Human life is long and complex and passes through many stages. In each stage there are new circumstances and requirements to which one has to adapt. Everywhere one needs patience, endurance and support of an understanding and loving friend.
Choosing the spouse, a friend for a whole life, is one of the most serious decisions that one must make in our lifetime. The most basic thing that we should remember is that we should have as much common as possible with our spouse. The more things are in common, the easier will be in the future. We are choosing a friend not for a year, not for two, but for the whole life.
Contents: Introduction; (1) 1-st Stage: Infancy; (2) 2-nd Stage: Childhood; (3) 3-rd Stage: University Years; (4) 4-th Stage: Work without Marriage; (5) 5-th Stage: Work and Marriage without Children; (6) 6-th Stage: Work and Marriage with Children; (7) 7-th Stage: Work, Marriage and Children left; (8) 8-th Stage: Pension and normal ability for Work; (9) 9-th Stage: Pension and lower ability for Work. Conclusion.
In each stage the life passes more or less evenly until there is a transition to a new stage. There is one critical, turning-point and after it, a life flows in a new direction -- the new stage has started. In it there are many totally new conditions. For example, some knowledge, qualities and abilities which were important in one stage, in the following, they can be totally unnecessary.
During one's life it is possible to identify approximately nine stages: (1) infancy, (2) childhood, (3) university years, (4) work without a marriage, (5) work and a marriage without children, (6) work and a marriage with children, (7) work and a marriage and children left, (8) pension and normal ability to work and (9) pension and lowered ability to work. Obviously the life can be divided in some other way, or some people have experienced different stages. For our discussion we will divide the life into 9 stages.
1. 1-st Stage: Infancy
Infancy is the first stage of a human life. In normal family the parents are surrounding baby with care, love and gentleness. Here the basics of the personality for the whole life are established. Whatever happens to the child during this period, leaves an impact for the whole life.
2. 2-nd Stage: the Childhood
The childhood is the time of preparation for life, which lies ahead. Whatever child does has two meanings. The first is now, the present moment and second is of life educational value. The child is constantly learning something and his experience is stored in his memory. The sum of all that has taken place with the child during this period, gradually creates his character, habits and skills.
At this stage the most important thing is the obedience and studying well in school. Though all of us want the children to study well and receive good grade, it is necessary to note that good grades are not the most important thing in a life. Besides the knowledge presented in the school ("book knowledge"), still much more is needed to understand and acquire ("life knowledge"). For example it is necessary to be hardworking -- to learn and to love work and to know it well. It is necessary to be able to behave properly in a society, to be able to express well one's thoughts, etc. It is necessary to be able to distinguish good from evil, good people from bad, good acts from bad. It is necessary to love and know people and to be able to get along with them - people of different groups and categories - young and elderly, poor and rich, educated and without education, and also different nationalities and creeds. It is necessary to love the nature, animals and birds. Therefore, besides learning in school, it is good to start to work, take part in sports, to participate in school and children's organizations, to study music, etc.
In these years one can already start being friends with a girl or a young man. One can get to know them so that later one can find for himself a good friend for the reast of the life. Many marriages have their beginnings from the friendship that started during these years.
3. 3-rd Stage: University Years
The following stage starts when a young man or a young lady leave for university in the other city. Critical and a turning-point is when children leave the parents' house.
At this stage young students have more freedom. One can skip some lessons. Parents are not in the vicinity and nobody is watching their step any more.
It is very important, that besides studies one can start working, to take part in sports, to participate in the student's organizations, to meet youth, etc. All this is not just wasting your time, but the preparation for life.
During these years young people continue to look around and meet members of the opposite sex. They are meeting acquainteces here so that later they can find a suitable friend for the rest of the life. Same as in the previous stage many marriages have their beginnings from acquaintance or friendship during these years.
4. 4-th Stage: Work without Marriage
This stage begins when the young student completes his education and starts on his independent way. He has a job and financial aid is not required any more. The turning point is when the student stops studying and starts to work full time - 40 hours per week.
