Be kind with everybody but especially with your wife. Avoid considering whether her complaints are true or not. Care only about one thing: avoid making her sad, maintain peace in your home so that she would give you all her attention and you shall confess her all your sorrows so that you may find in her the consolation needed.
Tell your young wife, with the sweetest voice in the world: “I married you, my dearest child, to be the companion of my life, to share with me the most honourable duties – the birth of children and managing a home. What can I ask you in this case?”
Before telling her, speak her of your love, for nothing is more convincing than showing her your burning love. How can you show her your love, you wonder? Tell her:
“I could have chosen other women, richer and with higher ranks, but I did not. I fell in love with you, with your honesty, with your way of being, your gentleness and temperance. And why? Not without a reason but because I know that richness s not a virtue. I renounced therefore to it and I came to you, whose soul full of virtues I would not trade for all the gold of the world. A smart young lady, with a pure heart values more than all the treasures of this world. This is why I chose you, I love you and treasure you more than my life. This life on earth has no significant value, my prayers are that we deserve to spend together the future life, without having to fear anything. The time we have now is short and limited – and will be ended by death – but if we spend it fulfilling God’s will we shall live forever next to Him, and me together with you, in a full happiness. I put your love above everything else and nothing would hurt me more than to set my will against yours, ever. If I am to lose everything I have, to become the poorest of the men, to pass through the greatest dangers I will endure everything as long as my love for you will be happy. Having children with you will fulfil my biggest wish, as long as you will love me. May that your feelings be the same…”
If she does good, praise her, admire her. If she makes an error, as it may happen to any young woman, advise her. Condemn richness and luxury – teach her to adorn herself with honesty and shyness – and use every opportunity to teach her the best. Pray together, and go, as it is suitable, to church. Man shall ask to his woman to share with him anything that was said or read before her and man should to the same.
Do not look at you wife anyhow but with kindness and tenderness. Give her a lot of attention and she will not seek it from other men. Put your wife above anything, from any point of view – beauty, wisdom – and praise her. Thus she will not seek attention somewhere else – but she will ignore it. Teach her to fear God. Everything else will come on their own and your home will be a happy one.
We shall learn to be kind with everybody but especially with your wife. Avoid considering whether her complaints are true or not. Care only about one thing: avoid making her sad, maintain peace in your home so that she would give you all her attention and you shall confess her all your sorrows so that you may find in her the consolation needed.
(Translation from Saint John Chrysostom, Cateheze maritale)