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ElizabethanElizabeth
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« on: April 10, 2011, 06:46:33 PM »

I don't want this be a debate of any kind. I don't want your opinion, just the facts, please and thank you.

I know that Orthodox-Orthodox marriages are preferred to Orthodox-NonOrthodox marriages. But, I shall ask anyways.

My boyfriend and I have been together for more than 3 years. Naturally, we've discussed marriage. He isn't Orthodox, but is interested in the Church (mostly only because I am, not for himself). I will invite him to a service or two once I'm converted and get a better footing so we both aren't sitting there confused  Grin

Anyways, he was baptized as an infant. That's it. He didn't go through confirmation or anything. He does believe in God and believes Jesus is his Savior. He sees God as his guide. His family only ever attended church for holidays. Would the Orthodox Church allow the marriage? I know he'd need to get his baptism certificate...

We're "pure" as a couple and plan to be until marriage. As long as this continues and we can get his birth* certificate, is there any reason we wouldn't be allowed to marry in the Orthodox Church. He wouldn't mind our children being brought up Orthodox as he believes in God and Jesus but was never raised one specific denomination. His career would mean he'd be away a lot, so that is another reason he would allow me to choose the religion for our kids.

So, thoughts?

*I meant certificate of Baptism
« Last Edit: April 10, 2011, 07:08:57 PM by ElizabethanElizabeth » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2011, 07:06:13 PM »

I don't want this be a debate of any kind. I don't want your opinion, just the facts, please and thank you.

I know that Orthodox-Orthodox marriages are preferred to Orthodox-NonOrthodox marriages. But, I shall ask anyways.

My boyfriend and I have been together for more than 3 years. Naturally, we've discussed marriage. He isn't Orthodox, but is interested in the Church (mostly only because I am, not for himself). I will invite him to a service or two once I'm converted and get a better footing so we both aren't sitting there confused  Grin

Anyways, he was baptized as an infant. That's it. He didn't go through confirmation or anything. He does believe in God and believes Jesus is his Savior. He sees God as his guide. His family only ever attended church for holidays. Would the Orthodox Church allow the marriage? I know he'd need to get his baptism certificate...

We're "pure" as a couple and plan to be until marriage. As long as this continues and we can get his birth certificate, is there any reason we wouldn't be allowed to marry in the Orthodox Church. He wouldn't mind our children being brought up Orthodox as he believes in God and Jesus but was never raised one specific denomination. His career would mean he'd be away a lot, so that is another reason he would allow me to choose the religion for our kids.

So, thoughts?


Well, you've been together for 3 years and behaved yourselves, so you aren't rushing into anything, he's not actively putting up obstacles, is baptized and at least is nominally a Christian. As long as you aren't 17, I don't think there should be a problem for most, if not all, jurisdictions.
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2011, 07:43:03 PM »

Agree.  With perhaps one exception, the parishes I have frequented would allow you to be married.  Even with the exception, that priest would marry you if he believed that not doing so would drive you further into sin.

I don't want this be a debate of any kind. I don't want your opinion, just the facts, please and thank you.

I know that Orthodox-Orthodox marriages are preferred to Orthodox-NonOrthodox marriages. But, I shall ask anyways.

My boyfriend and I have been together for more than 3 years. Naturally, we've discussed marriage. He isn't Orthodox, but is interested in the Church (mostly only because I am, not for himself). I will invite him to a service or two once I'm converted and get a better footing so we both aren't sitting there confused  Grin

Anyways, he was baptized as an infant. That's it. He didn't go through confirmation or anything. He does believe in God and believes Jesus is his Savior. He sees God as his guide. His family only ever attended church for holidays. Would the Orthodox Church allow the marriage? I know he'd need to get his baptism certificate...

We're "pure" as a couple and plan to be until marriage. As long as this continues and we can get his birth certificate, is there any reason we wouldn't be allowed to marry in the Orthodox Church. He wouldn't mind our children being brought up Orthodox as he believes in God and Jesus but was never raised one specific denomination. His career would mean he'd be away a lot, so that is another reason he would allow me to choose the religion for our kids.

So, thoughts?


Well, you've been together for 3 years and behaved yourselves, so you aren't rushing into anything, he's not actively putting up obstacles, is baptized and at least is nominally a Christian. As long as you aren't 17, I don't think there should be a problem for most, if not all, jurisdictions.
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ElizabethanElizabeth
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2011, 07:45:33 PM »

Well, you've been together for 3 years and behaved yourselves, so you aren't rushing into anything, he's not actively putting up obstacles, is baptized and at least is nominally a Christian. As long as you aren't 17, I don't think there should be a problem for most, if not all, jurisdictions.

