Probably the most difficult stage in the life of a young couple – this is the first 2-3 years. What prevents mutual love and joy at this time why the feelings go, and families break up? The difficulties and the joy of a young family we spoke with Archpriest Maxim Kozlov , rector of the Church of St. Seraphim of Sarov at the Expo Center, Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy.

“Freedom in the marriage ends after the free choice of spouse”Father Maxim, you have long been the rector Tatyaninsk temple at Moscow State University, where among the parishioners were always a lot of students, young people, and had the opportunity to see how they meet, fall in love, get married and to have children, to communicate with them in happy and difficult moments. What, in your opinion, the most difficult in the life of a young family? Why the strong feelings are often a few years develop into a dull irritation and constant dissatisfaction with each other, and this crack over time, leads to the disintegration of the family?
I just wanted to make a small reservation. We live in a time when strong feelings, strong love – is not the only basis for marriage. Generally speaking, the idea of romantic love as the basis for the creation of a family has a very short history throughout the history of mankind. This consciousness was formed approximately in modern times, and is more or less a common principle for the creation of a family becomes not before the end of the XIX – early XX century. It is important to realize that romantic love is not absolute as a kind of norm, a prerequisite for marriage. However, this rule inherited from the Soviet era. But now to the fore yet overlook other factors: social, national, cultural.

We live in the conditions of capitalism, and let’s call a spade a spade: in spite of mutual sympathy and attraction tycoon’s son and daughter of migrant workers from the deep province chance that the sympathy of their family to grow, not so much. Most are married with people from the close environment, whether it be national or cultural environment. By the way, and also religious – with the growth of the religious factor in the lives of our compatriots. In other words, in our time is not easy to imagine a marriage consciously faithful Muslim and Christian, despite the fact that they are really very much to get excited each other to survive love. But what comes to starting a family, religious differences will be a serious obstacle.

I want to say that feeling as a family base in our time are not the predominant motive; rather, other factors converge (outlook, education, social status, cultural attitudes), and love is the only option.

But suppose we are considering the option of marriage, in which people joined feeling strong love. Why then it is often not very good, and families break up? Firstly, in my opinion, because in most cases, the relationship is not a modern couple “incubation period”. As a priest, I advise young people – unless, of course, they are asking the board – for some time to perceive each other as bride and groom, that is, as people who have moral obligations towards one another. With others not to walk on the other not to look, huskies in facebook to ambiguous pictures of other not to. Live a so six months or a year, as the lovers, but – crucially – without backups of physical intimacy, getting to know each other.

It is in no sense should not be taken so that the Church climbs to young people in bed. In another case. Now physical intimacy with mutual sympathy people comes so early ( “Why not? We love each other”), and provides a powerful stuffing hormones in the brain that it is a little disconnected. And the man next to me is perceived through the prism of happiness, pleasure, pleasure that I get along with him. And the rest at the moment goes by the wayside. Yes, I see that in everyday life, he is behaving strangely, may be delayed, may not meet, forgets birthdays, tactless communicate with their parents. Well, okay, what do I care to their conflict – I also do this to him (her) good! And when that period comes to an end – but the euphoria will not last forever – the reality here is just beginning to show up. A bad character, bad habits, completely opposite views on important questions of life. And then start conflicts. And already become pregnant or had a baby …

The birth of children – also a moment of crisis?

Yes, very often it takes delight with the advent of children. This is due to the specifics of today’s civilization moment. Like it or not, even with the current economic crisis and the problems of sanctions, we live immeasurably easier, including in our childhood, than the vast majority of mankind for most of its history.

As a person over the age of tastes of different epochs, I can say that the invention is in itself an automatic washing machine and dishwasher, diapers changed life dramatically. Young people no longer clear what the daily hand washing gauze diapers and diaper. And there are things in our everyday life are numerous: ordering food at home, cleaning the house with the help of invited cleaners, water vacuum cleaner instead of rags and mops. In this respect, children often grow up without having any experience of overcoming difficulties, except elementary teenage situations. And in a young family difficulties still begin, because no matter what the technology, the child may in the first year almost did not sleep, get sick. Start some kind of test, which can be unprepared, and because of this, annoyed, angry tearing each other.
This is partly personal and partly a social problem, because in this life of ease in young people has little or no experience of a particular constraint yourself for another person, despite the fact that the comfort of their own existence is a priority in our consumer society. And if children do not have yet, you yourself anything by themselves, and do not hesitate for the sake of the child need to do something. But it turns out that there is a person of skill, when the other, and I did not become more important. A family is really important.

