Books

Marriage General, Orthodox

  • Chrysostom, Saint John (1986).  On Marriage and Family Life. New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.
    • This is a classic text on marriage, written in the 5th century by one of the most revered fathers of the Orthodox Church.
  • Coniaris, Anthony (1985).  Crown Them With Glory and Honor. Minneapolis, MN:  Light and Life Publishing Company.
    • This small volume consists of 46 brief talks for weddings, each of which offers a “gem” to ponder.
  • Chryssavgis, John (1998).  Love, Sexuality and the Sacrament of Marriage.  Brookline, MA:  Holy Cross Press.
    • Utilizing the fullness of the Orthodox tradition, in this small volume, consisting of two essays, the author explores God’s love for humanity (with a particular focus on eros) as the source of authentic love between a man and a woman in marriage.
  • Evdokimov, Paul (2011). The Sacrament of Love: The Nupital Mystery in the Light of the Orthodox Tradition. New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (translated from the original French, first written in 1944, then revised in 1962).
    • This volume represents perhaps the most theologically substantive modern-day Orthodox text on marriage.  As such, if the reader is not acquainted with theological language, it is not an “easy” read.  Evdokimov’s foundational premise is that the union of a man and woman in marriage is an image of God, Father/Son/Holy Spirit.
  • Ford, David and Mary (1995). Marriage as a Path to Holiness: Lives of Married Saints. New Canaan, Pa: St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press.
    • In this groundbreaking book, the authors, a married couple, who both teach at St. Tikhon’s Seminary in New Canaan, PA, describe the lives of about 130 married saints, spanning about 4000 years, from the Old Testament to the modern day.  Additionally, in the preface the authors offer to the reader a summary of the Orthodox Church’s understanding of marriage, drawing upon the teachings of various saints.
  • Gregorios, Hieromonk (2010).  The Mystery of Marriage:  A Fellowship of Love. Trans. by Rev. Fr. Michael Monos.  New Rome Press:  Columbia, MO.
    • Informed by years of hearing confessions and drawing upon Scripture and the teachings of St. John Chrysostom, St. Issac the Syrian and Elder Paisios, this brief 8-chapter exposition on marriage covers several topics, including but not limited to: the importance of sexual purity before marriage; the purposes for the sexual relationship in marriage; the oneness of the couple, independent of the family of origin; and, the value of the couple sharing the same spiritual father. Perhaps the most valuable contribution of this exposition is the tenderness with which the author describes and weaves into the various topics the overarching theme of “fellowship of love” within the marriage.  This theme is tenderly expressed in the chapter on children, where the author states, “A child is the offspring of the couple’s love, and this love is a continual source of spiritual nourishment.  The affection which the child amasses from his parents is the greatest inheritance of his life.” (p. 45).
  • Joanides, Charles (2006).  Attending to Your Marriage:  A Resource for Christian Couples.  Minneapolis, MN:  Light and Life Publishing Company.
    • Written by an Orthodox Christian priest who also holds a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, this book is a good resource both for marriage enrichment and for couples who wan to work through some of the common struggles of marriage.  It can be used by couples in the privacy of their homes or as a resource for a marriage workshop in a church setting.
  • Kalellis, Peter, M.  (1994).   Twenty Secrets for Healing Thoughts, Feelings and Relationships.  New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company.
    • Written by a former Orthodox Christian priest who is now a psychotherapist, this book explores the process of inner healing and the healing of relationships, while considering the impact of “spirituality” as well as the the differences between men and women.
  • Mack, John.  Preserve Them, O Lord:  A Guide for Developing Marital Unity for Orthodox Couples.  Ben Lomond, CA:  Conciliar Press.
    • Written by a former Orthodox priest, this book offers an Orthodox theological perspective on marriage that is put into practical terms with exercises for couples to do together either to prepare for marriage or as marriage enrichment.  The book is full of quotes from the early Christian fathers.
  • Meyendorff, John (1975).  Marriage:  An Orthodox Perspective.  New York:  St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2nd Edition.
    • In this volume, the author examines the history of Orthodox marriage, beginning with the Scriptures and ending with contemporary challenges n marriage.  This book includes the text of the the sacrament of marriage.
  • Nasr, Constantine.  Mastering the Art of Marriage. Ben Lomond, CA: Conciliar Press.
    • Written by a retired Orthodox priest, the author interweaves Scripture, metaphors, images, couple exercises and examples from movies to invite the reader to enter into the continuous work of marriage.  This book is the culmination of fifty years of marriage and 36 years of pastoral work with couples.
  • Nicozisin, George (1982).  No more bibliographic information is given in the book.
    • This small volume consists of five sermons on marriage, which are offered from a chronological perspective, beginning with courtship and ending with the later years of marriage.  Included in this volume is a chapter on the Orthodox Christian home, a very brief chapter on some contemporary challenges in marriage and finally, a chapter explaining some of the symbolism in the marriage service.  This book represents one of the first contemporary volumes on marriage from a pastoral perspective in the U.S.
  • Shalhoub, Father George H. (2013). The Mystery of Love and Marriage. St. Mary Press: Livonia MI.
    • Written by a married priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese with years of pastoral experience and expertise in the field of marriage and family (professor of Marriage and Family, Madonna University), this volume offers some basic descriptive information about relationships, beginning with the child’s experience of love in the home and extending to the challenges of marriage. The author draws upon his life as a husband and father and his years of pastoral care to offer a personal approach. He peppers his descriptions and advice with Scripture, findings of basic research in marriage and family, contemporary writers in the fields of psychology, marriage and family, and a few specifically Orthodox Christian resources. This book offers some of the very basics of married life, primarily for those who know little about relationships.

