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Author Topic: What do I do, My priest doesn't do premarital counseling!?  (Read 4082 times) Average Rating: 0
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Branthony
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« on: March 08, 2014, 11:10:17 PM »

Hi everyone, Me and my Fiancée are in a bit of a pickle. The priest, whom I love dearly and is my confessor, is going to preform our wedding ceremony but he says he doesn't do premarital counseling. He says it's because "we don't listen anyway" but since he is an unmarried priest I think some of the things that are discussed could embarrass him. Either way he won't do it. I had hoped to get an older OCA priest in the area to do it. He is very wise and I trust him, his son is my God father, but he is getting very old now and I've spoken to him more than once about doing this for us but he doesn't remember between talks. It is as if we are speaking about it again for the first time each time. I am worried because of this that either we'll never get it done or that our counseling will be incomplete due to his memory issues. there are only three parishes in the area and the Greek parish no longer has a priest. The priest that was there before would have been very good I think but there is no reason to consider him since he is gone. I do not have a close relationship with any other priest, and she doesn't either. The priest doesn't actually have to be in our area exactly because one of us will have to be on skype even if the priest is in the area because we don't live in the same state. So the problem is, how the heck do we find a priest. Do you think this is an "any ol' priest will do" situation or what? Please if any of you have any suggestions I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2014, 11:42:42 AM »

Given the above, do you really think you need counseling?  What is it about marriage that you do not understand?  My wife and I have been married 33 years and did not have counseling.  And the only advice that I got (not to marry her) I ignored and am happy that I did. So, unless you are one of these Moronodox that cannot go potty without asking a Priest, consider your story as a sign and get married.  If you just HAVE to talk to someone, find an older couple that have been married a very long time and ask them some questions.  You will learn more from them than an unmarried Priest anyway.
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2014, 01:49:48 PM »

Some states give discounts on marriage licenses if you've had counseling. Some states may even require counseling to get married.

If this is the situation, find anyone who qualifies to give you the counseling. Or, explain the state requirements to your priest and have him give you just enough counseling to qualify for the government discount/requirement. He can leave out the icky bits.

« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 01:50:09 PM by Rambam » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 06:47:37 PM »

Premarital counseling is not required, and in some cases, depending on who's doing it, may not be all that helpful. There are a number of books one could check out about preparing for marriage--they don't have to be Orthodox books.
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 06:48:35 PM »

Some states give discounts on marriage licenses if you've had counseling. Some states may even require counseling to get married.

If this is the situation, find anyone who qualifies to give you the counseling. Or, explain the state requirements to your priest and have him give you just enough counseling to qualify for the government discount/requirement. He can leave out the icky bits.



I seriously doubt any state requires counseling prior to marriage, at least in the United States. That sounds really bizarre.
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 09:40:33 PM »

What do you mean when the priest says "you don't listen anyways?"  Is that true?  Is this situation only for you or for other soon-to-be-married couples at your church?  Do you or others spurn his advice?  If so, maybe it is with good reason that he doesn't counsel you.  I think his being unmarried clergy is irrelevant.
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 11:09:47 PM »

What do you mean when the priest says "you don't listen anyways?"  Is that true?  Is this situation only for you or for other soon-to-be-married couples at your church?  Do you or others spurn his advice?  If so, maybe it is with good reason that he doesn't counsel you.  I think his being unmarried clergy is irrelevant.

he said this about all couples preparing for marriage, He is my Confessor and I am very attentive to what he has to say. as I said, I honestly believe this is simply an excuse, We kind of argued today about this, he says we don't need this at all and we disagree.  During out "argument" he asked why we think we need it, I told him we have questions. When he asked for an example, I told him "fasting", he said we already know how to fast. when I told him I didn't mean fasting from food he blushed, and all he said is that is something we discuss with each other not him or any other priest. However, after talking to my friend, we have decided to go to the OCA priest for it. While his memory may be bad, as long as he lays out topics for each meeting he doesn't have to remember what we said each session. He is a very good priest, and he has taught at more than one of our seminaries in both the US and Europe. I think he will work out fine. 
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 02:08:11 AM »

Eh, perhaps -- I know in Oklahoma, you get half-off the price of the license if you get counseling. They've tried a few times to make it mandatory here. I assumed if we were crazy enough to try that at least one state is crazier than us and actually made it mandatory, but on Googling, it appears that isn't the case.

Some states give discounts on marriage licenses if you've had counseling. Some states may even require counseling to get married.

If this is the situation, find anyone who qualifies to give you the counseling. Or, explain the state requirements to your priest and have him give you just enough counseling to qualify for the government discount/requirement. He can leave out the icky bits.



