Church Fathers, Day 208: St. John Chrysostom tells us to hold ourselves to our own standard

st_john_chrysostom_3Hold yourself to your own standard

St. John Chrysostom tells Christian husbands that they need to treat their wives with the respect they deserve. In a Christian marriage, a husband is as respon­sible to the wife as the wife is to the husband.

If your wife is always going out in public assemblies, you’re severe in blaming her. But you spend whole days at public shows, and you don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. When it comes to your wife’s modesty, you’re so strict that you go beyond necessity or moderation, and don’t even allow her to go out when it’s absolutely necessary. But for yourself you think everything is allowed.

But Paul doesn’t think so. He gives the wife the same authority. This is what he says: “The husband should give the wife her conjugal rights.” Now, what sort of rights are you giving her, when you insult her in the most important things? When you give up her body to harlots (for your body is hers)? When you do things in the marketplace that overwhelm her with shame when you tell her about them at home—and put your daughter to shame, too, if she’s there—and put yourself to shame more surely than them?

St. John Chrysostom, Homily 7 on Matthew, 8

IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .

Do I honestly hold myself to the same standard I expect from the rest of my family? Or do I find ways to make excuses for my own behavior that I wouldn’t accept from them?

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, I pray that you will strengthen the love of all who are united in marriage, and help them bear witness to your love in this world.

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