Talk 11: Better to Marry Than to Burn with Passion
Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas
Orthodox Christians hold various views regarding the main purpose of marriage. Some believe it is companionship, while others believe it is to have children. What, then, does the Orthodox Church teach regarding the main purpose of marriage? The answer to this question will influence a person’s decision whether or not to marry.
In this talk, Father Kosmas explains that the main purpose of marriage, according to Saint Paul, is to avoid sexual immorality, child-bearing being its secondary purpose. Although the Church praises virginity more highly than marriage, abstaining from sexual relations in today’s society is becoming increasingly difficult, due to constant exposure to sexual immorality through television, films, the media, billboards, and the internet. For this reason Saint Paul’s words are especially relevant today: … but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:9).
The following questions are also discussed: does the Church regard sex as dirty and sinful? Is abstaining from marriage and sexual relations abnormal? Is it wrong to desire monasticism because of an aversion to married life? How does the Church condemn negative attitudes toward sexual relations? Why is the Church so cautious with regard to married couples abstaining from sexual relations?
Other topics covered in this talk include: the danger of married people reading more books on monasticism than on married life; Saint John Chrysostom’s outspokenness regarding sexual relations; the media’s distortion of marriage and sexuality; how children are being confused and perverted by misinformation on sexuality; and how the Roman Catholic Church’s rules on unmarried clergy is contrary to the Holy Fathers.
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