Thanks for your feedback!
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ElizabethanElizabeth
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 07:47:15 PM »

Agree.  With perhaps one exception, the parishes I have frequented would allow you to be married.  Even with the exception, that priest would marry you if he believed that not doing so would drive you further into sin.

Thanks for your feedback as well!
I'd never thought from that perspective before.
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2011, 07:52:14 PM »

I don't want this be a debate of any kind. I don't want your opinion, just the facts, please and thank you.

I know that Orthodox-Orthodox marriages are preferred to Orthodox-NonOrthodox marriages. But, I shall ask anyways.

My boyfriend and I have been together for more than 3 years. Naturally, we've discussed marriage. He isn't Orthodox, but is interested in the Church (mostly only because I am, not for himself). I will invite him to a service or two once I'm converted and get a better footing so we both aren't sitting there confused  Grin

Anyways, he was baptized as an infant. That's it. He didn't go through confirmation or anything. He does believe in God and believes Jesus is his Savior. He sees God as his guide. His family only ever attended church for holidays. Would the Orthodox Church allow the marriage? I know he'd need to get his baptism certificate...

We're "pure" as a couple and plan to be until marriage. As long as this continues and we can get his birth* certificate, is there any reason we wouldn't be allowed to marry in the Orthodox Church. He wouldn't mind our children being brought up Orthodox as he believes in God and Jesus but was never raised one specific denomination. His career would mean he'd be away a lot, so that is another reason he would allow me to choose the religion for our kids.

So, thoughts?

*I meant certificate of Baptism

I know you asked for just the facts, so please forgive me for chiming with a few side thoughts.  There are also some further implications you should probably consider and discuss with your boyfriend as they'll encompass your life together and with children when (and I say this as someone who married a Methodist, so I certainly understand your situation).  First, one stumbling block for a couple in this situation can be the fasting regimen at home.  In some cases, each spouse eats a completely different menu; in others, the non-Orthodox spouse will somewhat embrace (or at least tolerate), the fasting periods.  Another issue is icons within the home, which again, is addressed in various ways.  While neither of these, nor any of the others that might come up, are impediments to the marriage in and of themselves, you being Orthodox is going to affect him regardless of whether he is generally open to it, generally apathetic, or openly hostile.  If you haven't at least talked about them beforehand, you may be setting yourselves up for problems even though your priest is okay with performing the marriage.
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ElizabethanElizabeth
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2011, 08:11:52 PM »

I know you asked for just the facts, so please forgive me for chiming with a few side thoughts.  There are also some further implications you should probably consider and discuss with your boyfriend as they'll encompass your life together and with children when (and I say this as someone who married a Methodist, so I certainly understand your situation).  First, one stumbling block for a couple in this situation can be the fasting regimen at home.  In some cases, each spouse eats a completely different menu; in others, the non-Orthodox spouse will somewhat embrace (or at least tolerate), the fasting periods.  Another issue is icons within the home, which again, is addressed in various ways.  While neither of these, nor any of the others that might come up, are impediments to the marriage in and of themselves, you being Orthodox is going to affect him regardless of whether he is generally open to it, generally apathetic, or openly hostile.  If you haven't at least talked about them beforehand, you may be setting yourselves up for problems even though your priest is okay with performing the marriage.

When I said opinion, I meant trying to tell me that marrying an Orthodox is the only right way and any other way would be blasphemy and from Satan. You know, the usual "holier than thou" attitude.

You were respectful, however, and raised valid issues that in their own time, will be discussed.

We won't be getting married for quite some time, so hopefully the issues, such as fasting and icons, will come up naturally and we can discuss them then. That's not to say we won't have some kinks to work out and hopefully with my priest's guidance (if my boyfriend wouldn't mind, of course), we can work them out or at least learn how to cope and work with it as is.

Thanks for your thoughts!
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2011, 09:51:58 PM »

My spouse-to-be is non-Orthodox (she's Methodist) and my priest will marry us in the Orthodox Church.  She will be chrismated (probably) next Pascha (though we will be married by then).  In the literature I received from my priest, it was stated that marriage between Orthodox and non-Orthodox (with a certificate of baptism) may be done in the church but a marriage between Orthodox and non-Christian is absolutely forbidden, in the church or not!  So, I wouldn't worry.
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2011, 10:02:47 PM »

My spouse-to-be is non-Orthodox (she's Methodist) and my priest will marry us in the Orthodox Church. 

