On Marriage and Family Life
Excerpts from notes made by the Royal Martyr Empress Alexandra Fedorovna
There are many religious treatises to be found on monasticism, but there are too few books dedicated to acquainting the contemporary reader with the Christian concept of matrimony. And yet the majority of Christians choose the path of the wedded state, called by the Holy Fathers “the harbor of chastity.”
However, our life is usually spent in worry over obtaining one’s daily bread, and the mutual limitations and sinfulness of the spouses often leave a noticeable trace on the relations between husband and wife. Gradually the feelings which had made the young lovers the happiest people on earth begin to fade, grow scanty; the light of sacrifice and chivalry begins to dim; daily routine makes communion between the spouses lackluster. The experience of the crowned royals Nicholas and Alexandra was obviously quite different. Innate nobility, purity of feelings and intentions were united with a well thought out effort to maintain and guard the union which truly became a model for their loyal subjects.
While reading books, Empress Alexandra wrote out excerpts which accorded most fully with her own experience of marriage. The inner power of these notes lies in the virtuous way of life of the pious Empress, who was totally dedicated to the ideal of the family. It is for this reason that these excerpts reflect calmness, total sincerity, and celestial beauty. In our times, when the very basic human concepts of duty, honor, conscience, responsibility, and faithfulness are questioned and even mocked, the reading of these notes becomes a real spiritual event. Counsels, warnings to the spouses, thoughts on true and false love, reflections on the relations between close relatives, testimony concerning the definitive significance of the home atmosphere in determining a child’s nature – such is the circle of ethical problems with which the Empress is concerned.
The Empress helps us take a fresh look at the divine establishment of marriage and to value this gift in the light of Christian love.
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