish, we are all “married” (so to speak) to each other. Therefore, we should try to bear each others’ burdens. I guess what I’m trying to say is if there are young people in your parish who don’t put off the correct “vibe”, stop and consider for a moment that they’re even in church in the first place. In our post-Christian (dare I say anti-Christian) world, that to me says a lot.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Michelle, if I may, I believe the Church to be a feminine institution, not a “feminist” one.  The Church is the Bride of Christ, in the same way that Israel was the Bride of the Father in the Old Covenant. 

      She is our Mother and that is why through Her canons, rites and teachings, She expresses Her love for us.  Just as our own earthly mothers do.

    • Dear Michelle:
      For an Orthodox viewpoint which transcends all our secular isms and unlocks the true icon of Christ nature given to each person (male and female) to show us the Royal Path, please read Fr Seraphim Rose’s SUBLIME compendium of the Orthodox Saints and Holy Fathers “Genesis, Creation and Early Man”.  The first chapters expose how  we were made to be by God and why the Commandments and this beautiful view of self as female without stain and other as male without stain (as icons of Christ) and vice versa gives us the Orthodox heavenly HEALING perspective on the old sad fallen dilemmas which set icons of Christ against one another, as happens with either feminism or misogyny.  

      After our Fall and our tortured existence as humanity as a consequence, we were blessed with the Most-Holy Theotokos as the new Eve and our incarnated Lord Jesus Christ as the new Adam for our healing and restoration.  Emulating each of them leads to radically different spirits and actions on our part which promote love and healing rather than accusation or triumphalism of one over the other, neither of which are apparent in Our Lord or His Mother anywhere.

      As this blog reveals, every man and woman is wounded by experience in the fallen world which offers no healing or understanding and we are tempted to blame the other especially who is different from us out of our hurt, rather than to identify with the pain from the fallen world each has experienced from the opposite sex directly or indirectly. Our compassion hopefully will lead us to suffer with the other but never to take vengeance by insulting words or seeking to triump OVER another. Please may we all remember or become aware of our true foundation in Christ and Panaghia to begin our healing not by accusing others but by becoming like either the new Eve or the new Adam as appropriate.  That change will encourage the other to be who he or she is meant to be.

      Dormition is upon us, so please excuse my fervor.  I so long for women to see and follow our role model, who is the holiest and most humble of totally human beings.  We are so blessed to be women because of Panaghia. And anecdotally I have seen many a woman who emulates and prays to Our Most Holy Theotokos and becomes more like her increasingly influence more than one man and ditto with a man dedicated to become like Our Lord who is healing for women. Loving not opposing or critiquing.

      Please pray for me because anyone who knows me knows how far I am from being like her or her Son!  But I am eternally grateful for both and for Traditional Orthodoxy whose writers like Fr Seraphim truly understand, treasure and share the Healing Truth about our natures and our All Holy Trinity which our culture does not.

  17. Michael Bauman says

    Another incident that will warm the cockels of women’s hearts everywhere the story that a man walked out on his wife because her ovarian cancer made it impossible for her to conceive and she had refused to have children earlier.  
    No commitment or trust by either party. The utter selfishness is astounding. Transactional marriage is not marriage. 

  18. Michael Bauman says

    FTS, “a network of older Christian men…” We could start one.  

  19. Michael Bauman says
    • Oh, that’s healthy and Christian!  Reminds me of the Dixie Chicks and Earl.  Then they criticized Bush overseas and for years had nothing but babies.  Cheers.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yeah, and now, Natalie Maines (the leader singer of the Dixie Chicks) says that “she could make out with W”. What an idiot. For the eight year that Bush was president, he was chimphitler. Now he’s OK I guess.

        Do these idiots not have any shame?

        And don’t get me started on the whole Dixie Chicks —> Chicks/Lady Antebellum —> Lady A thing. Like Othello, they “threw away their pearl”, and for what? For success? Their “successes” over the last few years have been ephemeral at best.

  20. Michael Bauman says

    Misha, I mean it an affectionate and humorous way. For one thing the whole musical is a bit of an exposition on how women can manipulate the legal system in just the manner you rightfully lament.  All you really have to do is eschew the physical chastisement which to me is your own version of “She Had It Comin’  That is what made me recall that song in the first place. 
    Just remember, “in the course of justice, none of us should see salvation”. 
    Forgive me for offending you.  That was not my intent.  

