Author Topic: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold  (Read 651 times)

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Offline Laurentius

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Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« on: October 05, 2016, 12:48:11 PM »
Hello!

I am getting married after Easter. My fiancé is not Orthodox yet but preparing for Baptism. However, our Priest is quite busy and does not have a lot of time to help us prepare for marriage, except for a few sessions.

Do you have any recommended resources on preparing for a common house hold, a common prayer life, hopefully children etc?

Thank you in advance!

Please pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, save us!

Offline nikolaj

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 03:42:01 PM »
Hi and congratulations.

I would warmly recommend you a talk by Fr. Milos Vesin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4ft2EUD2D8

This talk is given in english. I heard another one of his talks on marriage which was in Serbian. My reaction to it was 'why nobody told me these things before'. Since then I have found this one by him and it is just as good.

All the best

Offline Agabus

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 04:49:11 PM »
The basics are pretty simple:

-Be willing to serve beyond just pulling your own weight.
-Try not to be an (expletive)hole.
-Recognize that of the seven billion people on the planet, this person chose to be with you and appreciate that for the gesture it is.
-Talk about it when you have a problem, crisis of faith, whatever, instead of simmering in silence.
-Get out of the habit of thinking of things as your stuff and my stuff (or your money or my money, etc.)

In more spiritual terms: "Die to self."

But my experience is marriage isn't some terrible cross to bear.

A combined prayer life is pretty easy, too. Just start doing it, maybe the short morning or evening prayers plus some improvised ad hoc prayers tacked on at the end as your shared life together progresses.

As for the act of actually combining households, I don't have much advice except keep the best stuff and don't get too attached to the rest unless it was grandma's, because if you ever have to move you're just going to have boxes of junk that you could have gotten rid of years ago.

In my experience, children are much more challenging than marriage. Still figuring that one out on the fly.
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Offline Laurentius

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2016, 12:22:38 PM »
Thanks both of you!

Holy Mother of God, save us!

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2016, 09:49:54 AM »
There's also this:

http://www.ancientfaith.com/specials/2013_marriage_preparation_seminar

At nearly 6.5 hours, that's a lot of material.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2016, 10:13:59 AM »
Some like: Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home, by Fr. Anthony Coniaris

Offline Alxandra

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 10:21:40 AM »
How wonderful, Glory to God :)


-On Marriage and Family Life by Saint John Chrysostom

-Marriage as a Path to Holiness: Lives of Married Saints by David C. Ford

-Orthodox Christian Parenting: Cultivating God’s Creation by Marie L. Eliades


And here is a lovely video by Father Josiah Trenham on marriage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBe8GFzW6WU
« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 10:24:33 AM by Alxandra »
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2016, 10:41:11 AM »
Some like: Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home, by Fr. Anthony Coniaris

A favorite of mine.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2016, 11:50:51 AM »
The basics are pretty simple:

-Be willing to serve beyond just pulling your own weight.
-Try not to be an (expletive)hole.
-Recognize that of the seven billion people on the planet, this person chose to be with you and appreciate that for the gesture it is.
-Talk about it when you have a problem, crisis of faith, whatever, instead of simmering in silence.
-Get out of the habit of thinking of things as your stuff and my stuff (or your money or my money, etc.)

In more spiritual terms: "Die to self."

But my experience is marriage isn't some terrible cross to bear.

A combined prayer life is pretty easy, too. Just start doing it, maybe the short morning or evening prayers plus some improvised ad hoc prayers tacked on at the end as your shared life together progresses.

As for the act of actually combining households, I don't have much advice except keep the best stuff and don't get too attached to the rest unless it was grandma's, because if you ever have to move you're just going to have boxes of junk that you could have gotten rid of years ago.

In my experience, children are much more challenging than marriage. Still figuring that one out on the fly.

+1

Offline Gamliel

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2016, 12:28:50 PM »
Hello!

I am getting married after Easter. My fiancé is not Orthodox yet but preparing for Baptism. However, our Priest is quite busy and does not have a lot of time to help us prepare for marriage, except for a few sessions.

Do you have any recommended resources on preparing for a common house hold, a common prayer life, hopefully children etc?

Thank you in advance!

