Marriages can all too easily get tired, especially once children appear. Every married person knows this. In Western cultures, firstly in North America, then the UK and all over Western Europe, and increasingly even in Central and Eastern Europe as those countries too are Americanized, secularist values are being adopted. This alien secularism means ugliness, which says: Why bother to be beautiful when God did not make us and we are going to die like animals anyway?
Thus, adopting secularist values, some Orthodox wives give up looking after themselves, constantly criticize their husbands and men in general, dress badly and eat badly, jeans and T-shirts all the time, too weak to swim against the surrounding tide. As regards some Orthodox husbands, they begin looking at other women, giving up the constant self-sacrifice that real men, real husbands and fathers, make for their beautiful wives and obedient children, and fall into alcoholic and other abuses. Like the secularists, they say: ‘We are free, let it all hang out, who cares anyway?. These secularist values are in fact all about loss of respect for God, for others and for self. These ugly values, loss of respect and self-respect are not the values of our Orthodox Christian Civilization.
Orthodox women should keep themselves beautiful, following Orthodox values. They should look after their bodies and looks, disciplining themselves, careful what and how much they eat, looking after their hair, looks, dress and shoes – but keeping modesty, without falling into vanity and foolish expense on vain luxuries and excessive make-up: such care of self is only for their husbands, not for anyone else. As for Orthodox men, they must keep sacrificing themselves at work and in the home, being good husbands and fathers, sharing all income, disciplining themselves too, not abusing their bodies and minds with alcohol, any other drug or tattoos, spending time with their beloved and unique wives and children. They too should look after their bodies and looks, not in order to attract other women, but only their beautiful wives.
At the Orthodox wedding, we are crowned. These crowns have a double meaning: martyrdom and royalty. Thus, in family life we become martyrs through self-sacrifice for each other and for our children. But in marriage we also become royal, we are kings and queens of our households. There is nothing so beautiful as the little wrinkles that come from love. Our marriages have to be constantly renewed: Orthodox married life is about falling in love again every day.