There is another very important point, related to the fact of what I said above: without going through a period of abstinence before marriage, people often do not have the life experiences with each other without regular sexual relations. And when it turns out that in the later months of pregnancy or after the baby is born to a woman is not intimacy, the start – banal, almost gone – the massive crises precisely on this basis. First, all kinds of excuses himself ( “it has become a bad look,” “She was tired and angry”, “it is all the time engaged in a child”) – and then banal betrayal, many times described in psychological literature and art.

Now glossy media popular motto: “In relations nobody owes nothing.” This is one extreme. On the other hand, the Church speaks of the sacrifice – but is it always useful? After sacrifice of one can lead to another and parasitism imbalance “take-make” in the relationship. Where is the exit?

The Gospel does not speak so much about sacrifice certainly, but about love. That is, it suggests that the ideal family – it’s not a social contract, or not primarily a social contract. In the social sphere of the state task – to protect the rights and impose obligations, and the social contract creates the boundaries of these rights and duties – in relation to the work, to society, to the state itself in its various manifestations. Family is built on the principle that these are no boundaries.

Christianity is based on the fact that “the two will become one flesh,” that is creating this kind of union, where there is no distinction between “mine” and “yours.” This refers to the final separation, not in the sense of toothbrushes and the right to free time. The absence of a final separation implies that there is not my ultimate autonomy of the members of my family. My freedom is to choose a person freely, with whom I enter into the marriage, and then it generally ends. Then I take over some kind of commitment to it. It is difficult, but, paradoxically, only it gives happiness.

Ask any man: what he wants? Everyone wants happiness, even says that he does not care. And every man for himself knows that happiness – is not when you are being, and when you like. But this is impossible without taking you to another person.

Do not risked with persons dissolve into another?

And then a need to connect the family psychology, worldly wisdom, to work out the tactics of behavior. Of course, behave, go to the mat in front of the other and disappear – it does not mean to keep the love of another person. Just someone who loves him and needs. But demand is necessary, not because “I am right and you are trembling creature”, but because I want to keep the correctness of our relations. In order not only for me, but you have not gone the feeling of the value of our relationship, I do not want you to use me, manipulate me.

What do you think about the idea of the rule of men in the family? Now this principle is somewhat strange and incomprehensible, because both men and women, about the same level of intelligence, education, income, etc. Viability, in your opinion, the so-called affiliate model family?

Of course, life situations and family patterns are different, and every rule there is an exception. Apostle Paul’s words that “the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church,” it is important to understand in this totality, this second part, “as Christ – the head of the Church.”

What does this mean? The fact that her husband – is the one who takes the main measure of responsibility. Let me say anything, but I do not believe that there is a woman, which is bad from the fact that next to her man on whom she can rely on and who is able to solve their problems. That does not say, “Solve itself, and I am busy with their own affairs on the couch.”

At the same tactics in these respects can be very different. This does not mean that the husband should certainly be able to earn good money, or hammer nails (although it is obvious that it is better able to do some household items). I had the good fortune to see the family of the great Russian philosopher Alexei Fedorovich Losev and his wife Aza Alibekovna Tahoe-Priest, Head of the Department of Classical Philology of Moscow University for many years. All domestic questions in their life decided Aza Alibekovna who saves her husband, the great Russian philosopher, from contact with a household reality. But this does not mean that he was not the head of their family. Just for them it was the rule of the other: the greatness of his mind, in the depths of his genius. Headship can be expressed in it.

But, of course, is the supremacy should not be in the spirit of the army command and the more turn into a tyranny: the man ordered – all must obey. It is clear that the family is different from a platoon.

Does this mean that a man without a pronounced leadership qualities and artistic talent can not be head of the family? Not at all. Let everyone understands the situation: if the sequel of the film “Office Romance”, it is probably difficult to imagine how Novosel becomes the director, his wife passes on the career ladder, and go home all toe the line under it suddenly got stronger and who received the virility voice. But it can be expressed in the primacy of loyalty, devotion, taking care of his family. And it is also an exercise in living gospel principles.

Can a marriage be happy without common interests, in your opinion? For example, a couple united only by the presence of children …

Happy – is unlikely. But what it means to “unite only the children”? If it sounds so sad that we do not run away, but not to cause psychological trauma to children, then in fact it is not a family, and kind of social contract, when people agreed that due to some kind of external circumstances they take such commitments. What is the reason? Let us call a spade a spade: with certain material limitations (no place to live, it is difficult to exchange the apartment, and so on). It is, in fact, a sign of weakness: people recognize that the lost and agree to finish the game.

But it also happens that people decide to stay together for the sake of the children and because they are real people, not robots, Lord on this seemingly scorched soil gives rise to something larger. Often sick child, which involves many months regular care of him by the father and mother – and in the process of caring between them can grow something new. There are also other circumstances. Therefore, even if people say that they retain only seven of the children, it’s better to be it – because life is not over, there is hope that things will get better. Although, of course, there are no guarantees, and it can not turn.

