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Good Marriage XXIV. Trust: A Cornerstone of a Godly Marriage

"Moreover it is required of stewards that they be foundtrustworthy." (1Cor 4: 2)

"The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." (Pv 31: 11)

Developmental psychologist Eric Erickson (1964a) conjectures that during infancy the continuity of comforting sensory experiences with adults promotes a sense of trust that serves as  a root for the resolution of the successive challenges the individual will confront over a lifespan. Erickson goes on to suggest that the appropriate proportion of trust over mistrust produces hope. He states, "Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensible virtue inherent in the state of being alive." (Erickson, 1964b).

Erickson's understanding is also very descriptive of a functional marriage. Beck (1988), for example, considers trust one of the three major components of a functional relationship - commitment and loyalty being the others. Beck considers them "a force for stability" that, once developed, "protect[s] the closeness, intimacy, and security of the loving bond."

Beck (1988) goes on to give examples of attitudes or beliefs that indicate basic trust:

  • "I can depend on my spouse to guard my best interests."
  • "I know that my spouse would not intentionally hurt me."
  • "I know that I can depend on my spouse for help in ordinary situations or in an emergency."
  • "I know my spouse will be available when I need him or her."
  • I can assume good will on the part of my spouse."

COMMITMENT AND LOYALTY: THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF TRUST

I would like to somewhat modify Beck's (1988) model. I suggest that commitment and loyalty, certainly as Beck suggests, are foundational to a good marriage. But they are actually more than that. They themselves are the building blocks, the foundation upon which trust itself is engendered and constructed and, if necessary, re-established. Trust is the cornerstone of this foundation.

If a betrayal has occurred, the couple will eventually have to reassess the reliability of trustworthiness being re-established. Gottman (2011) suggests five criteria that can be used in making this evaluation. I will discuss these criteria later in this article.

The Witness of God's Covenant with His People: The Spiritual Foundation

God's First Great Commitment: The First Covenant

Consider God's commitment to Abram. ". . . I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves." (Gen 13: 2-4) Following this commitment by God to Abram and his people, Abram departed to the land of Canaan as God had instructed. When Abram and his family reached Canaan, God made another commitment to Abram:

Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. Thence he removed to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. (Gen 18: 7-8)

Later, God made an overwhelming commitment to Abram and the Hebrew people:

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."

Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. (Gen 17: 1-7)

Loyalty

God's loyalty to His word can be seen in His interaction with Noah, which preceded even His encounter with Abraham. Because God "saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth." (Gen 6:5) He planned a great flood to destroy all on earth: "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." (Gen 6:5) However, God saw that Noah and his family were righteous. God saved them and, true to His word, God told Noah:

"Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.

"I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:

"I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,

"I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." (Gen 9: 9-16)

Many other exchanges and events occurred between God and his people as recorded by Moses in the Book of Genesis. But God's loyalty was attested to by a Philistine, the traditional enemy of the Hebrew people: "Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army said to Abraham, 'God is with you in all that you do; now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but as I have dealt loyally with you, you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.' And Abraham said, 'I will swear.' (Gen 21: 21-24). God's commitment and loyalty to His people would lead to one of the most dramatic examples of trust in the history of mankind.

Trust

Consider a man and his wife who are 100 years of age, well beyond childbearing age; God tells them they will have a son. The man, Abraham, named his son Isaac. Although he had a previous son by his slave, he truly loved the son, Isaac, born to him by his wife Sarah. Some years later “. . . God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'Here am I.' He said, 'Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.' (Gen 22: 1-2) How much trust in God must Abraham have had to obey His command! As the writer of Genesis tells us: "When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son." (Gen 22: 9-10) Abraham has proved his trust in God, under almost unimaginable circumstances: willingness to obey God and sacrifice his beloved son. God being the good God, however, speaking to Abraham through an angel, intervened at the last moment:  "'Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.'" (Gen 22: 12)

God's Second Great Commitment: The New Covenant

The Prophet Isaiah tells us of God's commitment to His people of a new covenant:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.

