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Author Topic: What do I do, My priest doesn't do premarital counseling!?  (Read 5055 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: March 22, 2014, 06:12:24 AM »

^ You could have said that all once. On an internet discussion forum, there's no need to repeat yourself. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #91 on: March 22, 2014, 08:21:48 AM »

^ You could have said that all once. On an internet discussion forum, there's no need to repeat yourself. Roll Eyes

Just a correction. That passage means that basically you need to love your own family and self less than serving God:

Luke 14:26 "If anyone continues coming to (or: toward) Me, and does not habitually regard with a negative will (= put lesser importance to; hate, in the sense of giving less preference to) his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters – and still [more], even his own soul-life (his inner being and its concerns; the person which is himself) – he has no power and is unable to be My disciple!
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« Reply #92 on: March 23, 2014, 04:07:23 PM »

Seems to go against the concept in the NT of the marriage bed being undefiled.

One of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament thanks to Dr. Ruth Christianity. Most Evangelicals I know take this verse to mean 'anything goes in the marriage bed'.

Hebews 3:4 actually says: Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled. For God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery.

The verse is actually telling couples to keep the marriage bed pure and chaste, and to have honorable conduct in the bedroom. Marriage is to be a way to holiness, not a license to lust.


I fully support Fr. Josiah in many of his teachings regarding contraception, chastity, what it really means to be pro-life, etc. He is a man of great discipline and sacrifice and is to be admired, not maginalized and mocked.

I think you meant Hebrews 13:4 (not 3:4).  Also, that is an interesting translation.  There are other ways of taking it.  Particularly, the first part "Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage be undefiled...." seems to have been traditionally treated as a statement, rather than an exhortation, so it would be "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled..."  You see the difference?  May I ask what translation you used?

Personally, I have yet to mock Fr. Josiah.  I just don't agree with him at least yet.  The type of marital sex that he's advocating seems like bedroom death.
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« Reply #93 on: March 23, 2014, 04:39:51 PM »

double post
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« Reply #94 on: March 23, 2014, 06:27:55 PM »

Please forgive me brothers and sisters. I did not mean to mock Fr. Josiah, it just seems to me that his views on marriage are very Augustinian and not what the church teaches. It seems to me that the majority of the church teaches a little more freedom for married couples than what Fr. Josiah is advocating. I do however recognize that Fr. Josiah is a priest and deserves respect. What he is teaching is not heresy, only a strict view. I would imagine that a couple could follow Fr. Josiah's teachings and remain in good standing, the only problem I could see with his teaching is if couples follow his teaching and aren't truly in agreement with him it could eventually cause discord. I know this would be the case in my marriage, not because only she, or only I disagree with living this level of strictness but because we both do. However again, my issue is more with his teaching not with him. I didn't mean to mock him and I am truly sorry for doing so. I hope everyone has a blessed feast of the elevation of the precious Cross.   
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« Reply #95 on: March 24, 2014, 10:26:28 PM »

Please forgive me brothers and sisters. I did not mean to mock Fr. Josiah
You did not come across as mocking, to me.
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« Reply #96 on: March 25, 2014, 04:06:25 PM »

Perhaps someone saw a disagreement of Fr. Josiah and interpreted it as mocking.
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« Reply #97 on: March 25, 2014, 07:16:04 PM »

Seems to go against the concept in the NT of the marriage bed being undefiled.

One of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament thanks to Dr. Ruth Christianity. Most Evangelicals I know take this verse to mean 'anything goes in the marriage bed'.

Hebews 3:4 actually says: Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled. For God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery.

The verse is actually telling couples to keep the marriage bed pure and chaste, and to have honorable conduct in the bedroom. Marriage is to be a way to holiness, not a license to lust.


I fully support Fr. Josiah in many of his teachings regarding contraception, chastity, what it really means to be pro-life, etc. He is a man of great discipline and sacrifice and is to be admired, not maginalized and mocked.

I think you meant Hebrews 13:4 (not 3:4).  Also, that is an interesting translation.  There are other ways of taking it.  Particularly, the first part "Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage be undefiled...." seems to have been traditionally treated as a statement, rather than an exhortation, so it would be "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled..."  You see the difference?  May I ask what translation you used?

Personally, I have yet to mock Fr. Josiah.  I just don't agree with him at least yet.  The type of marital sex that he's advocating seems like bedroom death.