I seriously doubt any state requires counseling prior to marriage, at least in the United States. That sounds really bizarre.
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 06:40:41 AM »

Hi everyone, Me and my Fiancée are in a bit of a pickle. The priest, whom I love dearly and is my confessor, is going to preform our wedding ceremony but he says he doesn't do premarital counseling. He says it's because "we don't listen anyway" but since he is an unmarried priest I think some of the things that are discussed could embarrass him.

Here's how it works.

Give it a week or two. Then you need to ask a second time. Say you thought about it but want him to do the counselling.

If he says no.

Then give it another week or two and then you ask a third time.

If he says no the third time, then you don't get counselling. Don't buy a book or get counselling from another source. It means that you don't trust God will look after your marriage.

You only ask him a total of 3 times and then if he still says no, that is final. When you have a problem in marriage I'm sure he'll be there for each situation that arises.

But remember the 3 times rule. I'm sure he'll say yes.
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 06:48:38 AM »

There's no such thing as a '3 times rule'. That's just nonsense.

If you have such an issue with your doctor, it is not only advisable but recommended to get a second opinion. Same here.

Perhaps the counseling won't teach the couple anything that they didn't know already, but it can work towards getting them in the right frame of mind to approach their impending commitment.
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2014, 06:54:57 AM »

There's no such thing as a '3 times rule'. That's just nonsense.

If you have such an issue with your doctor, it is not only advisable but recommended to get a second opinion. Same here.

Perhaps the counseling won't teach the couple anything that they didn't know already, but it can work towards getting them in the right frame of mind to approach their impending commitment.

Your reply is seeded from your own idol/ego. That's the difference between my reply and yours.
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 06:57:12 AM »

There's no such thing as a '3 times rule'. That's just nonsense.

If you have such an issue with your doctor, it is not only advisable but recommended to get a second opinion. Same here.

Perhaps the counseling won't teach the couple anything that they didn't know already, but it can work towards getting them in the right frame of mind to approach their impending commitment.

Your reply is seeded from your own idol/ego. That's the difference between my reply and yours.

The difference is that my reply makes sense. Go play now.
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 07:22:03 AM »

There's no such thing as a '3 times rule'. That's just nonsense.

If you have such an issue with your doctor, it is not only advisable but recommended to get a second opinion. Same here.

Perhaps the counseling won't teach the couple anything that they didn't know already, but it can work towards getting them in the right frame of mind to approach their impending commitment.

Your reply is seeded from your own idol/ego. That's the difference between my reply and yours.

The difference is that my reply makes sense. Go play now.

Yes mans logic always makes sense. Easy to twist around to get it to suit ones ego/idol.

For this particular scenario, you ask three times, then let it drop if he says no 3 times. No searching for someone else to fill this void.

The councelling is a very small thing before God compared to the actual marriage and the real problems that will come later.
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2014, 07:28:22 AM »

There's no such thing as a '3 times rule'. That's just nonsense.

If you have such an issue with your doctor, it is not only advisable but recommended to get a second opinion. Same here.

Perhaps the counseling won't teach the couple anything that they didn't know already, but it can work towards getting them in the right frame of mind to approach their impending commitment.

Your reply is seeded from your own idol/ego. That's the difference between my reply and yours.

The difference is that my reply makes sense. Go play now.

Yes mans logic always makes sense. Easy to twist around to get it to suit ones ego/idol.

For this particular scenario, you ask three times, then let it drop if he says no 3 times. No searching for someone else to fill this void.

The councelling is a very small thing before God compared to the actual marriage and the real problems that will come later.

If that is an actual rule, please point the rest of us to it.

If it is something you made up for yourself, please lay off the magical thinking and quit confusing the young man and wasting everyone else's time.
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2014, 07:38:00 AM »

Branthony,
Perhaps you are gifted with another avenue in this dilemma - your own godfather. Maybe you should seek his advice (part of HIS job) in this case and not to complain about his father but for him to offer advice in his stead.

That is what I would do.
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2014, 08:22:51 AM »

Don't buy a book or get counselling from another source. It means that you don't trust God will look after your marriage.

Honestly, where do you get this?
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2014, 08:40:40 AM »

Don't buy a book or get counselling from another source. It means that you don't trust God will look after your marriage.

Honestly, where do you get this?

This is just old wisdom. The marriage can not be cursed going in. They need to be innocent going into the marriage. No money talk, no seeking councelling from outside sources.

For the marriage date, any kind of astrology for the wedding date itself is prohibited. Chose it like any other date.