For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. . . .(Is 7: 14-16)

. . . .For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. (Is 9: 6-7)

Morelli (2010) summarizes what other Old Testament Holy Spirit inspired writers told us about the God's commitment to send the Messiah:i

The righteous prophets of the Old Covenant tell us that the Messiah will come from the house of David. Ezekiel, during the days of the fall of Jerusalem, spoke of the abiding presence of God. He tells of the coming of the Messiah to protect His people for all ages: "And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken." (Ez 34: 23-24) Ezekiel (37: 24) goes on to say: "My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes." Several hundred years later Ezra prophesizes: "this is the Messiah whom the Most High has kept until the end of days, who will arise from the posterity of David, and will come and speak to them; he will denounce them for their ungodliness and for their wickedness, and will cast up before them their contemptuous dealings." (4 Ezra 12: 32)

God's loyalty

God's loyalty in sending His Son, Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, the Messiah, precisely as prophesied by Isaiah, quoted above, was attested to by St. Matthew:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. . . . "you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). (Mt 1: 18 21-23)

Of which the angels sang: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!" (Lk 2: 14) God was not only true to his commitment, that is to say loyal, He also confirmed the great gift of Divinity that He was giving to mankind.

God testifies by His own Word

St. Luke tells us of the Theophany, the first manifestation of the Divinity of the Messiah, the God-Man: ". . . when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, 'Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.'" (2: 21-22) God's loyalty is so beautifully expressed liturgically by the Apolytikion of the Feast of the Theophany:

When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, worship of the Trinity wast made manifest; for the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of His word. O Christ our God, Who hath appeared and enlightened the world, glory to Thee.

Jesus proclaims who He truly is

However, Jesus Himself proclaims that He is the promised and expected savior of the Hebrew people. It was to the Samaritan woman, the traditional enemy of the Jews,ii that Jesus, Himself, revealed Himself as the expected Messiah.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." (Jn 4: 23-26)

The Apostles attest to God's loyalty

That God was true to his Word and sent His Son was attested to by Simon-Peter and the Apostles:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." (Mt 16: 13, 15-17)

The implications of God's loyalty

The depth of Christ’s loyalty to His people is a model for the backbone of an Orthodox Christian Marriage. In this regard we can consider the words of St. Paul.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. . . . (Phil 2: 5-10)

Christ’s emptying Himself of His Divinity for our salvation is described in the imagery used by St. John the Baptist as that of the bridegroom and his bride: "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full." (Jn 3: 29)

It can easily be seen that God Himself, as even His people of both the Old and New Covenants, esteemed very highly that commitment and loyalty which engender trust.

Marital Infidelity: the greatest threat to Loyalty, Commitment and Trust

Infidelity-adultery is the greatest threat to the relationship between husband and wife in the blessed marriage by the Holy Mystery of Matrimony in the Orthodox Church. It undermines the very foundation of marriage itself, the loyalty and commitment of the spouses to each other, in emulation of God's action with His people, as well as the ensuing trust that must emerge between them. Beck (1988) points out that, psychologically, "infidelity is a direct attack on the relationship itself and a mockery of the supposed marital commitment." It should be noted that infidelity-adultery need not be limited to a sexual liaison. Many couples perceive a close personal relationship between their spouse and a member of the opposite sex to be 'adulterous.' However, even infidelity need not be a marriage breaker if trust can be cultivated and reestablished (Snyder, Baucom & Gordon, 2008). As Gottman (2011) points out, trust allows a marital relationship to be safe and thereby fosters "mutual nurturance and moral responsibility for building a life together." This might be phrased as fostering mutual interdependence.