  21. Michael Bauman says

    Folks, feminism has not changed human nature–who God created us to be: male and female He created us for a holy reason.  Our so-called culture has attacked that holiness with a vengence and seems to be successful. However, God is still with us. His will for us has not changed but seriously maybe there should be a large influx of monastics?  
    Of course that would require a willingness to be obedient. A will which is seriously eroded by our general lack of trust of each other that the evil one foments on all fronts.  
    As Patitsas writes the essence of the mistrust between men and women is that we betrayed each other in the Garden. We still carry a memory of that betrayal around in our souls. 
    The economic philosophies of our time also put extraordinary pressure on families. 
    Still, God does not leave us. The simple disciplines of repentance, prayer, fasting, almsgiving and worship are still the key.  Also a little humor here and there does not hurt.
    God brought two extraordinary women into my life (not easy women) when I prayed for a wife. The first was in 1979. We married in 1980. She reposed 24 years later.  Then again as a true economia in 2009.  
    I stumbled and fell a lot, repentance being my chief tool of recovery not used often enough by me.  It has often been a struggle financially, socially and in matters of faith. I have wounded my wives and they wounded me.  That is life or a part of it. By God’s grace none of the wounds have been fatal. Nevertheless a marriage can be killed by a thousand paper cuts just as easily as one massive blow.  
    Jesus’ call from the beginning of His ministry has not changed: “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”.   Neither have His words from the Cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”
    This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

  22. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Does a man want a wife? Here’s my advice. 
    Get an education and get a job. Work hard at both. 
    Stay away from drugs and lay off the booze. Eliminate resentments, grievances, and anger from your life.
    Go to church. Establish a basic Christian way of life. If you are Orthodox, don’t confine your search only to the Orthodox. There are a lot of fish in the Christian oceans still, as my ma would have said. Just how it is in the wild West.
    Set up no hoops for women to jump through, beyond good character and decency. Park your obsessions elsewhere, then lose them.
    Long life tells me that women have a lot more trouble finding good husbands than vice versa. Say what you may. The complaints of bitter men carry little weight. The issue is success, not failure.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Tim, your second paragraph is a recipe for confession.  I would add that while working to conform oneself to God’s will, pray for a Godly woman.  Amazing things happen. Then the adventure begins.  God is merciful and kind. 

    • …and don’t wait until you think you can afford it.  Part of the beauty of marriage is struggling together.  The primary question is not whether you can afford to be married; it is whether you are ready to lay down your life for your wife (and she for you).  Don’t believe the conventional wisdom that you need  to be a certain age.  The conventional wisdom of our time assumes sex outside of marriage – which makes it easier to wait for marriage but also destroys the bond of marriage as intended by God.  The responsibilities of marriage and parenthood have a way of nurturing maturity if one has the courage to face them.  One can choose to grow up; it’s a decision, not an age.   There are many men my age whom I know whose children are still in elementary school because they chose to ‘play’ until they were in their late 30’s or early 40’s and/or wait for the four or more bedroom house with three or more baths, a three-car garage, and some luxury vehicles.  I am now enjoying my eight grandchildren and still have the energy to do so. They may be lucky to see their children get married.
      Neither get yourself buried in debt.  Live within your means, whatever that is.  It can be done if you don’t allow yourself to be ruled by foolish passions or the expectations of consumerism. 
      But having said this, I do very much share George’s empathy for the young in terms of how increasingly difficult it is to get an economic start in life.  Housing in particular (home or apartment) in a safe neighborhood at a reasonable cost is next to impossible to find these days.  No one, for example, now builds what used to be called “starter homes” (2 or 3 bedrooms with a bath in decent neighborhoods), and those that already exist tend to be in neighborhoods that are less than desirable for starting a family.  
      My heart goes out to the young.  Particularly to those who desire to be godly.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        You can never afford it. It never pencils out. But notwithstanding all the talk of despair, these days you can’t starve in this country; there’s always enough chicken and hamburger.
        We were married at 19. We had strong and supportive families, but we rejected financial help; I got a swing-shift job and went to college in the mornings. We had our third child at age 22, just after I graduated. 
        Our first child graduated from high school when we were 38, our second at 39, our third when we were forty. Our fifth and last finished college when we were 52, by which time we had seven grandchildren.
        I could go on; and I will, because most of our children were married young in turn. We at 72 have many adult grandkids; three also married young. They are working hard and looking forward. All the offspring are Christians; several I would call very devout. Several are even Orthodox; not bad for a Presbyterian dad.
        And we aren’t alone among our friends. Frankly I get tired of putting my oar in on this topic, but it perhaps is some small counter to the negativity. Finger pointing, blame, excuses, world-weariness, all so useless.
        We are given life, the only real gift. Live it. Bury it in the ground, and you will answer for it.

