Talk 69: Married Couples: Do Not Deprive One Another so That Satan May Not Tempt You Because of Your Lack of Self-control

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Set of 3 Audio CD's

(Duration: 4hrs) 

Sexual relations are one of the most common areas of conflict in marriage, even for Orthodox Christians, and the resulting problems can even lead to divorce. Yet many in the Orthodox Church avoid any discussion of sexual relations, thinking they have nothing to do with the spiritual life. What they fail to realize is that the reverse is true: the Holy Fathers, elders, Holy Scripture and the canons of the Orthodox Church consider this topic extremely important, and offer the faithful a wealth of information and guidance. Being ignorant of this, in a desperate attempt to save their marriages many seek help from those who virtually always give advice contrary to God’s law. 

In this talk Father Kosmas uses the Holy Scriptures, the canons, and the teachings of various saints and contemporary elders to answer many questions that Orthodox Christians have concerning sexual relations in marriage. He especially emphasizes that abstinence from sexual relations, whether for spiritual or other reasons, often leads to many serious problems, even adultery and divorce. In particular, Saint Paul states that undiscerning abstinence during fasting periods, instead of bringing benefit, can become a source of temptation. 

The following questions are also discussed: why is it said that ‘Hell is full of proud people who have lived in virginity’? What days should a married couple abstain from sexual relations? How should couples fast and abstain from sexual relations when preparing for Holy Communion? Why were the Holy Fathers so concerned about married couples that abstained from relations for long periods of time? Breaking the food fast or breaking the marital fast: which does the Church consider more serious? In what ways can married people surpass the virtues of monastics? 

Other points covered in this talk include: the great need for spouses to discuss and be considerate of each other’s sexual needs and weaknesses; Elder Paisios’ surprising attitude toward strict spiritual fathers; how the holy canons give a married couple (and not the spiritual father) the right to ‘judge for themselves’ with regard to sexual abstinence; Elder Paisios’ advice to couples when one spouse has a more moderate level of sexual desire than the other; how the Church penances those who fail to abstain from marital relations on fast days; and the urgent need for books and preaching on the topic of marriage.