Psychological Interventions for Trust Building

Emotional Attunement

Cognitive psychologists have emphasized the importance of interpretation and perception of events in activating our emotional reactions to them, such as anger, anxiety, depression or happiness (Morelli, 2006a). In an interpersonal relationship such as marriage, correct interpretation of the motives, thinking and feelings of one's spouse is critical. Frequently, however, our own cognitive distortions, that is to say thinking errors prevent accuracy. An outline of these cognitive distortions includes (Beck, 1995):

  • Selective Abstraction is focusing on one event while excluding others. "Jack," an engineer, selectively focuses on a reprimand he just received from his wife, while ignoring the praise he received the previous week from a project he did that she appreciated as "Well done." This irrational perception led him to an angry response.
  • Arbitrary Inference is drawing a conclusion unwarranted by the facts in an ambiguous situation. Jack, the same patient mentioned above, concludes that his wife will consider his next endeavor to be unsatisfactory. This leads him to depression.
  • Personalization is blaming yourself for an event you are not responsible for, or concluding that it is directed to you personally. Another patient, "Linda," became depressed when, during a family discussion, one of her children said: "Well, one of my parents hates me." She immediately "personalized" the statement with no evidence that her child was directing it at her, nor did she inquire about the events that invited the child's comments.
  • Polarization is perceiving or interpreting events in all-or-nothing terms. "Cynthia," another patient of mine, was told by her daughter, "You don't know how to treat children." She "polarized" events into two categories, good mother/bad mother. Her child's statement fell into the bad-mother pole. She failed to see that all events can be graded on a continuum between two poles. Just because she did not fulfill her child's request surely does not make her a "bad' mother.
  • Generalization is the tendency to see things in always-or-never categories. "Mary" became depressed during marital therapy when she irrationally concluded that her husband will "never" change and will "always" be the same. Her dysphoria led to a self-defeating pattern of behavior which further distanced her and her husband and set her up for the very thing she did not want: a poorer marriage.
  • Demanding Expectations are beliefs that there are laws or rules that have to be obeyed. "Kim" came into treatment because she was depressed over her husband disagreeing with her. She irrationally believed that there is a "law in the universe" that says that husbands should always go along with what their wives suggest and, if not, she has the right to get upset. She did not see that God "asks" us to obey Him. He gave us free will. Christ Himself respected the free will of the creatures He created, as shown by the gentleness of His admonitions. Like Christ, spouses should prefer and constructively work toward reasonable understanding of each other’s motives. Preferences should be substituted for demands.
  • Catastrophizing is the perception that something is more than 100% bad, terrible or awful. "Kim" erroneously believes her husband's disagreeing with her is the "end of the world." With cognitive intervention she would discover that on a scale of problems she might have with her husband, differing viewpoints would be evaluated as decidedly low, surely not a catastrophe.
  • Emotional Reasoning is the judgment that one's feelings are facts. Sandy has a "feeling" that his wife is having an affair. When asked how he knows this, he responds that his "feelings are always right." He fails to distinguish a feeling as real, which it is, versus a feeling proving something, which is impossible. For example, I tell patients, "No matter how strongly some people 'felt' during the time of Christopher Columbus that the world was flat, it did not make it so."

The benefit of the ability to challenge and replace cognitive distortions is that it allows marital relationships to move on to build what Gottman (1999) calls "The Sound Relationship House." However, in a later book (Gottman, 2011) he is very emphatic that an element is missing from the original Sound Relationship House Theory. That element is trust. He points out that ". . . knowing about the processes that control trust and betrayal therefore deepens the levels of the Sound Relationship House Theory."

Attunement Building

Gottman (2011) points out that the big trust question is "Are you there for me." According to this model, the processes to attain trust include being emotionally aware, being able to turn toward the emotion, being tolerant of emotional experience, understanding the emotion, non-defensive listening to the emotion and the thinking processes accompanying the emotion, and empathy.

Awareness involves acceptance of emotions without blame or accusation, both for oneself and one's spouse, and adapting to the emotion. Gottman gives the example of a spouse who, being aware of their partner’s emotional sensitivity to criticism, would adjust by "softening the way they raised an issue."

Turning toward emotion involves focusing on the needs of one's spouse and not what they do not need. A 'speaking spouse' may convey to their wife or husband what they are feeling and in behavioral terms what they would like: "I would really like it if we could spend Saturday afternoons doing something together."