Please pray for us.
I hope you can get some premarital counseling even with your priest being busy.  My wife & I were both protestant when we got married.  The one thing I remember our premarital counselor saying is that marriage is not about constant romance, although those feeling will be around from time to time.  Marriage is about clearing hurdles together.  He also reminded us that marriages consist of three:  You, your spouse, and the Lord.  Congratulations and many years!
« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 12:30:06 PM by Gamliel »

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2016, 04:21:01 PM »
Premarital counseling in high church denominations like ours is usually protestant-style self-help disciplines, or a last ditch effort to "get nominals back in the faith", or both.

At least in America.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 04:22:27 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline WPM

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2016, 04:28:12 PM »
Not books but actual experience.

Offline nikolaj

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2016, 02:00:15 PM »
Not books but actual experience.

For someone who has never had any experience of orthodox marriage (not even of his own parents) I would say books are irreplaceable. Especially at the times when modern worldly view of marriage has very little to do with orthodox marriage.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 02:00:39 PM by nikolaj »

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2016, 09:53:43 PM »
Especially at the times when modern worldly view of marriage has very little to do with orthodox marriage.

Unlike the old days of course.

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Offline Agabus

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2016, 01:03:19 AM »
Especially at the times when modern worldly view of marriage has very little to do with orthodox marriage.

Unlike the old days of course.

LOL.

Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2016, 09:02:26 PM »
For someone who has never had any experience of orthodox marriage (not even of his own parents) I would say books are irreplaceable.
Someone badly trained in boxing fights worse than someone who was never trained at all.

A sure way to get badly trained is to learn from a book what can only be learned from a person.

This situation is similar.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 09:02:40 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2016, 09:20:39 PM »
Not sure that analogy works. For example, someone learning boxing from books would at least know that speed and technique, then defense, are all more important than trying to throw some kind of power punches. On the other hand, if you look at random people fighting at conventions and celebrity boxing things, you see what you'd expect: most people just try to throw wild random punches as hard as they can in an effort to get some kind of Mike Tyson KO.

Really the only way I'd agree would be if you are speaking of how such reading would give someone a false sense of their abilities. But, I think St Ignatius Brianchaninov was talking sense when he said that, if you did not have a spiritual father (which were rare then, and presumably now), that people should definitely turn to books for guidance. I would agree that most of it will go in one eye and out the nostril, but maybe some things will get stuck, and after many mistakes perhaps the person will remember it.

Offline Quinault

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2016, 11:28:00 PM »
My husband and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary at the end of this month. The best preparation we did was to go thru the Gary Smalley video series "Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships" before we wed.

My advice:
You have to be able to adapt and change with each other. Don't expect that you will be the same people in 5 years that you are now. Life and the living of it produce change; stagnation isn't healthy for water or people/relationships. When we wed, we had zero plans to ever have children; we have seven kids between the ages 15-almost 2 now. Obviously, we changed a great deal over the last two decades. We changed together; I had a change of heart on children a couple years before my husband. We decided *together* that we wanted to have children. The biggest thing holding my husband back was to quite healthy fear of the added responsibility of molding and raising a human being from infancy. We love our kids now, but there is no way that I would have anticipated the life we lead now twenty years ago.

Communicate regularly; don't ever assume that the other person has any idea what you are thinking or feeling. Even if you are *positive* that they know; go ahead and explain anyway just to be sure. Communication goes both ways, so be sure to listen as well, regularly check-up and discuss how you both are doing. Make each other the higher priority, and be sure to only make plans after consulting one another. I have a cool app on my phone that syncs my calendar with my husband's (it also allows us to have a shared grocery list, which is awesome). Do not volun-told your spouse for things; "Sure, my wife/husband can......." On that note; don't volun-told your children for things either. At home you can tell them to do things; when it comes to stuff outside the home (even if you know they will be interested) ask before you commit someone to an activity.

Establish a fixed budget BEFORE marriage that you can agree to. Figure out the high and low levels of budget, formulate a plan and work toward that plan. It is very easy to come to a disagreement over things as stupid as expensive frozen pizza or fast food killing a food budget. Figure out what the basic budget is (including a entertainment budget) and either save the rest or pay off debt. Dream together and form a plan, but don't be surprised when that dream is reshaped. It is far easier to deal with the monetary surprises in life when you have a clear idea of how the monthly and yearly budget looks. Figure out what you can get rid of to save money, and what you each need for health/sanity. Make that budget as specific to the penny as possible. Take an inventory of what you both own, and get rid of duplicates or inferior items. Figure out what you *need* and purchase accordingly via mutal agreement.