Also when they have the baby, they can not tamper with the date of the birth. If the C section is established, then the date can not be chosen by yourself. The Dr or secretary must chose the date. Thats also something to keep in mind.

And if theres one piece of advice that would have saved our marriage heartache and trauma... Whatever you do, stay far, far, far away from birth control. Avoid it like the plague. Never let her put that stuff in herself. Believe me you've been lied to your whole life thinking its a harmless pill. It truly is from Satan. Not just me but a friend of ours had a blood clot in her thigh when changing her rx. That could have been deadly. My wife could have been killed and/or not been able to have kids. Im being very serious. The worst curse on our marriage was those pills. We didnt even need them at all. We just got them because the secular message was so strong growing up we just assumed thats what everyone does. Wow were we wrong. Thats what I was hoping they could have councelled him in his maraige and promoted normal child bearing education. The birth control pills are the worst thing from Satan. We learned the hard way trust me.
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2014, 08:43:14 AM »

The only way their marriage would be 'cursed' (superstitious bunk and rubbish that idea in the first place.....trust in the Lord, not curses) is if they followed your advice.
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2014, 08:46:17 AM »

Don't confuse innocence with ignorance. If you think secular marriage counseling has anything to do with astrology, I must seriously question what world you're living in.

Let the doctor's secretary choose the day of a C-section? Deluded much? The decision will be between the couple and their doctor, not a random stranger.

Also, the subject of birth control is something for the couple to discuss with their priest, not to take the 'advice' of strangers over the internet.
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2014, 08:47:47 AM »

Quote
For the marriage date, any kind of astrology for the wedding date itself is prohibited. Chose it like any other date.

Agreed about the astrology part, but, if an Orthodox wedding is planned, there are times of the year where marriages are not permitted, such as the four Lenten periods. Check with the priest FIRST.
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2014, 08:57:42 AM »

Why does Cackles remind me of this thread about Fr. Argatu?
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2014, 10:51:39 AM »

Branthony,
Perhaps you are gifted with another avenue in this dilemma - your own godfather. Maybe you should seek his advice (part of HIS job) in this case and not to complain about his father but for him to offer advice in his stead.

That is what I would do.

I am not complaining about my God Father's father. I'm more complaining about my priest, I think he should do marriage counseling. It would have been so much easier if he did. However as I said already my godfather's father is the OCA Priest. He's older and so forgetful. I'm not complaining it's just a fact. However, there is a great deal of knowledge in his head, Most of you have actually heard of this priest before but I don't want to put his name down here. But he is the author of quite a lot of books and other stuff. Me and my future wife have decided that we will have him do the counseling. So it really isn't an issue. I will however talk to my godfather about this too, maybe he has some suggestions on how to make sure Father keeps on track with the sessions.   
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2014, 01:10:55 PM »

What problems are you having that require counseling?  Regarding 'fasting' St. Paul has some advice on this.  Not that we listen to that dated fellow any longer.
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« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2014, 04:09:23 PM »

Regarding 'fasting' St. Paul has some advice on this.  Not that we listen to that dated fellow any longer.

+1
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« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2014, 04:22:10 PM »

If you believe you would benefit from premarital counseling, would your priest object if you went to another priest? Is there a GOA parish near you and would that priest be amenable? IIIRC, GOA now requires premarital counseling, and they have a new program, "The Journey of Marriage," which I've heard a lot of good things about.
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« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2014, 05:02:58 PM »

I do think that we would benefit from it, and we are going to do it with the OCA priest. I spoke to him earlier today and our first appointment is on Thursday. I believe that everyone should go through this before they are married. if I where a priest (God forbid!) I would require that anyone I do a wedding for have it with someone if not me. The priest is a tool that God and the Church gives us to help us spiritually. the two main paths of life in Orthodoxy are Monasticism and Marriage. How much talking to priests does a person do before becoming a monk? I would guess a lot, why should joining your life to another person require any less preparation? It shouldn't.
   As far as the GOA church, yes there is a GOA parish here, and I loved there priest dearly but he was recently reassigned to another parish. His son is sick and they needed to be closer to a hospital and doctors that can help the child. they will not have a new priest until the end of the month. With the OCA Priest, I have not only a man who has been a priest in the Orthodox Church for a long time and a modern theologian, he is on par with Fr. Thomas Hopko. but also a man who has been married for a great number of years. I think that he is the best choice, also he is willing to do our meetings on Skype which is good because we (my girlfriend and I) do not live in the same state. thank you all for your advice.   
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« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2014, 11:57:09 PM »

Approximately what total number of hours do you estimate your classes with him will take, Branthony?