Tolerance involves acceptance of thinking-perception and feeling differences between spouses. This factor is related to the cognitive distortion of personalization mentioned above: concluding that an event is directed to one personally (Morelli, 2005b). Cultivating tolerance means challenging and restructuring personalization cognitions and substituting a rational cognition: "Just because we disagree does not mean either of our viewpoints do not have value."

Non-defensive listening involves letting one's spouse uninterruptedly tell their feelings and viewpoints before communicating ones’ own feelings and viewpoints. Doing this communicates respect for one's spouse and is likely to facilitate reciprocal listening and tolerance of each other’s differences.

Empathy involves thinking and feeling the way one's spouse is thinking and feeling. Being aware of one's spouse’s distress, stressors and physical and/or emotional pains fosters understanding and ameliorates anger, and thus promotes fruitful communication.

"...be wise asserpents."(Mt 10: 16)

Intention vs. action

Who has not heard the proverb: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Actually this adage is thought to have originated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who framed it as: "Hell is full of good wishes and desires." (Ammer, 1997) The meaning is clear. At times people have good intentions, but these are never carried out. It has been discussed above how commitment and loyalty are the building blocks of trust. It is one thing to say one is committed and loyal to one's spouse; it is another thing to actually be committed and loyal in heart, mind and behavior.

In my pastoral and clinical experience I have encountered many 'good intentioned' individuals who did not have a metanoia of heart, mind and behavior. Many an adulterer, alcoholic, drug addict, and fornicator have promised, with sincerity (or insincerity) to change their ways, from the "bottom of their hearts," but have unintentionally or intentionally failed at the task. The most egregious example of an intentionally failed marital commitment and loyalty is one I encountered in a clinical-pastoral setting some years ago. A young man came for counseling for a marital problem. He said his wife had discovered he was having an affair and he agreed he would attend counseling. I asked him his psychotherapy goals and objectives. He responded, "As long as I am in 'treatment' my wife will be happy and I can continue to have a girlfriend too." I queried, "You mean you don't want to end the infidelity?" "No," (he answered) "I want to stay married and have my girlfriend."

When trust between spouses cannot be established, a condition of abuse is established. This abuse is a betrayal of the marital promise of commitment, loyalty and fidelity. Abuse categories include withdrawal of affection, displaying disrespect, deception, and sexual infidelity, and can escalate into the psychological (e.g. belittling, name calling, threats of beating), and even, in extreme cases, the actual carrying out of physical violence.iii (c.f. Morelli, 2005c)

The ideals and measure of trust

What is trustworthy behavior? How can trustworthy behavior be described? Gottman (2011) provides a list for evaluating the trustworthiness of one's spouse as I mentioned above. However, I want to point out that these criteria are more than just measures of trust, they can also serve as goals to guide the interpersonal interaction between spouses:

  • Honesty – The spouses do not engage in deceptive behavior, do not lead separate lives. Lies are not told.
  • Transparency - The everyday life of the husband and wife is an "open book" to each other. They do not hold secrets from each other. They know or know about each other's family, friends, acquaintances and co-workers. The couple shares their feelings and needs, especially problems they are confronting and their life-goals. They are spontaneous and forthcoming in answering each other’s questions.
  • Accountability - The spouses do all they can to keep the promises they have made to one another. They give their spouse relevant and accurate information regarding important interpersonal and/or financial actions. Vague answers invite suspicion. Behavioral pinpointing (Morelli, 2005a) should guide accountability responses: e.g., what was said, done, when and where.
  • Ethics - Each of the marital couple have witnessed displays of good ethical behavior by their spouse. That is to say, they have witnessed fair, just and even generous actions by their spouse in terms of dealing with others and/or business transactions.
  • Alliance - Each spouse knows the other is on their side, even under social pressure from others. Is not focused on 'self-interest' or pleasing others. and has their interest at heart.

Some behavioral indices of untrustworthiness and trustworthiness.

