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Chrysostom Quotes

A Selection of Spiritual Reflections on Marriage and
Family Life by St. John Chrysostom

“Your children will always be sufficiently wealthy if they receive from you a good
upbringing that is able to order their moral life and behavior.”

“For indeed a house is a little Church. Thus it is possible for us by becoming good
husbands and wives to surpass all others.”

“If artists who make statues and paint portraits of kings are held in high esteem,
will not God bless ten thousand times more those who reveal and beautify His
royal image? For man is the image of God. When we teach our children to be
good, to be gentle, and to be forgiving – all attributes of God; to be generous,
to love their neighbor, to regard this present age as nothing, we instill virtue in
their souls, and reveal the image of God within them. This, then, is our task: to
educate both ourselves and our children in godliness; otherwise what answer will
we have before Christ’s judgment seat? … Let us be greatly concerned for our
wives and our children and for ourselves as well. The good God Himself will bring
this work to perfection, so that all of us may be counted worthy of blessings He
has promised.”

“The loss of children comes about through no other way than the obsession their
parents have with earthly things.”

“There is no relationship between man and woman so close as that between man
and wife, if they be joined together as they should be.”

“When husband and wife are united in marriage they no longer seem like
something earthly, but rather like the image of God Himself.”

“It would be better for us for the sun to be extinguished than that we should be
deprived of friends, better to live in darkness than to be without friends.”

“There is no influence more powerful than the bond of love, especially for
husband and wife. A servant can be taught submission through fear; but even he,
if provoked too much, will soon seek his escape. But one’s partner for life, the

mother of one’s children, the source of one’s every joy, should never be fettered
with fear and threats, but with love and patience. What kind of marriage can
there be when the wife is afraid of the husband? What sort of satisfaction could a
husband himself have, if he live with his wife as if she were a slave, and not with a
woman by her own free will? Suffer anything for her sake, but never disgrace her,
for Christ never did this with the Church.”

“And again, never call her simply by her name, but with terms of endearment,
with honor, with much love. Honor her, and she will not need honor from others;
she will not want the glory that comes from others, if she enjoys that which
comes from thee. Prefer her before all, on every account, both for her beauty
and her discernment, and praise her. Thou wilt thus persuade her to give heed
to none that are without, but to scorn all the world except for thyself. Teach her
the fear of God, and all good things will flow from this as from a fountain, and the
house will be full of ten thousand blessings.”

“Money is everything now, and so everything has become corrupted and ruined,
because we are possessed by this passion for money.”

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife
and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). There is another aspect of
marital obligation: Paul shows that a man leaves his parents, who give him life,
and is joined to his wife, and that one flesh – father, mother, and child – results
from the commingling of the two. The child is born from the union of their seed,
so the three are one flesh. Our relationship to Christ is the same; we become one
flesh with Him through communion, more truly one with Him than our children
are one with us, because this has been His plan from the beginning.”

“The wife is a second authority. She should not demand equality, for she is
subject to the head; neither should the husband belittle her subjection, for she is
the body. If the head despises the body, it will itself die. Rather, let the husband
counterbalance her obedience with his love…Paul places the head in authority
and the body in obedience for the sake of peace. Where there is equal authority,
there never is peace. A household cannot be a democracy, ruled by everyone, but
the authority must necessarily rest in one person.”

“A wife should respect her husband even when he shows her no love, and a
husband should love his wife even when she shows him no respect.”

“Especially you mothers: think of Hannah’s example; look at what she did. She
brought Samuel, her only son, to the temple, when he was only an infant! Who
among you would not rather have a son like Samuel than one who became king of
the whole world ten thousand times over? ‘But it’s impossible,’ you say, ’for my
son ever to become as great as he.’ Why is it impossible? Because you don’t really
want it; you won’t entrust him to the One who is able to make him great.”

“Let everything take second place to our care for our children, our bringing them
up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

“Don’t strive to make him [your child] a clever orator, but teach him to love true
wisdom. He will not suffer if he lacks clever words; but if he lacks wisdom, all the
rhetoric in the world can’t help him. A pattern of life is what is needed, not empty
speeches; character, not cleverness; deeds, not words. These things will secure
the Kingdom and bestow God’s blessings.”

“Such is the power of love: it embraces, and unites, and fastens together not only
those who are present, and near, and visible, but also those who are far distant.
And neither length of life, nor separation in space, nor anything else of that kind,
can break up and divide in pieces the affection of the soul.”

“Nothing is more powerful than a pious and sensible woman to bring her
husband into proper order, and to mold his soul as she wills. For he will not
listen to friends, or teacher, or rulers, as much as he will his partner advising and
counseling him, since the advice carries some pleasures with it, because she who
gives the counsel is greatly loved.”