When You See That Your Spouse Is Out of Sorts

Elder Proclu was a spiritual son of Archimandrite Cleopa (Ilie) and faithfully followed his instructions all his life. In 1959, a campaign to close monasteries and convents began in Romania. With the blessing of Elder Cleopa, Monk Proclu returned to his native village and began to live as a hermit in a wretched hut. He spent the remaining fifty years of his life in ascetic labors, peacefully falling asleep in the Lord on January 27, 2017, at the age of eighty-eight.

We offer our readers the elder’s advice on how to maintain peace in the family.

Father, what do you tell young people who come to you?

—What can I tell them? This is how it goes. First of all, I receive young married people here no matter whether they have children or not. Many are coming, but young couples who want to be happy are my top priority. And I tell them: “Look, this is how it works. If the devil torments you with harsh experiences and misfortunes, or if you see your spouse upset, know that then you shouldn’t scold him or her. Say to yourself what I say to myself, ‘Okay, I won’t say anything to him now. Tomorrow I’ll say what I wanted to say!’

“Only in this way will you be able not to irritate each other. Only in this way will you find peace and not reach the point that many of you know better than I do. So, say, ‘Okay, tomorrow I’ll tell him what I wanted to say. I’ll wait until tomorrow for God’s sake! And tomorrow, if it’s quieter, we’ll sit down and talk, and I’ll tell him where he was wrong and who was right.’”

Your Reverence, do you do that yourself?

—That’s what I do!

But why? What is the point of this? After all, if I wait until tomorrow, the other one may think that I am silent because he is doing a good thing, that he is right. What’s the point in waiting then?

—There’s a meaning in this. Do you know why I do this?

Listen. A spiritual father once told me: “Brother, if the devil starts inciting you to say something bad to someone, tell yourself this, ‘I’ll tell him everything I want, but not today. I’ll tell him tomorrow! Tomorrow I’ll tell him everything, and what I wanted to say today too.’”

You ask what is the use of this? It’s patience, and that’s how you learn it. Let’s endure, for God’s sake, at least until tomorrow.

But, father, if a husband comes home angry for some unknown reason, begins to find fault with his wife and scold her for nothing, what should she do? Be silent until tomorrow?

—Yes. Let her be silent. Let her wait until tomorrow, until he has calmed down.

The whole point is that he should calm down and not do something worse while he’s on edge, right? After all, this can happen.

—Maybe. But you see, there is a true and wise word known among the people, and it will be good for you to know it. It teaches thus: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God (Jm. 1:20). So it is indeed!

Married couples, husbands and wives, come to me. And I tell them this: “When you see that your husband is out of sorts, you as a wife shouldn’t scold him. After all, when a person is upset, he says what shouldn’t be said without wanting to. And so, discord grows”.

That is, should she leave her husband alone and mind her own business?

—Not leave him alone, but guide him onto a good path. When he is upset, let her leave him alone; but when she can find mutual understanding with him, let her guide him onto a good path.

But can a wife do that?

—Surely she can; why not? Someone told me these true words: “A wife can make her husband good or bad.” It is true. The only wise wife is one who can bring her husband to confession, who can stand at night for prayer with him, and who can teach him not to judge people wrongly. That is, if she does all this, then she is a wife who can guide her husband to salvation.

One day a couple came to me to complain that at home they argued all the time. The husband said that she had said heaven knows what, and the wife argued that it had been him. In the end, this conflict reached the ears of their relatives, and those narrow-minded people intervened and pressured them to get a divorce. The two of them came to me so I could give them some advice, and say a word for their good.

Both were standing here, and once they looked at each other, tears would begin to flow. They didn’t get married to get divorced.

I made them promise that from now on neither he nor she would remember what had happened, that they would not reproach each other for anything, and that they would live as if they had been born again that day. And so I reconciled them. I said to them: “If your relatives are so much at enmity with each other, the sell your house and buy another, somewhere far away from the kinsfolk who have interfered in your family life.”

I also said: “The more often you go to confession and make the sign of the cross over your pillow and faces, the more the Holy Spirit will help you and drive these spirits away from you.”

From the book: Fr. Proclu (Nicau), Words of Instruction from a Hermit from the Neamt Mountains, compiled by Fabian Anton (Părintele Proclu Nicău, pustniculdin Munţii Neamţului. Cuvintedinchilie. Fabian Anton, Editura Lumea Credinței, 2008).

Monk Proclu (Nicau)
Translation from the Russian version by Dmitry Lapa



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