Prospective groom gets sage advice on marriage

Photo: wetu.com Photo: wetu.com
    

The state requires a license to wed, but unlike a driver's license there's no test of competence (nor, as with professional licenses, an expectation of prior training). You can stumble into the potential hazards of marriage with as little "hassle" as renting a car -- with results that can damage not just a couple, but the society that must pick up after them.

With churches, the bar should be higher. I try, with a six-week premarital class whose manual states that if a couple decides not to marry afterward, such outcome is still a success.

And the men of my parish have set out to raise that bar by instituting a tradition called a timios. From the Greek for "honored" -- as in "marriage must be honored" (Hebrews 13:4) -- a timios is an opportunity for the older, wiser, married men of the community to collectively impart accumulated wisdom and straight talk to a would-be groom.

Picture 20 bearded men sitting around a fire, eating grilled meat and drinking cold beer -- and most importantly, taking turns offering sage advice to a wide-eyed novice. That's what I was in on last night, as we did our best to instill sobriety (mixed with scotch) to a young brother planning to wed next month. Beginning with the longest married, and continuing to recent timios grads, wisdom flowed like wine.

At 46 years, our senior veteran shared that the work never stops. Every day is a struggle to overcome things about yourself that continue to be revealed to you in the intimacy of union with another. From our 39-year vet, widowed last December, an admonition to take no day, no hour, no moment for granted -- but treasure your life together as a gift that can disappear in a moment.

A brother with 36 years shared that he and his wife embarked on their journey with an explicit policy they'd always be willing to talk about anything, anytime. No matter how painful the subject, or inopportune the moment, the question, "Can we talk?" is a call to attention.

Coming with 30 years' experience, the next offering was a call to one idea: validation. Don't fall into the man-trap of ignoring (or merely grunting) when your wife's trying to tell you something. Give her your attention (and respect), even if inside you could care less what she's talking about. Fake it 'til you make it.

The pearls kept dropping, as the sky grew darker and the cooler empty. I don't know that I've ever had more fun, talking about anything more serious. I hope I was listening as keenly as our new inductee, and got as much from the night as him.

Timios: if your community doesn't have one, ask your pastor's blessing to start. It's the least we can do for brothers entering into marriage (and their wives) -- and the least we can do for society.

See also
Recipes for Saving Families, from a Priest and a Psychologist Recipes for Saving Families, from a Priest and a Psychologist
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov, Nadezhda Khramova, Farida Savelyeva
Divorces are a real disaster of our times. Broken lives, the loss of any hope of building personal happiness, unhappy children who are very likely to imitate the behavior pattern of adults, the inevitable diminishing of the role of family and family values in the society—these are the most evident consequences of divorces.
Rules of Family Life Rules of Family Life
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
Rules of Family Life Rules of Family Life
The Grammar of Family Life, Part 5
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
Archpriest Paul Gumerov speaks about what is most important in family life, which rules are necessary to obey to live long and happily, and what to follow and what to avoid.
The Mystery of Marriage—the Spiritual Foundation of the Family The Mystery of Marriage—the Spiritual Foundation of the Family
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
The Mystery of Marriage—the Spiritual Foundation of the Family The Mystery of Marriage—the Spiritual Foundation of the Family
The Grammar of Family Life, Part 4
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
Why is it necessary to get crowned in the Church? What is the symbolism of the rings and crowns? Why do the bride and groom stand facing east during the crowning? What does the phrase “to love as you love yourself” mean? What is the proper understanding of the words: “A wife should fear her husband?”
The First Year of Marriage The First Year of Marriage
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
The First Year of Marriage The First Year of Marriage
Grammar of Family Life, Part 3
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
What helps to overcome difficulties in the first year of marriage? What habits should become the norm? Is it worth it to fear conflicts? How should we build relationships with our parents? And why should we study psychology? Archpriest Paul Gumerov speaks on all of this in this installment of our conversation.
Relationships Before Marriage Relationships Before Marriage
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
Relationships Before Marriage Relationships Before Marriage
The Grammar of Family Life, Part 2
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
Why is the candy and flowers phase of a relationship so important? What qualities are necessary for a future spouse—husband and wife? What must they discuss with one another? How to deal with the inadequacies of our chosen one?
Deciding to Enter into Marriage Deciding to Enter into Marriage
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
Deciding to Enter into Marriage Deciding to Enter into Marriage
The Grammar of Family Life, Part 1
Archpriest Pavel Gumerov
The first conversation in the cycle is devoted to problems that young men and women ask themselves as they consider marriage: what is the purpose of marriage from the point of view of a Christian, how to choose a partner in life, whether to blindly succumb to the feeling of infatuation, whether they should necessarily get married, and whether marriage with the heterodox and others is possible for an Orthodox Christian.
Comments
Isaac8/1/2017 8:20 pm
No such class for the women? No wives getting together to explain, for example, how to respect her husband, how not to complain about him, how to be grateful, meek, prayerful, and (*gasp*) obedient?
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 700 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook , or enter your information:
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 700

×