An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Today is our anniversary. There is little doubt that I am a lucky man...Grandma will be graciously watching the kids tonight while we head out for dinner and, well, just some time alone doing anything out of the normal (like a nice meal out).
Marriage and family life is the vocation where we(meaning non-monastics) most potently work out our salvation (with fear and trembling)...our relationships with our spouses and our children are (in my experience) pretty fair indicators of my own progress. I fail on MANY fronts, and frankly until I have that whole branch of holiness nailed down I'm going to try and utilize that glaring imperfection as a compass directing me to my own required efforts whenever I am tempted to judge others - which I am so often tempted and easily able to do.
I beseech your prayers on my wife's, our children's, and my own behalf that we may have many more years together filled with even deeper love, commitment, repentance, mutual support, and communion with one another and with our Lord through His Holy Church. Life is, alas, not all figured out in the half-hour time span of a sitcom...therefore we need each others support and prayers. I do will take for granted God's blessings, nor the hard work my wife must engage in to put up with me :)
Many more years... Indeed a family takes the place of a "clairvoyant elder" to point out your failures, passions and narcissism. And we must love them like we'd love that elder and be obedient to their needs. May God bless the struggle and give grace to all.