Marriage General, Non-Orthodox

  • Balswick, Judith K. & Balswick, Jack O. (1999).  Authentic Human Sexuality:  An Integrated Christian Approach.  Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press.
    • Written from an Evangelical Christian perspective, this book grapples with several issues of sexuality (premarital cohabitation, extramarital sex, marital sexuality, pornography, sexual abuse, homosexuality) by integrating knowledge from biological, psychological, and sociocultural learning while maintaining a strong biblical foundation in order to define and identify what the authors call “authentic human sexuality.”
  • Bidwell, Duane R. (2013).  Empowering Couples:  A Narrative Approach to Spiritual Care.  Minneapolis, MN:  Fortress Press
  • Chapman, Gary (1995).  The Five Love Languages:  How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.   Chicago, IL:  Northfield Publishing:.
    • Written from an Evangelical perspective, this author, who has worked with couples for decades, has identified five “love languages” and has concluded that even though we all like to receive love in many ways, each person has one primary “love language.”  In marriage it is paramount that each spouse recognize his/her own primary love language and the love language of his/her spouse and learn to love his/her spouse according to that person’s love language.  One of the most useful marriagment enrichment tools I have encountered.
  • Clapp, Rodney (1993).  Families at the Crossroads:  Beyond Traditional and Modern Options.  Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press
    • Written from an Evangelical Christian perspective, the author of this book calls for a radical change in the ways Christians view the family, in particular, challenging the notions of the “traditional” family.
  • Gottman, John, M. (1999),.The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work  New York: Three Rivers Press.
    • One of the most useful guides to marriage, based on over 30 years of experience and research with couples.  This book contains many exercises for couples to use as they work toward building greater intimacy and face some of the normal challenges of marriage.
  • Harley, Willard F. (1994).  Grand Rapids, MI:  Fleming H. Revell.  His Needs Her Needs:  Building an Affair-proof Marriage.
    • This book explores the unique qualities and needs of men and women in marriage and offers insights and practices that grow and build intimacy into marriage in order to safeguard the marriage from affairs.
  • Love, Patricia and Stosny, Steven (2007).  How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.  New York:  Broadway Books.
    • Written from a psychological perspective, this book explores some of the most significant differences between men and women and how these differences impact marriage.  It also offers sound advice on how husbands and wives can develop and maintain the deep connection needed to grow a healthy marriage.
  • Olson, David, & Olson, Amy, K., (2000).  Empowering Couples:  Building on Your Strengths.  Minneapolis, MN:  Life Innovations, Inc.
    • This is a workbook couples can use for marriage enrichment, which is based on David Olson’s theory of couple functioning and the premarital and marital enrichment programs that have developed from his theory.  It covers all aspects of the marriage relationship.
  • Thomas, Gary, (2000).  Sacred Marriage:  What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy?  Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan.
    • Written from an Evangelical Protestant perspective, this volume explores marriage from the lens of understanding it as a call to holiness rather than happiness.  It is an outstanding exploration of marriage that is compatible with an Orthodox Christian understanding, with many references to the Scriptures.