That's my only question.

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« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2014, 12:54:03 AM »

Approximately what total number of hours do you estimate your classes with him will take, Branthony?

That's my only question.



I don't know, Father doesn't either, he said that this isn't like catechumen classes, he will talk to us and see what we need and go from there.
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« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2014, 11:24:05 AM »

There's no such thing as a '3 times rule'. That's just nonsense.

If you have such an issue with your doctor, it is not only advisable but recommended to get a second opinion. Same here.

Perhaps the counseling won't teach the couple anything that they didn't know already, but it can work towards getting them in the right frame of mind to approach their impending commitment.

Your reply is seeded from your own idol/ego.
That judgment can be very much a double-edged sword, my friend. Beware of this, lest it be used against you.
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« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2014, 01:07:50 PM »

Your reply is seeded from your own idol/ego.
That judgment can be very much a double-edged sword, my friend. Beware of this, lest it be used against you.

Don't worry.  I officially use it against him.  Tongue
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2014, 05:35:17 PM »

Don't buy a book or get counselling from another source. It means that you don't trust God will look after your marriage.

Honestly, where do you get this?

This is just old wisdom. The marriage can not be cursed going in. They need to be innocent going into the marriage. No money talk, no seeking councelling from outside sources.

For the marriage date, any kind of astrology for the wedding date itself is prohibited. Chose it like any other date.

Also when they have the baby, they can not tamper with the date of the birth. If the C section is established, then the date can not be chosen by yourself. The Dr or secretary must chose the date. Thats also something to keep in mind.

And if theres one piece of advice that would have saved our marriage heartache and trauma... Whatever you do, stay far, far, far away from birth control. Avoid it like the plague. Never let her put that stuff in herself. Believe me you've been lied to your whole life thinking its a harmless pill. It truly is from Satan. Not just me but a friend of ours had a blood clot in her thigh when changing her rx. That could have been deadly. My wife could have been killed and/or not been able to have kids. Im being very serious. The worst curse on our marriage was those pills. We didnt even need them at all. We just got them because the secular message was so strong growing up we just assumed thats what everyone does. Wow were we wrong. Thats what I was hoping they could have councelled him in his maraige and promoted normal child bearing education. The birth control pills are the worst thing from Satan. We learned the hard way trust me.

Your own jurisdiction requires premarital counseling,and has even developed a new program: the Journey of Marriage.
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« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2014, 05:42:06 PM »

Your own jurisdiction requires premarital counseling,and has even developed a new program: the Journey of Marriage.

What you think is his jurisdiction is not his jurisdiction. 
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« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2014, 07:19:51 PM »

all he said is that is something we discuss with each other not him or any other priest.
Why do you doubt this wisdom?
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« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2014, 01:14:45 AM »

Given the above, do you really think you need counseling?  What is it about marriage that you do not understand?  My wife and I have been married 33 years and did not have counseling.  And the only advice that I got (not to marry her) I ignored and am happy that I did. So, unless you are one of these Moronodox that cannot go potty without asking a Priest, consider your story as a sign and get married.  If you just HAVE to talk to someone, find an older couple that have been married a very long time and ask them some questions.  You will learn more from them than an unmarried Priest anyway.

I strongly disagree. Every couple needs premarital counseling. It is required in the Antiochian Archdiocese. When I marry a couple that lives in another city, but is coming home to be married, I arrange for the Antiochian Priest where they live to do the pre-marital counseling.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2014, 01:38:24 AM »

I totally agree with you father. We had our first session with Fr. John on Thursday. I feel it was good and will be very helpful. We are kinda forced to talk about things that I doubt we would otherwise, I feel that everyone getting married should be required to have counseling. An Orthodox Christian marriage should be based on Christ. Counseling will help us and any other Orthodox Couple, keep there marriage centered on the Lord. Also if you have folks like me, who come from a broken family, we've never seen a successful marriage up close. this will help me learn how one should function. getting married, for me, is terrifying. I have only seen broken marriages not successful ones.
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2014, 10:07:21 AM »

I totally agree with you father. We had our first session with Fr. John on Thursday. I feel it was good and will be very helpful. We are kinda forced to talk about things that I doubt we would otherwise, I feel that everyone getting married should be required to have counseling. An Orthodox Christian marriage should be based on Christ. Counseling will help us and any other Orthodox Couple, keep there marriage centered on the Lord. Also if you have folks like me, who come from a broken family, we've never seen a successful marriage up close. this will help me learn how one should function. getting married, for me, is terrifying. I have only seen broken marriages not successful ones.