Figure out how to split up family holidays (if you need to do that) before marriage. We switched between his parents and mine each year on Thanksgiving/Christmas for a number of years. Also, have certain holidays *just for the two of you* and protect them. Establish a no-phone or internet time on your weekend and just enjoy the company of your spouse. Don't answer your phone, don't look at your phone, and don't check your email. A whole day or the weekend would be great; a couple hours should be a minimum.

Don't ever treat your spouse with less patience than you would your best platonic friend. Often familiarity leads to a lack of basic kindness and respect. On that note; make a rule that neither of you will ever-ever-ever-ever (even in jest) complain about or denigrate the other to friends/family. If you have an issue with one another your FIRST stop should be to discuss it with one another; not mommy, not daddy, and not your friends on or offline. If anyone tries to get you to complain shut them down immediately.

(I am assuming you are celibate, so bear with me on this one) Be patient when it comes to the marriage bed, and be sure to voice your needs, desires, and preferences. The marriage bed absolutely does *not* have to become stagnant, and can actually be more enjoyable as you share it with your spouse. Hurt feelings and resentment can build quickly in this area when spouses don't communicate. Shame can be a driving force that kills enjoyment of that aspect of marriage, and there is no place for it within marriage. On that note; you may find a number of people that believe that a strict marital fast should be adhered to during all fasting periods. Unless your spiritual father specifically instructs you in that regard; don't listen to the hyperdox people in that regard and work something out in a discussion between you and your spouse.

Lastly, and most importantly; when it comes to parenthood the best gift you can give your child is to love their mother/father. You can't shove the importance of the relationship with your spouse down a couple rungs when a child arrives. That relationship can't just be picked up and back to normal months/years later. Sure, for a time after birth it feels very much like your life is surrounding your child. Even in that time it is essential that you take a few moments a day to reconnect with each other. It will be hard, but it is important. In the age of internet and smartphones it is far too easy to replace virtual communication for real communication. There is zero replacement for the in person interaction with your spouse. Text messages, email and such are OK if you can't be together. A handwritten note in a lunchbox, or slipped in a pocket will have a greater effect.


My husband and I came into marriage and parenthood entirely unprepared. We started with being best friends and treating each other as we would like to be treated ourselves. We have endured 2 deployments, buying and selling a first home, buying a second home, moving eight times, the birth of seven children, the miscarriage of 5 children, deaths, earthquakes, floods, near-bankruptcy, conversion to Orthodoxy....and the list goes on and on. Life has had many ups and downs, but we have ridden the rollercoaster together.

I am very happy to be where I am in my life today. Twenty years ago I couldn't have dreamt of being here, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 11:40:20 PM by Quinault »

Offline mike

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2016, 05:03:14 AM »
Really the only way I'd agree would be if you are speaking of how such reading would give someone a false sense of their abilities. But, I think St Ignatius Brianchaninov was talking sense when he said that, if you did not have a spiritual father (which were rare then, and presumably now), that people should definitely turn to books for guidance. I would agree that most of it will go in one eye and out the nostril, but maybe some things will get stuck, and after many mistakes perhaps the person will remember it.

Why exactly asking others for advice will result in bad advice and reading books will  result in good advice? How do you know all books are good and worth reading?
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2016, 06:52:16 AM »
I think people should treat the books like they treat people: with caution, and assuming that they might have something to share, but taking nothing as Gospel. Then apply as needed and seems good. That's what people are going to do anyway. I think people are a better resource--people you trust and who know your situation and who have a lot of experience preferrably--I just don't think it makes sense to dismiss books outright because an experienced and knowledgable person would be better. You could say the same thing about almost everything in life, from learning how to program a computer to learning how to be saved.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 06:52:48 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline WPM

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2016, 08:08:35 AM »
Not books but actual experience.

For someone who has never had any experience of orthodox marriage (not even of his own parents) I would say books are irreplaceable. Especially at the times when modern worldly view of marriage has very little to do with orthodox marriage.

You think its a fallacy in how y'all mention Orthodoxy but nobody really relates to it? ...