Wycliffe Translation says:

4 Wedding is in all things honourable, and [the] bed unwemmed [and the bed undefouled]; for God shall deem fornicators and adulterers.

John Mitchell New Testement:

Marriage [is] precious (of great value and honor) in the midst of all folks (or: among all peoples), and the conjugal bed [is] unstained and undefiled; yet God is continuously judging (or: repeatedly separating and making a decision about) fornicators (or: male prostitutes; or: men who have sexual intercourse with a prostitute) and adulterers.
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« Reply #98 on: March 27, 2014, 11:49:00 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.

A terrible book, from both a scholarly and pastoral point of view. Truly terrible.

I am almost finished reading it. I disagree that it a terrible book. It is well written and researched. First let me clearly state that Fr. Josiah's knowledge of the Fathers is far superior to mine. He is a patristric scholar. I am an historian. Therefore, I naturally tend to put St. John Chrysostom's thought within its proper historical context. I believe that although Fr. Josiah makes many valuable points that relate to marriage and sexuality it is a mistake to make this book a comprehensive guide for how one should live as a married Orthodox Christian in the modern world. The subject of Fr. Josiah's work is the thought of St. John Chrysostom, not contemporary Orthodox moral theology.
Like all of the Fathers, St. John Chrysostom was not infallible. Orthodox Christians are not required to believe everything that he taught. For example in his commentary on the Wedding at Cana in his Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, he implies that Mary sinned by the way that she treated Christ. Obviously the Eastern Orthodox Church does not agree Mary sinned.
In applying the teachings of St. John on marriage and sex, it is very important to put him in his proper historical context. In modern American culture it seems sexist to emphasize the role of the Father as the authority figure in the family, while in the culture in which St. John lived that was the norm. Now most moral theologians see marriage more as a partnership between equals. St. John recommends that a boy get married when he reaches the age of 15. However, in the time of St. John, there was no concept of adolescence. Besides most people only lived to about 30 back then. St. John states that a Father should not allow his sons to visit the theater. However, in passing he mentions that one sees naked women in the theater. At that time popular entertainment was rather risque.  A modern interpretation would be that a Father should not take his son to a strip club or an R or X rated movie.  Taken in this context most of the book is very good and can be used with some modernization as a guide for Orthodox Christian family life.
St. John Chrysostom does have a positive view towards marriage and sexuality. Although he follows the common patristric view that virginity, especially in monasticism is superior to marriage, he does not denigrate marriage, but states marriage "good" but that "virginity" is better. He even states that marriage is almost as good as monasticism and emphasizes that a married couple can live a holy life that is equal to and can even exceed that of a monastic. He states that God created humans with sexual desire and that pleasure through sex, obviously in marriage, is a good thing. He does not, as Augustine, consider sexual intercourse almost sinful because he does not accept Augustine's view that sexual intercourse is tainted by the transmission of original sin.
I find two areas in which I personally would disagree with Fr. Josiah and by extension St. John Chyrsostom. First although he considers it good and created by God within marriage, apparently St. John sees sex as a result of the fall. Frankly, I do not know how St. John would know that Adam and Eve did not have sex in the Garden of Eden. The command ""Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it..." Genesis 1:28 was given before the Fall. There is only one way that humans can "be fruitful and multiply." That is through sexual intercourse. Again before the Fall, Adam said, "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." Genesis 2:24. No less an authority than Our Lord applies this to marriage and by extension to the sexual relations between a husband and wife. Matthew 5:19 This view of sexuality as created after the Fall would have to be classified as a theologoumena, or theological opinion, not the doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The most controversial aspect of St. John's teaching according to Fr. Josiah is his strong opposition to birth control. It is true that there are those within the Eastern Orthodox Church who agree with the Roman Catholic position on birth control, especially those highly influenced by monasticism. However, there are other Orthodox authorities that disagree. Frs. Stanley Harakas, John Meyendorf both argue that used properly within marriage, non-abortive methods of birth control are not sinful. In 1992 the Holy Synod of the Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America issued a document "Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life" which allows for non-abortive methods of birth control. The document states, "Married couples may express their love in sexual union without always intending the conception of a child, but only those means of controlling conception within marriage are acceptable which do not harm a fetus already conceived." More important is  "The Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church," section XII. 3" approved by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000 which also affirms that non-abortive methods of birth control are not in and of themselves sinful. This particular document is perhaps the most complete and authoritative statement of Orthodox moral teachings issued in modern times.
Once again, we have to put the Fathers in their proper context. At that time knowledge of biology had not advanced to the point that the Fathers realized the distinction between abortion and birth control. Until the 18th century scientists held a position called "preformation" that maintained that the semen contains a preformed immature infant that simply grows in the womb. That would make all forms of birth control a form of abortion because it destroys a human life. However, William Harvey, d. 1657 who first described the circulatory system of blood through the body, also discovered that the sperm is not a complete, but very small human, but that conception takes place when the sperm fertilizes the egg, creating a new human being. Thus it was only natural that the Fathers would consider all forms of birth control a form of abortion, because they falsely believed that the semen contained a small person.
Fr. Josiah argues that St. John Chrysostom and other fathers made a distinction between birth control and abortion and condemned both. However, the only canons that speak to this particular issue only condemn abortion, not birth control. If the Holy Fathers made a distinction between birth control and abortion, and considered birth control forbidden, one would expect to find a canon specifically condemning birth control.  Besides one text that he uses to prove his point is from St. John's Homilies on Romans. Fr. Josiah usually cites translations from the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers. However, for this particular quote he cites a different translation, from John Noonan's Conception: A History of its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists. Noonan translates the key phrase, "where there are the medicines of sterility," However, the Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers translate it as "many efforts at abortion." (Homily XXIV) Therefore it can reasonable be argued that St. John is not speaking about birth control, but abortion. Significantly, Fr. Josiah argues that St. John would approve of "Natural Family Planning." What is the moral difference between a married couple having sex when conception is not possible and using a non-abortive method of birth control, since both would involve destroying the sperm?
Therefore, Fr. Josiah's work is a significant contribution to our knowledge of St. John Chrysostom. However, it must be read in its proper context as a study of the writings and homilies of this great Saint and not as an authoritative statement of the moral teaching of the Church on sexual matters,especially in the light of modern scientific knowledge. Thus, Fr. Josiah's work provides is an important work that helps us better understand the teachings of St. John. However, some of Fr. Josiah's conclusions are questionable, especially his condemnation of non-abortive methods of birth control. St. John, a very learned man for his time, did not have the benefit of modern science and therefore did not understand the very important difference between abortion and the prevention of conception through non-abortive methods of birth control. Therefore my chief criticism of Fr. Josiah's book is that he fails to put St. Johh Chrysostom within his proper historical context. 