Clergy Marriage, Non-Orthodox

  • Burton, Jean and Christopher (2009).  Public People, Private Lives:  Tackling Stress in Clergy Families.  London:  Continuum.
    • This book is the culmination of a study of Anglican clergy couples in the United Kingdom.  As the title suggests, the authors present the results of a study that explored the unique stressors present in the lives of clergy families as they struggle to protect a private life in the public context of being leaders in the church and offer suggestions for working through the particular stressors present in the clergy family.  Many of the findings will resonate with an American Orthodox audience, though some, like parsonage living, will find a limited audience.
  • Burns, Bob, Chapman, Tasha D., and Guthrie, Donald C. (2013). Resilient Ministry:  What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving.  Downers Grove IL:  InterVarsity Press.
    • Based on seven years of research with 73 evangelical pastors and wives from 26 states, this volume provides a storehouse of valuable information that is relevant to the Orthodox Christian clergy couple.  The study concluded that resilient ministry, that is, ministry in which the pastor thrives, evolves around five themes:  spiritual formation (the ongoing process of maturing as a Christian); self-care (physical, mental and emotional health); Emotional and Cultural Intelligence (identifying/managing one’s emotions and discerning/appropriately responding to the emotions of others and recognizing and being sensitive to the cultural context of the people to whom the pastor is ministering; marriage and family (a healthy marriage and family life is critical to a healthy ministry; and, leadership and management (the practice of strong leadership and management skills and abilities).  Each of these themes is explored in detail with the inclusion of many quotes from the participants in the study.
  • Fredrickson, Johnna and Smith, William, A. (2010). How the Other Half Lives. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2011.
    • Beginning with the premise that all Christians are called to fulfill their baptismal vocation, this book explores many of the unique circumstances “clergy” spouses find themselves in.  These circumstances range from being in church without a spouse at your side to the challenge of discerning a possible move when both spouses are working professionals.  Though some circumstances discussed neither apply to nor resonate with Orthodox Christians, the authors offer many valuable insights that are consistent with Orthodox Christian tradition.
  • Friedman, Edwin A. (1985), Generation to Generation. New York: The Guilford Press.
    • This book explores the relationship of the minister and his family to each family of the parish and to the family of the parish from a “systems” perspective.  That is, the author understands the unique place and interactions of the minister and his family in terms of emotional connections with the larger “family” of the parish and with each family in the parish. Given the theoretical and analytical orientation of the book, the reader must labor through some difficult sections.  However, it provides some invaluable insights into the clergy family.
  • Lee, Cameron and Balswick, Jack, Life in A Glass House:  The Minister’s Family in Its Unique Social Context.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1989.
    • Written by a professor of marriage and family studies and a professor of sociology at Fuller Theological Seminary, this book explores the clergy couple/family in the larger context of the church family.  Using real-life examples and the results of many studies, the authors seek to describe and understand the impact of Christian ministry on the clergy couple/family.
  • Lehr, Fred, (2006).  Clergy Burnout:  Recovering from the 70-Hour Work Week, and Other Self-Defeating Practices.  Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2006.
    • This book explores the codependent practices that lead to clergy burnout.  Filled with real-life examples, the author helps the reader to assess his/her place in regard to burnout and offers strategies to help those in professional ministry build safeguards into their lives both to prevent and to recover from clergy burnout.  This book is deeply rooted in the gospel and written by a Luthern minister.
  • Miller, Bruce (2009).  Your Life in Rhythm.  Carol Stream, IL:  Tyndale House.
    • This book provides a fresh look at the rhythm of our daily lives.  The author maintains that seeking “balance” between our work and personal lives is unreachable and unattainable.  If balance is our goal, we will remain frustrated, because life is usually out of whack.  Instead, he offers an alternative, which is beautifully compatible with Orthodoxy.  He maintains that establishing daily, weekly, monthly and yearly rhythms in our lives is a more natural way to live.  As Orthodox, we have daily, weekly, fasting and festal “rhythms” built into our ecclesiastical calendar.  This book provides ways in which we can utilize what is already built into the order of God’s creation along with the Church’s “rhythms” to live more healthy, whole lives.  This is a wonderful resource.
  • Oswald, Roy M.  Clergy Self-Care:  Finding a Balance for Effective Ministry.  The Alban Institute, 1991.
    • The thesis of this book is:  the better clergy practice appropriate self-care, the more effective they will be as messengers of the gospel and God’s healing grace.  The author begins by identifying stressors in clergy life and the signs of burnout.  What follows is basically a manual for healthy, whole living, beginning with spiritual disciplines.  Even though the book is intended for clergy, clergy wives will also benefit from this book.
  • Peterson, Eugene H.  (2011).  The Pastor.  New York:  HarperCollins.
    • This book presents the deeply personal journey of Eugene Peterson  and his wife and family from his early days as a minister in the Presbyterian Church to his retirement from active full-time ministry.  It is filled with gems throughout and has much to teach clergy couples about honoring Christ in the rhythm of our lives.
  • Wangerin, Walter (1987).   As for Me and My House.  Nashville, TN:  Thomas Nelson Publishers. (may be out of print)
    • Written by a now deceased former pastor from a non-denominational Christian perspective, this deeply personal book explores the practice of forgiveness in marriage.  It is wonderfully written, with many examples from the author’s marriage.  Though written for and appropriate for a general audience, some of the personal examples especially resonate with clergy couples.
  • Wimberly, Anne and Edward (2007).  The Winds of Promise:  Building and Maintaining Strong Clergy Families, Nashville, TN:  Discipleship Resources.

