John Crysostom (345-407) is widely regarded as one of the greatest preachers who ever lived. His preaching was bold and fearless. He was known as “golden mouth,” orator and yet he preached a plain spoken style that revealed reverence for the Scriptures. He was one of the most significant exegetes in the early church. Chrysostom’s On Marriage and Family Life, is a collection of biblical messages on the Christian family rooted in the Kingdom of God. Much of his straightforward advice to families is practical and has timeless relevance. Consider his helpful list of ten principles to help husbands love their wives:
- Whenever you give your wife advice, always begin by telling her how much you love her. Nothing will persuade her so well to admit the wisdom of your words as her assurance that you are speaking to her with sincere affection.
- Show her that you value her company and prefer being at home to being out.
- Esteem her in the presence of your friends and children.
- If she ever does anything foolish advise her patiently.
- Prefer her before all others both for her beauty and her discernment–praise her. She will in this way be persuaded to listen to none that are outside but to disregard all the world except for you.
- 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.
- Remove from her soul this notion of ‘mine’ and ‘yours.’ If she says the word ‘mine,’ ask her ‘What things do you call yours? I honestly don’t know what you mean, for my part, I have nothing of my own. How can you speak of ‘mine’ when everything is yours?’
- Never call her by her name alone, but with terms of endearment, honor and love. If you honor her, she won’t need honor from others. She won’t desire praise from others if she enjoys the praise that comes from you.
- Pray together at home, and when you come back, let each ask the other the meaning of the readings and the prayers. Teach her to fear God and all other good things will flow from this one lesson as from a fountain and your house will be filled with ten thousand blessings. If we seek the things that are perfect, the secondary things will flow. The Lord says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” Matt. 6:33). If your marriage is like this, your perfection will rival the holiest of Monks.
[From the book on Marriage and Family Life, by Saint John Chrysostom, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1986.]
[…] Practical Advice for Christian Family Life – 10 Principles: “Chrysostom’s On Marriage and Family Life, is a collection of biblical messages on the Christian family rooted in the Kingdom of God. Much of his straightforward advice to families is practical and has timeless relevance. Consider his helpful list of ten principles to help husbands love their wives.” […]