Offline WPM

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2016, 10:32:02 AM »
Really the only way I'd agree would be if you are speaking of how such reading would give someone a false sense of their abilities. But, I think St Ignatius Brianchaninov was talking sense when he said that, if you did not have a spiritual father (which were rare then, and presumably now), that people should definitely turn to books for guidance. I would agree that most of it will go in one eye and out the nostril, but maybe some things will get stuck, and after many mistakes perhaps the person will remember it.

Why exactly asking others for advice will result in bad advice and reading books will  result in good advice? How do you know all books are good and worth reading?


Not books but actually doing what books fantasize about.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2016, 02:45:26 PM »
Beautiful, Quinault.  :)

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2016, 10:05:53 PM »
Not sure that analogy works. For example, someone learning boxing from books would at least know that speed and technique, then defense, are all more important than trying to throw some kind of power punches.
Thinking they could do it, when they cannot, is more dangerous than not knowing.

You can't execute in boxing what you haven't trained in an alive manner. Sort of like relationships.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 10:06:14 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2016, 10:40:13 PM »
Not sure that analogy works. For example, someone learning boxing from books would at least know that speed and technique, then defense, are all more important than trying to throw some kind of power punches.
Thinking they could do it, when they cannot, is more dangerous than not knowing.

You can't execute in boxing what you haven't trained in an alive manner. Sort of like relationships.

So you sample the milk before buying the cow...
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2016, 02:35:45 AM »
Not sure that analogy works. For example, someone learning boxing from books would at least know that speed and technique, then defense, are all more important than trying to throw some kind of power punches.
Thinking they could do it, when they cannot, is more dangerous than not knowing.

You can't execute in boxing what you haven't trained in an alive manner. Sort of like relationships.

So you sample the milk before buying the cow...
More like milk before meat. Like how you shouldn't go and martyr yourself before you've learned to stop tripping people on your daily walk to work.
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Offline Alxandra

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2016, 10:52:38 AM »
A lovely writing to read is the letter from St Gregory to his spiritual daughter :) I've posted some of the parts here particularly for women.

“In your marriage, fondness, affection and love must be strong and persistent for him whom God has selected to be your life partner.

Be aware that you are a woman and you have an important and great purpose and destiny; however, your purpose and destiny is different than that of your husband who must be the head of your household. Set aside the silliness of equality among the sexes, that some of your contemporaries preach, and attempt to comprehend the obligations of marriage. In the realization of these obligations you will discover the great patience and endurance that is necessary to fulfill your family duties; it is in this manner that you will also discover the great strength that you as a woman possess.

Be aware that demons are always around attempting to penetrate your household, and break up the couple’s harmonious spiritual cohabitation.

Your presence within your home is irreplaceable; you must accordingly love your home with all the cares and concern of a dedicated housekeeper. You must view it and consider it as your kingdom and you should be judicious about how often you exit its entrance. Let your husband take care of many of the outside cares and obligations while you concentrate towards those within the home.

Your ears should be decorated not with pearls but instead with the sounds of proper language and with locks for all the improprieties that may enter your nous through them. Thus, whether they are open or closed your sense of hearing will remain pure.”

-A Letter from St Gregory the Theologian to one of his spiritual daughters
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 10:53:10 AM by Alxandra »
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Offline Alxandra

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Re: Books on preparing for marriage and a common house hold
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2016, 10:59:12 AM »
Some more lovely writings :)

“Pray together at home and go to Church; when you come back home, let each ask the other the meaning of the readings and the prayers. If you are overtaken by poverty, remember Peter and Paul, who were more honored than kings or rich men, though they spent their lives in hunger and thirst. Remind one another that nothing in life is to be feared, except offending God. If your marriage is like this, your perfection will rival the holiest of monks.”

Saint John Chrysostomos 


“When God takes a part in this good management of the household, when He trains the souls of the children, nothing at all will be unpleasant. The affairs of the household will go well when it’s rulers are so well disposed. In this way each man together with his household will be able to finish the course of this life without fear and to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

St John Chrysostomos On Marriage and Family Life


"When we say during the Holy Sacrament of Marriage’ prayers, that the woman shall be obedient to her husband, the husband must also take heed when he is told in the same prayer, that he must love her. The woman must also not forget that this obedience is her way to salvation. And if the man is the head of the family then the woman is the heart, and this heart is made by God that He may find rest in it."

Elder Arsenie Papacioc
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