Often the problem in the marriage becomes a difference in emotional needs. The wife feels that her husband loves and cares for her and the children, and in general it is a good man, but emotionally he seems to be missing in the relationship, not responding to important for her feelings, emotions, thoughts. From this arises the loneliness and alienation from each other … Why is this situation occurs, and whether it is solvable?

Yes, it happens, and often. This is what happens when a wife – a man of fine emotional constitution, for it is most important not gifts and travel, and mutual openness, a willingness to talk to share her emotions and feelings. A husband may be not ready. For various reasons, not necessarily because he needed something to hide (though it also happens), but because he was tired now, he wants to be alone or to be with her, but it is not included in the emotionally intense conversations.

What can you advise? A man in such cases, I usually say: if you want – you do not want, and without having to openly communicate with her periodically, it will not work. It is necessary to talk, just have to talk. Will you say – it is hoped that somehow restored. You will only give gifts, nice smile and deal with external care – can result in very sad. Because I do not underestimate the importance of this: man’s inner thin and naturally expect others enough measure of openness – and do not even have the attention to itself – it is impossible to live without.

Women in this situation trying to say: yes, of course, your desire is justified, but we must not turn it into a “standing with a knife at his throat.” Well, actually, it is less able to this. It is necessary to wait for or clever to bring to the situation, the time, the mood when he said to this openness will be ready. He does not like you, he can not come home from work, suddenly switch over dinner – and spend five nights a week at such a high emotional note. Have patience. And, on the other hand, do not expect the initiative only on him, but to create the conditions for this – if you only require only aggravate the situation.

Jealousy in the family now, too few taboo feeling. If you are jealous, then you have complexes and infantilism. Is it always jealous – improper feeling, or in some situations, it may be justified?

Jealousy jealous hatred. If the wife sees her husband recklessly flirting with colleagues – and this is clear from his active life in social networks and on other grounds, and in this case it is not a log, how it can relate to it safely? Again, if it is a family, not a temporary alliance of sexual partners, it is reasonable to expect from someone who is around you, that he is not staring at other people’s secondary sexual characteristics.

And another thing, when the number of people, friends and colleagues around the family, already excluding the improper relationship, opposed to violence. It can be jealous, not only in the sexual sense, can be jealous to work, to hobbies, to employment, to another filling life. This is a time when this openness, which we discussed in due measure there. And then it would be necessary to take care of it.

No, of course, jealousy is inadequate, when, as described by CS Lewis in his excellent treatise on love, love and family is understood as a person completely capturing currently. And any attempt to its autonomous existence is perceived with hostility or rigidly suppressed – women often hysterical, scandal, nervousness, men – often dictate. The same Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, “says that if it is love, devilish, which implies that love – means to eat.

Subject Parenthood today is also associated with many expectations and very demanding to himself: sociocultural installation are such that from the mothers and fathers will incredibly vigorous activities for the upbringing and development of their child. It turns out that parenthood – only for mature, multiple personalities. Or is it enough just to love your child and share it with their warmth?

Yes, sometimes I see in young people giperotvetstvennost towards children: they are all kinds of courses conscious birth, home birth, birth in water and the like, and an endless desire of children to develop. Why can it be wrong? Firstly, not all children, in my opinion, have to be very clever – but it’s a separate issue related to the current cult of higher education, leading to its degradation. I am absolutely convinced that the main thing, thanks to which the child develops – this is a normal atmosphere in a family where mum and dad love each other and take. Well not all be Pestalozzi and Makarenko, and even it is not necessary to read the Pestalozzi and Makarenko (or, for example, Gippenreiter) to raise the children well.

It seems to me that these children’s classes and courses provide parents the illusion that “others will learn better than we do.” That is, the fact that I drive a child to such a group, then his socialize, there develops his intelligence and fine motor skills, I responsibly fulfilling their parental duty. I’m not saying that it does not need. But if due to additional groups and activities children almost do not spend time with his father and mother, if they have no time to talk, walk, read a story in the evening, then it means that the parents by developing circles just simplify your life. Again, this does not mean that there is a mandatory task – every evening to read a story and then ask your child questions that he would answer, showing “the assimilation of the material.” Not at all. Just for the child to be with their parents – it’s good.

Therefore, let it be more better with you. And then his family’s awareness of how something good, value will be laid from infancy. After all, what we want for their children? Too happy. And also do not think happiness without a good family. A child from living in a loving atmosphere will realize that the family – it is something good in itself, and not something that you have to endure all of life as hard labor.

