Cross & Marriage

Cross and Marriage

The concepts of a soulmate and perfect marriage, the modern definition and understanding of love as a mere feeling, the idea that we are the masters of our lives and have the power and right to make changes at any moment when things don’t work out the way we expect and desire, are the ingredients of a perfect storm responsible for sinking and destroying so many marriages in modern society. The main character of Anne Tyler’s novel A Patchwork Planet realizes this too late. The thirty-two-year-old narrator recently went through a divorce and now works with elderly people. Slowly he realizes that their long-standing marriages are far from perfect, yet they are together after so many years and happy. He starts to question his choices and wonders if he made a terrible mistake by breaking his own marriage and divorcing. 

Today we celebrate the Second Sunday after the Holy Cross and come to discover that two of the three lectionary readings are actually about marriage. Why would the church ascribe marriage-related scripture readings to a feast dedicated to the Holy Cross? What does the Cross have in common with marriage? And the answer is – everything.

The Holy Cross is the ultimate symbol and reminder of God’s sacrificial love for us. Nothing describes the Christian understanding and teaching of marriage better than God’s sacrificial and selfless love revealed to the world through the Holy Cross, and nothing depicts our relationship with God more clearly than marriage.  This is precisely why St. Paul exhorts spouses to love each other as Christ loved the world (Ephesians 5:25) and why we depict the church as a bride and Christ as the groom. 

Love has always been universally cherished and treasured throughout cultures and civilizations. But the modern definition and depiction of love has very little to do with the original Biblical teaching. It is instead a trimmed down and sterilized version of the Biblical and true love that carefully avoids inconvenient truths such as sacrificial love and prefers to present it more as a mere feeling, profound and intimate inner-personal affection, connection or ‘chemistry’ that is only real if it works for us, if we get something out of it, if it matches our aspirations and desires.

On the other hand, the church presents love and marriage as a cross. Nothing associated with the cross is easy or comfortable. The cross can be heavy, painful, uncomfortable and, at times, unbearable. It will sometimes push us to our very limits and demand selfless dedication and sacrificial love. Sometimes, we might even think that this version of love and marriage is simply too hard and heavy to expect someone to bear their entire life and impossible ever to reach and maintain. And we would be very correct to think this way because, without faith that is alive, active and deeply rooted in communion with the living God, this version of love and marriage is simply impossible. But if we follow the words and advice of St. Paul and strive to love as Christ loved us, if we turn to Him – to the only source of true and pure love and beg Him to feel our hearts with his love and teach us to love, then undoubtedly the Lord with His Holy Spirit and presence will guide us and our marriages, strengthen us and teach us.

Why is the Bible and the Holy Church so adamant about sacrificial and selfless love when it comes to love and marriage? Because any other interpretation and understanding condemn our marriages, relationships, friendships and the futures of our children to an inevitable demise and danger. The Biblical teaching of marriage switches priorities and places God first and our spouse second. It constantly and continuously reminds us that the world is a bigger place than ourselves, our desires, likes and wants, that in order for us to grow and mature in love and life, we must be willing to change and compromise, learn to respond in love and compassion rather than react in anger and resentment. It is only through understanding and living the Christian marriage and raising children in the love of Christ that we can come to truly appreciate what the Cross really means and how much God loves us to whom glory today and forever, amen.Cross & Marriage


  1. Reply
    Lisa Byron says:

    Excellent sermon, Der Voski. Thank you.

  2. Reply
    Apostle David says:

    Excellent teaching…
    Additional to these;…Females never love as males do because God did not put love in them but commanded them to submit to the love offered to them by males.
    Check out the Bible verses which talk about love… The Bible only instructing men to love their wives and women to be submissive.
    Love of God is generally not for selfishness which drives by the word of God understanding…1corrinth.13:1-5.

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