Dear Stavroula: Wife Upset over Husband Wanting to Become a Priest

Dear Stavroula,

I am 28 years old and my husband is 32 and we have two little kids. We live in a small town in Greece. My husband’s family is very religious and one of his uncles is a priest. My husband grew up in a very strict household but he is a man with an open mind. When I met him, I felt very lucky because, although he had beliefs, he was a man who liked to go out and have fun like me. But a year and a half ago he had an accident with his motorcycle, was saved miraculously, and has since changed. He began to go to church every Sunday, to fast strictly, to go to Mount Athos, and generally to turn to religion. I am a very lively person, I like to have fun, I like to dress up fashionably, I don’t dress trashy, but I will wear short skirts or shorts from time to time. And I believe in God, but I’m not much of a churchgoer and it bothered me when he started to not want to go out to bars or music venues. Of course, he came with me sometimes when I insisted and never told me “no” when I wanted to go out with my friends. But recently he told me he wanted to become a priest. I feel betrayed, I did not marry a priest, I never wanted to be a priest’s wife. I do not want to lose my husband, I love him, but I do not want our lives to change, or to have restrictions on going out, or what clothes I wear, and I don’t want my kids called “papadopaidia.” I do not know how to convince him to change his mind. What should I do?

Vasia

 

Dear Vasia,

I understand the concern you have over your husband’s decision to become a priest, but I do not agree that you should convince him to change his mind. Your husband is an adult and can make his own life decisions, as you, of course, would for yourself. If he really wants to devote a piece of his life to God, he has the right to do it. If you influence him negatively and he gives in to your pressure, there is a chance he will constantly regret it and not be happy. Would you like to be responsible for the misery of the man you love? How can a marriage proceed without respect for one another and for what your husband’s soul desires? The real life partner helps the other to evolve, to find his way in life, backs his decisions – when they are not harmful – encourages him, rejoices in his success, and certainly is not the one who places obstacles in the other’s path.

In a marriage, people are changing, maturing, moving forward continuously. Even though it is sometimes difficult to accept a partner’s changes, if there is love and respect, there are always solutions to keep two people together happily.

You write to me that your man has an open mind and he respects your own wishes. Why, then, would he stop the moment he became a priest? Therefore, you should initially talk to him openly, express your concerns, ask him what his own position is about the changes in your life, and after you have clarified all the issues that concern you, you should decide what are you going to do.

You’re afraid the role of a priest’s wife requires a certain way of life that does not suit you. You are a young, trendy woman and you do not want to be deprived of your entertainment, going out or to have to change the way you dress. But is this really so, will your life change so much if your husband becomes a priest?

I think you have in mind the presvyteres of the past who wore long skirts and their hair up in a bun. Today, however, things are completely different. I know many young women who are priests’ wives, and if you meet them, you would probably not guess that they are married to priests. They are fashionable, dressed as they please, without being provocative, but that is something that you also avoid as you wrote. They have social lives, they go out, and live like any other woman with a family. Why are you so worried?

You probably have to get rid of the stereotypes of the presvytera and think logically. You have a beautiful family with a man who respects and loves you. Help him make his dream come true. Your family will not be harmed, on the contrary.

1 Comment

  1. There are a couple of things to consider here. The first is that he cannot simply present himself for ordination. He will have to some sort of theological training, either at university or other theological institution. That would take at least two years. The government has severely restricted ordinations so that might impact any decision the couple makes. Second, in Greece do women whose husbands want to be ordained have to sign an agreement, as is the case in the US? It will be a recipe for disaster if she agrees but does not want him to do it.

Comments are closed.