Marriage counseling is not so much having someone explain things to you, but as you have noted, being forced to face things together; to discuss issues that, hopefully, won't pop up and surprise both of you.  My wife and I didn't do marriage counseling and I think we would have benefited from a structured counseling; but here we are going on seven years of marriage.  Don't be afraid.  Yes, it's a new experience, but don't look to those broken marriages as any example, but to Christ and how he treats His Bride.  Prayers for the both of you.
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« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2014, 10:16:06 AM »

To the OP, can't you ask your diocese for help in finding a qualified priest? 

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« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2014, 10:19:24 AM »

We are having premarital counseling with a priest from the OCA. We already had one productive session and we have another meeting later this week. Thank you all for your support and guidance though. And Please pray for us.
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« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2014, 12:47:27 PM »

We are having premarital counseling with a priest from the OCA. We already had one productive session and we have another meeting later this week. Thank you all for your support and guidance though. And Please pray for us.

+Pax
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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2014, 12:56:42 PM »


+Pax
[/quote]

what does +Pax mean?
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« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2014, 12:57:31 PM »

Peace  (Well, wouldn't you say that's better than +Pox? Wink)
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« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2014, 01:10:26 PM »

Peace  (Well, wouldn't you say that's better than +Pox? Wink)

 laugh
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« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2014, 06:51:18 PM »

Hello again everyone, I figured I would post this here instead of a new thread because it relates. Before me and my soon to be wife started counseling a friend gave me a book by Fr. Josiah Trenham. the book is called marriage and virginity according to St.John Chrysostom. After reading this book and talking to my priest, I feel that this may not be an accurate title for the book because I feel that Fr.Josiah twists what he does take from St.John but I also feel that there is much more of Fr. Josiah's personal opinion than what St.John said. I have recently also read some things Fr.Josiah has posted on-line and I am starting to think that this man is a bit... wacky. First he seems to try to discourage folks from getting married by saying (paraphrasing) monasticism is really what you should do but the church allows marriage. now he doesn't say this explicitly but that does seem to be his implication. This is strange coming from a priest who not only is married but has 10 children. He also seems to have a very R.C. outlook on Orthodox sexuality. My priest, and from what I have read on-line a lot of priests, seem to think that sexuality is not a topic to be discussed in detail. From what I gather, as long as its a married couple we're ok. There may be some rules but I really don't think it's as strict as Fr.Josiah seems to think it is. From what I have gathered the church doesn't teach that sexuality in marriage is only for procreation, but that it is for the married couple to express there love to one another and to keep them out of sin, or at least that seems to be the primary reason. Fr. Josiah says different, he says the primary reason is procreation and any act in the bedroom that can't bring forth children is perverse and there for unacceptable. If this is true then once a married woman is post menopause then the couple is sinning if they are intimate. Have any of you ever read anything by this priest and what is your opinion on this topic? Let's not get graphic please, this is a christian forum, there is no need to name specific acts but what is the purpose of sexuality in an Orthodox marriage and is this guy crazy or not?
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« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2014, 07:22:39 PM »

Before me and my soon to be wife started counseling a friend gave me a book by Fr. Josiah Trenham. the book is called marriage and virginity according to St.John Chrysostom. After reading this book and talking to my priest, I feel that this may not be an accurate title for the book because I feel that Fr.Josiah twists what he does take from St.John but I also feel that there is much more of Fr. Josiah's personal opinion than what St.John said.

...is this guy crazy or not?

I haven't read the book in question, but I have met Fr Josiah, spent a little time with him, and have heard him speak on this and other issues.  In general, I like him, but I don't think I would recommend this book as a form of "pre-marital preparation".  I'm not as well read in Chrysostom as Fr Josiah might be, so even if it is an accurate reflection of the saint's teaching, it isn't necessarily representative of the teaching of the Church as a whole.  Certainly there are aspects of Fr Josiah's interpretation with which I would disagree, and I think the Church would as well.  You would be better off focusing on "basics" rather than reading secondary literature on patristic teaching.  For instance, have you read the text of the Marriage service?  The New Testament? 
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« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2014, 07:26:02 PM »

My priest, and from what I have read on-line a lot of priests, seem to think that sexuality is not a topic to be discussed in detail.

Depends on the priest and what you mean by "detail". 

Quote
From what I gather, as long as its a married couple we're ok.

Um, not exactly. 

Quote
There may be some rules but I really don't think it's as strict as Fr.Josiah seems to think it is.

Granted.
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