It’s an interesting thing to show up at an event or place in my clerical gear (you know the black suit and collar thing) and holding hands with my wife.
I love to do it not just because holding hands is a good thing if you’re married but sometimes I like the reaction. Most people aren’t quite sure what to do with the guy in the collar and the woman. Am I some Roman Catholic guy running amok? Is there some kind of wierd fetish thing going on? Some of it surely must be the fact that the media portrays clergy as old, sort of shriveled, smiling placidly, and in some sort of asexual netherworld. So the sight of a Priest holding hands with a, gasp, woman must be quite a sight. Actually my wife, raised a Roman Catholic, felt that way too and for some time would not kiss me if I was wearing my collar! That’s changed of course, thank God, but the illusion does run deep.
I am glad that Orthodoxy allows its clergy the natural and sanctified life of marriage. I would be a horrible celibate and its not about the sex at all. Its about having a companion, a complement, a partner, a confidant, a soul mate, a love, a wife. Although I respect the Roman Catholic ideal in these matters there is a sadness inside of me that good men would have to choose between Christian marriage and Christian ministry. With all its challenges I would still prefer to live on the edge and balance between them. Being husband and Priest enhances both and love for one increases love for the other and service to one increases service to the other.
I would be lost without my wife and all that we share together. It would be like half my body and soul were removed. I can endure because of her and wherever the twists and turns of life take me it will be okay as long as she is near. Such a great gift has been given to me and from that gift comes a stability, strength, humility, and love that allows me to flourish in my service in ways I could not if I were alone.
And its just nice to have somebody to hold hands with too!