Tabares (2006) provides some possible behavioral characteristics of those spouses who are trustworthy or untrustworthy. It should be kept in mind, however, that some of these behaviors may occasionally be associated with other factors, such as being distracted, or feeling ill, being momentarily occupied in an important task, rather than being signs of being untrustworthy or trustworthy. In order to avoid making the cognitive distortion of arbitrary inference (also called mind-reading) that I discussed above, the spouse should consider their initial interpretation to be a hypothesis, or guess, that has to be investigated. He or she may ask a question of their partner, such as: "Jack, are you listening to me, my concern is important?" "Jill, my concern is not a laughing matter; it is important to me; please tell me why you are mocking me?" If these patterns continue, however, especially when talking over the ideals and measures of trust (as I discussed above), professional counseling from a licensed scientifically trained mental health practitioner should be sought. Ideally, the practitioner should be a committed, devout Orthodox-Catholic Christian. At the very least, the practitioner should respect the values and use the spouses’ commitment to Christ in the therapeutic process.(Morelli, 2006a)

Behaviors that may be associated with untrustworthiness in the listening spouse include: lack of eye contact, lack of humor and appropriate laughter, no indication of attending by absence of acknowledgement phonemes such as "hmm," or non-verbal response such as nodding one's head. Behaviors that may be associated with untrustworthiness in the communicating spouse include: speaking while teasing or engaging in mocking humor or sarcasm,' accusing in generalizations (also a cognitive distortion I discussed previously in this paper,) such as using phrases as "you always" or "you will never."

Behaviors that may be associated with trustworthiness on the part of the listener are: maintaining eye contact, using favorable humor, verbal and nonverbal response, being affectionate, animated and energetic.

Speakers’ behavior that may be associated with trustworthiness include: being favorable and affectionate in tone and content in speech, couching complaints in a respectful and "softened" tone, using behavioral pinpointing in describing their spouse’s favorable characteristics.

The virtue of hope

All Orthodox Christians, by their Holy Baptism, are made members of the Royal Priesthood of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. As St. Peter (1Pt 2: 9-10) tells us:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were no people but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.

As God's people we are all to develop virtue. For those crowned in glory and honor in the Orthodox Marriage Service the virtue of hope is especially applicable. Consider the words of St. Maximus the Confessor (Philokalia II):

Faith is the foundation of what comes after it, namely hope and love, since it provides a firm basis for truth. Hope is the strength of the two pre-eminent gifts of love and faith, since hope gives us glimpses both of that in which we believe and of that for which we long, and teaches us to make our way towards our goal.

The married are not wrong to hope for the fulfillment of the ideals of Godly marriage. (Morelli, 2008). During the Marriage Service the priest prays:

. . . remember O Lord our God, thy servants. . .and bless them. Grant them fair children and concord of soul and body; exalt them like the cedars of Lebanon, like a luxuriant vine, that, having sufficiency in all things they may abound in every work that is good and acceptable unto thee.

The virtue of hope can arouse the married couple to actions both psychological and spiritual that will motivate them toward working at fulfilling their marital commitment, being loyal to one another, growing in trust and eventually attaining eternal life in God. The words of St. Peter of Damaskos on the virtue of hope can readily be applied to a couple in a Godly marriage (Philokalia III):

They [both] look forward with hope, laboring with joy. Outwardly they sacrifice immediate advantages, but in reality, even if they forfeit what they sacrifice, through their patient endurance they gain what is of far greater value.

The operative word in St. Peter's teaching is laboring. A Godly marriage, maintaining and if necessary repairing marital commitment and loyalty which is the foundation of trust, requires hard work (labor), prayer, and being united to Christ through sincere, total dedication and participation in His Church. In the popular adage: “Work as if all depends on you, pray as if all depends on God.” How important it is for all in Christ to reflect on the words of St. James, the true origin of this proverb:

What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he hasfaith but has not works? Can hisfaith save him? Sofaithby itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, "You havefaithand I have works." Show me yourfaithapart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith." (Jas 2: 14,17-18)

REFERENCES

Ammer, C. (1997). The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Beck, A.T. (1988). Love is Never Enough. NY: Harper and Rowe.