        • I agree, Tim. 
          Have faith.  Take courage.  Be positive – not in the Norman Vincent Peale sense, but in the knowledge that God is with us and for us.  Do it His way, wait upon Him, and He blesses richly.  In my case beyond anything I could have anticipated or imagined.
          I was married slightly before the age of 19 with the hearty blessing of both sets of our parents.  It was 1980, a time when the economy and unemployment in historically industrialized areas like ours was far worse than either the beginning of the Obama years or the depth of the COVID economy earlier this year.  Mortgage interest rates were in the 18% range – almost unbelievably high to anyone who is now under the age of 38.  We lived in a tiny two-bedroom house in a neighborhood few would have chosen.  But we were content.  God provided and protected.  Our readers would laugh out loud if I were to reveal the salary of my first decent job, landed a year into our marriage; but I was thrilled to obtain it.  Not to change the subject, but I did speak of doing it God’s way: though we had little, we always tithed on that little – not from any sense of ‘legal’ obligation, but as a tangible way of placing ourselves in a position of having to trust in God for our needs.  Our first-born came in 1984, and by the time he was ready for kindergarten our faithful God provided the means for us to move to a better area with safer schools. 
          His blessings since have been both amazing and wholly undeserved.  My wife and I often say to one another, “Did you ever dream our life would be as it is?”  All we can say is Glory to God.
          Was it all easy?  Heavens no!  We worked hard.  We struggled.  We often worried (foolishly so).   We fought at times.  But God was with us.  In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 
          We are now approaching 40 years, and my bride is (quite literally) more beautiful now than the day we first met.  Me not so much.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Brian, we have had many parallel experiences, though our journey began in 1967. When we bought a house in 1979 our mortgage interest rate was 9 1/2 %…as you say, it went up even higher later! And you had to have saved 20% for a down payment to get a mortgage loan; something that took years to amass in itself.
            When I have the opportunity, I always encourage the young to dive into life, marry early and just get going. Life is not serial: first education, then good job, then marriage, then kids after several years. It all happens at the same time, and is best that way. One thing is for sure, especially for men: you know what you gotta do!

  23. Michael Bauman says

    For those who are in despair 

  24. Michael Bauman says

    For anyone who wants to explore the theological and spiritual foundation of marriage and what male and female are I suggest the work of Dr. Timothy Patitsas. Chapter 5 of his work The Ethics of Beauty and his prior article in St. Valdimir’s Theological Quarterly Vol 51. 
    Although I do not like his use of the term “gender” in his hands it is transformed somewhat.  
    “The world sees gender as a source of oppression, as something ugly; the world is traumatized by gender, because in responding to it wrongly the world has indeed made it a source of oppression”
    Thus the oppression and despair voiced by several here.  That is the way of the world but in Christ that is redeemed and set in proper order.  We can all learn from men like Tim R. Mortis live it naturally.  Unfortunately many more struggle to find and live the truth.   
    Nevertheless, whether it is Tim R Mortis, Timothy Patitas, Brian, FTS or me, we share a common vision of the beauty and salvific energy and grace that God intends in the loving submitted equally yoke partnership of a man and a woman in marriage.  
    The father of lies has seeded our minds and hearts with ugliness and untruthful existential circumstance to create pain. We do not need to succumb to the lies.  
    Hard, seemingly impossible yes. Worth every ounce of struggle pain and failure, you bet. 
    My own vision has been formed over decades but it began by contemplating two pieces of Scripture: The Book of Job(man) and The Magnificat(woman).   
    Tim R has just done it. Praise be to God.
    Dr. Patitsas writes from a profound recognition of the gift of being male and female together under the Cross. 
    As Tim R says, do not bury your life under mounds of ugly despair, live as God intends and even if you fail, you will live truly. 
    Glory to God. 

  25. Tim R. Mortiss says

    I would not lay it on too thick, Michael. But it’s true our approach to marriage and family is rather straightforward and not especially complicated.
    Marriage is, after all, pretty much the common experience of mankind down the ages! 

  26. “The Mother of God Destroys Secularism & Feminism” by Fr Josiah.
    The Orthodox understanding of persons heals all persons afflicted with secularism and feminism (and misogyny imho).

    From a psych perspective we have always known that an abused or disrespected child is more likely to identify with the aggressor (mom or dad) in the household just to “stay safe.” Father’s depiction of a confused woman apeing a male to become more like him fits perfectly. Also lovely to hear him say yet again that the Most Holy Theotokos is the holiest all-human person ever to live. That’s enough of an affirmation of the feminine and role model for me. And interestingly, she like her Son does not insist on ruling though if any one human could be trusted to rule beautifully that would be she. Christ washing the feet of the disciples and sacrificing Himself for us and his Mother staying quiet and humble and loving with her counsel being sought, respected and treasured by the Disciples (And the monks on Mt Athos and everywhere) — isn’t this part of the Orthodox ideal of marriage as well? May she rule in all our hearts as she does in those of the Saints, male and female.

    Fr Josiah also has an absolutely beautiful homily on the NC Dormition just posted as well on Patristic Nectar.

  27. Michael Bauman says

    Nicole, indeed it is. I regret not bringing into the conversation. She is critical to the health of male-female synergy and fecundity especially in marriage.
    She is the “New Eve”


    Fr Hans Jacobse has A good intro to pertinent article by David and Mary on Marriage