At this stage begins the working world for every person. On one hand there is no such freedom any more as at the university, but on the other hand there are monetary compensations and the feeling of dignity and respect for oneself. One can now allow for himself more than before.
During these years young people continue to look for the acquittances and friends with a young lady or the a young man. It is necessary to find a suitable friend for the whole life.
5. 5-th Stage: Work and a Marriage without Children
This stage starts when the young man or the young lady decide to get married. The critical and a turning-point it when they marry.
The basic effort in this stage is the adaptation to the other person. One has to take into account his wishes and there is no more full freedom.
6. 6-th Stage: Work and Marriage with Children
The following stage starts when young people become parents. Critical and the turning-point is when the child is born or even when the mother is pregnant.
This stage the most difficult, the most responsible, and the longest since the parents bear the full responsibility for the children. Wrong parenting, wrong acts and decisions, can lead later lead to big problems and even tragedies for both children and their parents.
7. 7-th stage: Work, Marriage and Children have left
This stage starts when all children leave the home. Critical and the turning-point is when last child leaves a parents' house and parents remain alone.
Frequently this stage approaches completely unexpectedly and many people are not prepared for it. But there is a problem since it is necessary to move from caring for children, to adjust to the condition of being without children - parents have now remained alone.
8. 8-th Stage: Retirement and a normal ability for Work
The following stage begins when the person stops working and retires. Critical and a turning-point it when he comes of a pension age (65 years in the USA) and leaves last place of work.
At the last, 7-th stage it is very important to have some useful occupation, or some interest or a hobby. When the person worked 40 hours per week than the absence of these were not very important. When one stops working that it is not only good, but also necessary for health. Very often persons who retire have nothing to do, start getting sick and soon die. People with strong interests continue to live and be engaged still for a long time.
9. 9-th Stage: Pension and the lowered ability for Work
9-th stage is almost the same as the previous one. Only it is necessary to work less and to rest more. In this period we need the help of our children. Sometimes in this period comes the end of our life. Our loving mother Church - our teacher - teaches us how to pray about this part of a life, in ektenia during the Liturgy (305):
At every stage and especially the last one, we shall sometimes review our past life. During such moments, it is necessary that we have a clean conscience and that we could say that yes, we have lived a life correctly and fruitfully, were always guided by God's Law and sacred Orthodox Faith, served God and people, tried to live without a sin, helped people and did good deeds. The greatest gift which was given to us by Lord God, the life, was not lived for nothing.
Glory to You our God, glory to You! Thank God for everything!
10-th stage: life after death. Our life does not end with the earthly death. The soul continues to live in some other world. If we lived righteously, then we will continue to live with God. This teaches our Christian faith [12-th article of the Symbol of Faith (Creed): «(I) I believe in one God, Father, All-Sovereign, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible......(XII) And the Life of the Age to come. Amen». (ДД-09ра)], as well as our life experience. For example:
Nothing in life disappears, but only changes its form. From this we can conclude that the human soul full of life experience, knowledge, memories, love will not disappear but will continue to live in a different life.
The second example is that with the advent of computers, databases and the Internet, much has become known. Among worthless material appeared authentic works on this topic. People died and were revived after a certain time and were shocked by what they saw. They continued to see and hear everything that happened to them, others have seen their loved ones who died, visited heaven, some hell. On almost all it made a deep impression, as a result of their experience they completely changed their lives.
A third example is that sometimes there are contacts with our loved ones have have died. Usually this happens during great disasters. Deceased ones have warned their loved ones about something or were letting them know about some danger. This would happen in a dream or while awake, or in broad daylight, a person would suddenly hear his/her mother's voice, etc.
Neil Clark Warren, PhD. Finding the Love of your Life. Ten Priinciples For Choosing The Right Marriage Partner.
1992, Folcus on the Family Publishing, Colorado Springs, CO 80995.
(800)-603-6287, (719) 531-5181 166 pages, hard cover, ISBN 1-56179-088-5