Fr. John W. Morris

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« Reply #99 on: March 28, 2014, 04:18:59 PM »

Father,

Thank you for that review.
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« Reply #100 on: March 29, 2014, 07:44:49 AM »

Fr. John, brilliant review.  I haven't read it yet, but I do believe that this would have been the same conclusion I would have come to.  

I think it's important to remember that the Church today is just as authoritative as the Church in any previous era.

I find your posts to be consistently beneficial.  I just wish you would make smaller paragraphs  Grin
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« Reply #101 on: March 29, 2014, 09:27:00 AM »

what's the point?
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« Reply #102 on: March 31, 2014, 10:53:02 AM »

Seems to go against the concept in the NT of the marriage bed being undefiled.

One of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament thanks to Dr. Ruth Christianity. Most Evangelicals I know take this verse to mean 'anything goes in the marriage bed'.

Hebews 3:4 actually says: Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled. For God will judge those who commit sexual sins, especially those who commit adultery.

The verse is actually telling couples to keep the marriage bed pure and chaste, and to have honorable conduct in the bedroom. Marriage is to be a way to holiness, not a license to lust.


I fully support Fr. Josiah in many of his teachings regarding contraception, chastity, what it really means to be pro-life, etc. He is a man of great discipline and sacrifice and is to be admired, not maginalized and mocked.

I think you meant Hebrews 13:4 (not 3:4).  Also, that is an interesting translation.  There are other ways of taking it.  Particularly, the first part "Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage be undefiled...." seems to have been traditionally treated as a statement, rather than an exhortation, so it would be "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled..."  You see the difference?  May I ask what translation you used?

Personally, I have yet to mock Fr. Josiah.  I just don't agree with him at least yet.  The type of marital sex that he's advocating seems like bedroom death.

