On the Undefiled Marital Bed
by George S. Gabriel, Ph. D
“As he spoke, eyebrow after eyebrow was raised. A deep blush moved across the faces in his audience, betraying souls gripped by embarrassment at his words. He was exalting “the rich pleasure” of marital love that makes husband and wife one flesh: “Their intercourse accomplishes the joining of their bodies, and they are made one, just as when perfume is mixed with ointment.” The speaker, was John (Chrysostom), Archbishop of Constantinople, speaking to his flock 1,600 years ago. He knew his audience wel “My words embarrass many of you, and the reason for your shame is your own licentiousness. Why else would you be ashamed at what is honourable, or blush at what is undefiled? I want to restore marriage to its due nobility and to silence those heretics who call it evil. Some of you call my words immodest because I speak of the nature of marriage, which is honourable. By calling my words immodest, you condemn God, the author of marriage.”23
Then as now, the influence of pagan philosophical ideas about matter and the body caused some Christians to feel that marital love is impure and defiling. In those days, several sects that were condemned by the Church advanced this evil view that St John Chrysostom speaks against so strongly. St Basil the Great calls these sects “heretics who abominate marriage and call polluted what God has created.”24
Ultimately, their influence was greatest in the West because, through Augustine’s (Manichean) teachings, they shaped the Latin Church’s refracted and punitive view of marriage up to the present day.25 It is a view that sees marriage and marital love as a vulgar instrument for a higher good, i.e., reproduction or procreation, and not as a healing mystery in its own right. In other words, marital love is not a good thing in itself; only when spouses approach the marital act with the conscious intention of procreation is it exempt from condemnation.
The consciences of Orthodox Christian spouses need not be laden with these alien burdens, but too often this is the case. What follows here is not a survey of marriage in general, or an exhaustive study of our topic of sexuality and marital relations. It is offered simply as a helping hand to lift away these “heavy burdens [that are] grievous to be borne” (Mt.23:4).”
Continue to read this excellent article about the marriage relationship, created and instituted by God, HERE!
I have been married for several years, just over 41. The wife of my youth is my best friend and the one that God has created just for me, so that we could leave our father and mother and become one.
In today’s society and world, secularism/humanism has told us not to worry about having just one spouse; the one God has given you, for life. We are told we are disposable and replaceable. God did not create us that way. He created us to love each other, for life.
The evil one has always tried to ruin what God has created and he continues to influence many every day. Prayer, Fasting and obedience to Christ’s commandments; living your life for Jesus; Spiritual warfare taught to us through the Holy Bible, the Orthodox Church, and in consultation with your Priest, will keep you as one, with your spouse.
“The “good portion,” the true mystery of marriage, therefore, must not be hidden under a bushel. This mystery embraces the divine creation of marital love, love that is blameless and without guilt, love that is crowned with the descent of the Holy Spirit. While heretical doctrines say the marital chamber is defiling, Orthodoxy exalts it as an image of the holy sepulchre aglow with the loving union of the risen Bridegroom and His Bride. And the union of husband and wife completes the unity of their human nature and is an image of the unity of the Holy Trinity: “The two have become one. This is not an empty symbol. They have not become the image of anything on earth, but of God Himself.”