In our culture, love of children – is sacred, and at the same time as the installation of detotsentrizm severely criticized by family psychologist. What do you think of it?

Detotsentrizm really now distributed mainly in the educated urban environment. Very often, a child makes of the cult, and the whole life revolves around it. But if the child is well by the fact that it is made into a cult? Not sure.

If we take the traditional hierarchical model of the family, we see that if the husband does not need to shift an excessive measure of responsibility to his wife, then flip the pyramid of family relations, so that the smallest become the most important – it is all the more unnatural. The child then grows up a complete human being, when originally built in the right way in the hierarchy of relations in the family, “senior” – “Jr.”, “decision-maker” – “helping to implement it.” And to put life on the altar of raising a child – it’s not just your life hurt, but his.

There is a view that there are several children in the family contributes to a harmonious upbringing …

In my opinion, there is no direct parallels. Of course, one is difficult. One child naturally tends to becoming a center of the universe. He has no experience in the sustainable long life together with others, feeling that I was not the only one. Still, a kindergarten and a school that does not give it an episodic experience.

And then – no guarantees. Many children do not guarantee anything: neither happiness nor the fact that children are sure to grow good and they all goes well. That is, many children – that in itself is good, but only if people do not perceive it as an indulgence: “For what we have given birth to several children, we all should get.” Moreover, it may lie in the plane of the social: “We have many children, the state we are now everywhere should” (and in general all have), and in the religious: “God said that his wife was saved by childbearing, and behold, we have produced in the amount of five six people, why are we going wrong? Why children are not welcome, that we have five-six? “And because you have not done anything for this. In itself, spawn – is simple enough.

We often perceive the Christian conversation about marriage as a moralizing on shoulds, hear cited a formidable voice apostolic letters: “A woman must fear her husband …”, “Bear one another’s burdens wear …”. Or connect the church with the family look at a taboo on any theme, with sanctimonious look at male and female relationships. Is there a Christian marriage some joy?

You know, at the end of the wedding the priest used to say some parting words of a young couple. For example, like this: “Look, right now you are standing next to each other, are happy, you are so good, really like the first people in paradise, like Adam and Eve. And do not believe those who will tell you that it’s inevitable end. From life experience there, whether worldly wisdom, whether numerous examples – do not believe. Themselves do not believe that there a feeling that it will never come back. Actually, the wedding, like any ordinance gives the person more than the person can get. Every sacrament (baptism, confession, communion, wedding) – it is such a gift from God, which is simply his “goodness” can not be earned. The wedding is given the chance, the opportunity to maintain mutual love for life and continue into eternity.

The Christian family – a family that, on a plan, not only are not part, not only we are with your loved one will live to old age, but also when we meet again, we will want to be together – and this is what for us among other things, will be a paradise. We’ll be together, but not just in different corners, so as not to communicate – otmuchilsya of life’s burdens and reviled enough – but really together. This is the meaning of Christian marriage: dear, the fact that you have now – it’s not stuffing hormone and not some kind of psychosomatic condition, which can then try to survive with another as a surrogate again and again. This is what you can grow in their earthly life, and stretch into eternity. And it’s worth sometimes burdens reproach you, and be patient. ”

And is there in today’s world examples of such love? If they are not around me, where can I see them?

I could cite various examples, but they will still be bookish. Seeing the need to round itself. In fact, I do not believe that all around you – not necessarily in the immediate vicinity – there would be people who after 10-20-30 years of marriage to each other happy. Look for these people, why do they have it? Even if they are in some other respects is not your ideal. But if they are, for all its other shortcomings after 20 years of marriage happy, then it means that they know. Learn from them.

If conceptualize human life in the light of the Christian faith, it turns out that all our difficulties and problems, including family life, – a consequence of the imperfection of our nature, corrupted by original sin. Hence, all the friction and conflicts, and pride, and lack of love. And what it was pristine, paradise image family – Adam and Eve, what is its meaning?

We can say very little about the state of the first people to fall. In fact, we know about him only that we briefly convey the first chapters of Genesis. And it is very little. But it is possible to understand this: it was a kind of life, when there were no barriers between man and woman, and between them and God.

Actually, what is the specificity of the Christian family? It implies that there are not two sides, but three: not only husband and wife, and the husband, wife, and God (is not talking about children). And the three of them that well. It is in no sense should not be taken so that the Church is committed to thoroughly regulate and control the life of husband and wife. At the level of some distortion, unfortunately, can someone and met it in some texts, or the behavior of individual priests. But this is not the case. Church fundamentally tells a different story: that it may be good to truly and firmly, in relation to each other and need to put more of God. And then there are all the conditions for the completeness of love and life.

Interviewed by Anastasia Hramuticheva