Wycliffe Translation says:

4 Wedding is in all things honourable, and [the] bed unwemmed [and the bed undefouled]; for God shall deem fornicators and adulterers.

John Mitchell New Testement:

Marriage [is] precious (of great value and honor) in the midst of all folks (or: among all peoples), and the conjugal bed [is] unstained and undefiled; yet God is continuously judging (or: repeatedly separating and making a decision about) fornicators (or: male prostitutes; or: men who have sexual intercourse with a prostitute) and adulterers.


Yeah, these translations seem to fit in more with the passage being a statement about marriage ("Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.")  As opposed how it's sometimes translated as a command ("Let marriage be kept honorable in every way, and the marriage bed undefiled.")  The latter translation was used by Fr. Josiah. 

One thing that makes understanding the text somewhat awkward is that there is no "is" used, as shown in the translations you provided.  Therefore it would read "Marriage honorable in all, and the bed undefiled".
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« Reply #103 on: April 01, 2014, 09:43:24 PM »

How many years do most modern marriages last?  People didn't used to get pre-marriage counseling and they were married 50, 60, 70 years.  These days, if a marriage last 20 years, that is considered a long marriage.  You might do better talking to couples who have been married for 40 years or more.  They could probably give you way better advice than professional marriage counselors.
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« Reply #104 on: April 02, 2014, 07:34:50 AM »

How many years do most modern marriages last?  People didn't used to get pre-marriage counseling and they were married 50, 60, 70 years.  These days, if a marriage last 20 years, that is considered a long marriage.  You might do better talking to couples who have been married for 40 years or more.  They could probably give you way better advice than professional marriage counselors.

I tend to agree, although like single life, it does appear that married life has more obstacles these days.  Good idea about speaking with other married couples.  I've found it helpful to have a circle of friends who are also Orthodox and married.
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« Reply #105 on: April 05, 2014, 04:28:41 PM »

Hi everyone, Me and my Fiancée are in a bit of a pickle.......

Branthony, the only suggestion you need is the first response to your original post.
Ignore the other pap and talk to an older couple.
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« Reply #106 on: April 05, 2014, 04:42:39 PM »

Hi everyone, Me and my Fiancée are in a bit of a pickle.......

Branthony, the only suggestion you need is the first response to your original post.
Ignore the other pap and talk to an older couple.

The OP sorted things out to his satisfaction. It's just us babbling away here.  Smiley
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« Reply #107 on: April 05, 2014, 06:23:01 PM »

Hi everyone, Me and my Fiancée are in a bit of a pickle.......

Branthony, the only suggestion you need is the first response to your original post.
Ignore the other pap and talk to an older couple.

The OP sorted things out to his satisfaction. It's just us babbling away here.  Smiley


heck...he could be married already. Wink
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« Reply #108 on: April 05, 2014, 06:28:01 PM »

Sorry to sound cynical but long marriage doesn't equeate happy marriage. It's nice and all if people don't divorce but back in the days when divorce was frowned upon peope had to stay together even if the marriage clearly didn't work and both parties felt miserable. I don't mean to advocate divorce as I consider it as a sin but I hope people remember the other side too. Marriage is not always a happy thing.
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« Reply #109 on: April 05, 2014, 07:33:28 PM »

We shouldn't focus on long term marriages where the couple hate each other, but how to make a successful long term marriage. After doing premarital counseling and reading lots of books and I think just being a Christian, I'm pretty sure the key to a successful marriage isn't money, or looks, or children or anything like that, it's Christ. If you wake up every morning and pray morning prayers together, and pray evening prayers together every night, if you go to frequent confession with your priest, and take communion together often, if you spend your life together in Christ, you will have a successful marriage. We live in a society full of worldly worries, is my hair turning grey, is it falling out? My husband doesn't make enough money for me to wear expensive clothes or to buy me a bigger house. My wife's bottom is twice the size it was when I married her, these are things that the world worries about and that is why there marriages fail. We as Christians should be worried about heavenly things. If we ask our selves questions like, am I loving my wife the way I should? Do I love her as Christ loves the church? Am I the husband that the Lord wants me to be? or am I honoring my husband? am I obedient? am I the wife the Lord wants me to be? then we will have a successful marriage. these are the things the Lord wants us to ask, this is the way a Christian marriage should work and if we do our best to honor God in our marriage he will make sure our marriage lasts, it won't be happy all the time but it will be strong and the Lord will preserve it. That is what I have gathered.
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« Reply #110 on: April 05, 2014, 07:36:10 PM »