Erickson, E.H. (1964a). Childhood and Society. NY: Norton.

Erickson, E.H. 1964b). Insight and Responsibility. NY: Norton.

Gottman, J.M. (1999). The Marriage Clinic. NY: Norton.

Gottman, J.M. (2011). The Science of Trust. NY: Norton.

Morelli, G. (2005a, September 17). Smart Parenting Part 1. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/MorelliParenting.php

Morelli, G. (2005b, October 14). The Beast of Anger. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/MorelliAnger.php.

Morelli, G. (2005c December 04) Abuse: Some Pastoral And Clinical Considerations. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/abuse-some-pastoral-and-clinical-considerations

Morelli, G. (2006a, March 6). Asceticism and Psychology in the Modern World. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/MorelliMonasticism.php.

Morelli, G (2006b, May 08). Orthodoxy And The Science Of Psychology. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/MorelliOrthodoxPsychology.php.

Morelli, G. (2008, July, 8). Good Marriage XIII: The Theology of Marriage and Sexuality. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles8/Morelli-Smart%20Marriage-XIII-The-Theology-of-Marriage-and-Sexuality.php.

Morelli, G. (2010, November 25). The Ethos of Orthodox Catechesis.  www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/morelli-the-ethos-of-orthodox-catechesis.

Palmer, G.E.H., Sherrard, P. & Ware, K. (1981). The Philokalia, Volume 2: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Makarios of Corinth. London: Faber and Faber.

Palmer, G.E.H., Sherrard, P. & Ware, K. (Eds.). (1986). The Philokalia, Volume 3: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Makarios of Corinth. London: Faber and Faber.

Snyder, D.K., Baucom, D.H. & Gordon, K.C. (2008). An integrative approach to treating infidelity. The Family Journal, 16, 300-3007.

Tabares, A. (2006). Praise and Complain Coding System. Seattle, WA: University of Washington and the Relationship Research Institute.

ENDNOTES

i For a more complete review of the connection between God's commitment and loyalty to His people of the Old and New Covenant see: Morelli, G. (2010, November 25). The Ethos of Orthodox Catechesis. www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/morelli-the-ethos-of-orthodox-catechesis.

ii The Samaritans were a mix of some ancient Hebrew tribes and pagan peoples. The fact that Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah to a Samaritan is considered to be His proclaiming that His Messiah-ship, His New and eternal Covenant, is for all mankind, not just the Hebrew people.

iii Abuse falls into four categories:

  • Physical, (hitting, battering, etc.);
  • Sexual, (forcible intercourse, inappropriate touching, glancing, language, etc.);
  • Psychological (calling someone by demeaning terms: "You idiot; loser" [these are actually mild; often it’s far worse];
  • Neglect (legally denying, food, shelter, education, and necessary care.

Spiritually, each of these categories is different in terms of sin, of how they "miss the mark" or of how they indicate an "illness of the soul." Both perpetrator and victim should seek counseling from their parish priest or spiritual father or mother.

Morally, referral to appropriate psychological care is the very least that should be done by all Christians. In the most serious cases, such as a credible death threat, an immediate call to police and/or emergency services would be warranted. Those who are mandated reporters under law, such as physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists and others, must follow their state or other governmental laws and report the abuse to the designated authorities (and, under certain circumstances, to the potential victim).

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Fr. George Morelli
Antiochian Department of Chaplain and Pastoral Ministry

V. Rev. Fr. George Morelli Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist.

He is the Coordinator of the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and Religion Coordinator (and Antiochian Archdiocesan Liaison) of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion.

Fr. Morelli is also Assistant Pastor of St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church, San Diego, California.

Fr. Morelli is the author of:

Healing – Volume 1
Orthodox Christianity
and Scientific Psychology

Click to order
Eastern Christian Publications
$15.00
Healing – Volume 2
Reflections for Clergy
Chaplains, and Counselors

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Eastern Christian Publications
$25.00
Published: December 4, 2011

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