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Document Details :
Subtitle: Über Gehorsam, keuschheit und Armut in christlicher Ehe
Author(s): KAISER, Susanne , KAISER, Christoph
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 4 Issue: 2 Date: Autumn 1998
Marriage-counsels: on obedience, chastity and poverty in Christian marriage
This article discusses the following theses: a man and a woman wanting to live their marriage in the spirit of Jesus Christ are aiming for a life which corresponds to the meaning and practice of the evangelical counsels of poverty, obedience and chastity. In the changed social conditions of marriage today the authors see an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of the spirituality of Christian marriage. They propose directly applying the triad of evangelical counsels as developed in the theological-spiritual tradition to marriage lived in the spirit of Jesus Christ. In marriage as in celibacy there is then the same inner core. The spirituality of Christian marriage consists in its lived poverty, chastity (not “virginity”) and obedience.
The authors substantiate their thesis with examples from married life. Thus obedience means obeying one another and belonging to ane another in the sense of submission to the duty of marital consensus and a shared life. With important issues like having children or choosing where to live, mutual obedience is called for from the partners. Chastity refers to a trusting exchange of life which includes sexual relations but goes beyond the purely genital act to a personal intensity of encounter. Marital and celibate chastity thus share the same foundation. Poverty ultimately refers to a married lifestyle which involves the renunciation of high-handed unilateral decision-making in dealing with possessions and wealth. Poverty in marriage is about cultivating an outward-looking mentality.
The crucial thing about the triad of counsels is their interconnectedness. Each individual principle on its own and separate from the other two is distorted. It is important that the same faithful trustworthiness applies in all areas of life. This three-in-oneness of the counsels can thus be realised as much in the married state as in celibacy.