My wife's bottom is twice the size it was when I married her

I'm sure she appreciates you mentioning it publically on internet. police
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« Reply #111 on: April 05, 2014, 07:43:35 PM »

My wife's bottom is twice the size it was when I married her

I'm sure she appreciates you mentioning it publically on internet. police

I'm sure you would be right if that was the case, I would be very concerned if my wife's bottom was twice the size it was when I met her because I'm not married yet. also my future wife is 25 and goes running everyday and eats very healthy, she has a problem keeping on weight not gaining it. That statement was only an example of things I have heard people complain about, I still have no complaints about my future wife, I'm still just very excited to be a part of her life. but you are right, if her bottom was twice the size it was when I met her and I put it on the internet, I'm sure she would be angry.
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« Reply #112 on: April 05, 2014, 07:48:13 PM »

LOL, I thought that was autobiographical. I wish you two many happy years together. Smiley
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« Reply #113 on: April 05, 2014, 09:48:03 PM »

Thanks Alpo
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« Reply #114 on: May 24, 2014, 08:23:10 PM »

My wife's bottom is twice the size it was when I married her

I'm sure she appreciates you mentioning it publically on internet. police

I'm sure you would be right if that was the case, I would be very concerned if my wife's bottom was twice the size it was when I met her because I'm not married yet. also my future wife is 25 and goes running everyday and eats very healthy, she has a problem keeping on weight not gaining it. That statement was only an example of things I have heard people complain about, I still have no complaints about my future wife, I'm still just very excited to be a part of her life. but you are right, if her bottom was twice the size it was when I met her and I put it on the internet, I'm sure she would be angry.
A word of premarital counseling: if she asks does this make my bottom look big, here is how you answer-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8eR4mDKH_c
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« Reply #115 on: May 24, 2014, 10:14:06 PM »

How many years do most modern marriages last?  People didn't used to get pre-marriage counseling and they were married 50, 60, 70 years.  These days, if a marriage last 20 years, that is considered a long marriage.  You might do better talking to couples who have been married for 40 years or more.  They could probably give you way better advice than professional marriage counselors.

Wisdom!  I absolutely agree with you.  I know that many priests however will ask a few questions of those who are to be married.  I've seen it both ways, long lists of questions all the way to small questions.  I've never seen one just "blindly" marry two EO Christians together.
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« Reply #116 on: May 24, 2014, 10:17:20 PM »

My wife's bottom is twice the size it was when I married her

I'm sure she appreciates you mentioning it publically on internet. police

I'm sure you would be right if that was the case, I would be very concerned if my wife's bottom was twice the size it was when I met her because I'm not married yet. also my future wife is 25 and goes running everyday and eats very healthy, she has a problem keeping on weight not gaining it. That statement was only an example of things I have heard people complain about, I still have no complaints about my future wife, I'm still just very excited to be a part of her life. but you are right, if her bottom was twice the size it was when I met her and I put it on the internet, I'm sure she would be angry.
A word of premarital counseling: if she asks does this make my bottom look big, here is how you answer-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8eR4mDKH_c

LOL!

If your wife's bottom is that much of a concern, and the size thereof, certainly you may re-consider the crown of martyr's being adorned on both of your heads.   

We all have to face that as we age, things get weaker, things pop more, sag more, wrinkles happen, and yes, guts and bottoms often do get bigger.

As I went through the thread I read that and I was like "HE DID NOT JUST SAY THAT".  LOL!!!!
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« Reply #117 on: May 24, 2014, 10:18:47 PM »

When we did our marriage counseling, it was with a Baptist minister.  He felt the need to give us the sex talk and all sorts of uncomfortable things.  I don't think the counseling helped in the least. I think we walked out of every session shaking our heads.
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« Reply #118 on: May 25, 2014, 12:59:04 AM »

When we did our marriage counseling, it was with a Baptist minister.  He felt the need to give us the sex talk and all sorts of uncomfortable things.  I don't think the counseling helped in the least. I think we walked out of every session shaking our heads.

The counseling sessions were his way of dealing with his passions.
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