For the Priest, Non-Orthodox

  • Burns, Bob, Chapman, Tasha D., & Guthrie, Donald, C. (2013).  Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving.  Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP Books.
  • Lehr, Fred, Clergy Burnout:  Recovering from the 70-Hour Work Week. . . . and Other Self-Defeating Practices.  Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2006.
    • This book explores the codependent practices that lead to clergy burnout.  Filled with real-life examples, the author helps the reader to assess his/her place in regard to burnout and offers strategies to help those in professional ministry build safeguards into their lives both to prevent and to recover from clergy burnout.  This book is deeply rooted in the gospel and written by a Luthern minister.
  • McGlone, Gerard J. and Sperry, Len (2012).  The Inner Life of Priests, Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press.
    • This is a book by Roman Catholics, which explores healthy priestly formation from a spiritual and psychological perspective.  Though written primarily for the Catholic Church and the formation of a celibate priesthood, many significant parallels can be drawn for priestly formation in the Orthodox Church.  Though the book is decidedly Roman Catholic in scope, both priests and presvyteres can gain insight into aspects of an understanding of a healthy priesthood. Specifically, the book explores aspects of narcissism that often impact the priest, the necessity of “affective maturity,” cultural competence, and the value as well as limitations of psychology in priestly formation.

For the Priest, Orthodox

For the Presvytera, Orthodox

  • Papademetriou, Athanasia.  Presbytera:  The Life, Mission, and Service of the Priest's Wife, Somerset Hall Press, 2004.
  • Schmemann, Juliana.  The Joy to Serve, Alexander Press, 2009.

For the Presvytera, Non-Orthodox

  • McDonald, Gail, High Call High Privilege
  • Ross, Charlotte, (1980).  Who Is the Minister’s Wife?  Philadelphia, PA:  The Westminster Press.