Congrats!
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 10:13:28 AM »

I know you asked for just the facts, so please forgive me for chiming with a few side thoughts.  There are also some further implications you should probably consider and discuss with your boyfriend as they'll encompass your life together and with children when (and I say this as someone who married a Methodist, so I certainly understand your situation).  First, one stumbling block for a couple in this situation can be the fasting regimen at home.  In some cases, each spouse eats a completely different menu; in others, the non-Orthodox spouse will somewhat embrace (or at least tolerate), the fasting periods.  Another issue is icons within the home, which again, is addressed in various ways.  While neither of these, nor any of the others that might come up, are impediments to the marriage in and of themselves, you being Orthodox is going to affect him regardless of whether he is generally open to it, generally apathetic, or openly hostile.  If you haven't at least talked about them beforehand, you may be setting yourselves up for problems even though your priest is okay with performing the marriage.

If your boyfriend received a Trinitarian baptism and can get a copy of his baptismal certificate, there shouldn't be a problem in either the OCA or GOA, AFAIK.

And I second the above post. I want you to think about what marrying someone of a different belief system will mean in the future. Typically people become more serious about their faith as they grow older, especially when children come along. Many people "re-discover" their earlier faith, while others go in a totally different direction.
What if things change - what will you do? How will the two of you handle raising children in different faiths or attending different churches? I've seen it happen quite a lot.
Personally, it was very important to me to marry someone who shared my faith (even though we weren't Orthodox at the time). It can often be very lonely and disheartening to try to live a life of faith by yourself in a marriage, as you can tell by various posts on the forum. My faith is the deepest, truest, most personal part of my being - I wouldn't want it to become a source of conflict or disagreement, or even compromise in my marriage.
Then too the Orthodox understanding of marriage as a sacrament is totally different from, for example, the Protestant understanding. A priest really opened my eyes to this truth when he told me to look at my husband: "This is the person that God has given you - to help you toward salvation. And God has given you to your husband to help him. Together your task is to help each other achieve salvation."
How can this happen if your spouse doesn't really understand or "buy into" this unique Orthodox belief?
Can people of differing beliefs have happy and successful marriages? I'm sure many could provide anecdotal evidence that it is possible. What it does require is communication and compromise - of course, those are excellent qualities necessary for any marriage!
Don't assume that "love will find a way" or that "everything will work out" because there's a better than even chance that it won't. It's better to discuss all these issues and many more thoroughly and honestly before the marriage, rather than fight about them afterward. Hopefully your premarital counseling with your priest will give you that chance.

(And finally, a personal story: in the past, my husband and I were having serious problems in our relationship, so serious that divorce was not only possible but very likely. We had counseling, of course, but at one point, during the Divine Liturgy, our priest called us up to the chalice together and communed us as a couple. That was a powerful, salvific and healing moment. Which would not have happened if we were of different faiths.)

« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 10:15:53 AM by katherineofdixie » Logged

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ElizabethanElizabeth
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2011, 01:20:44 PM »

If your boyfriend received a Trinitarian baptism and can get a copy of his baptismal certificate, there shouldn't be a problem in either the OCA or GOA, AFAIK.

And I second the above post. I want you to think about what marrying someone of a different belief system will mean in the future. Typically people become more serious about their faith as they grow older, especially when children come along. Many people "re-discover" their earlier faith, while others go in a totally different direction.
What if things change - what will you do? How will the two of you handle raising children in different faiths or attending different churches? I've seen it happen quite a lot.
Personally, it was very important to me to marry someone who shared my faith (even though we weren't Orthodox at the time). It can often be very lonely and disheartening to try to live a life of faith by yourself in a marriage, as you can tell by various posts on the forum. My faith is the deepest, truest, most personal part of my being - I wouldn't want it to become a source of conflict or disagreement, or even compromise in my marriage.
Then too the Orthodox understanding of marriage as a sacrament is totally different from, for example, the Protestant understanding. A priest really opened my eyes to this truth when he told me to look at my husband: "This is the person that God has given you - to help you toward salvation. And God has given you to your husband to help him. Together your task is to help each other achieve salvation."
How can this happen if your spouse doesn't really understand or "buy into" this unique Orthodox belief?
Can people of differing beliefs have happy and successful marriages? I'm sure many could provide anecdotal evidence that it is possible. What it does require is communication and compromise - of course, those are excellent qualities necessary for any marriage!
Don't assume that "love will find a way" or that "everything will work out" because there's a better than even chance that it won't. It's better to discuss all these issues and many more thoroughly and honestly before the marriage, rather than fight about them afterward. Hopefully your premarital counseling with your priest will give you that chance.

(And finally, a personal story: in the past, my husband and I were having serious problems in our relationship, so serious that divorce was not only possible but very likely. We had counseling, of course, but at one point, during the Divine Liturgy, our priest called us up to the chalice together and communed us as a couple. That was a powerful, salvific and healing moment. Which would not have happened if we were of different faiths.)

I appreciate your thoughts, and they're all being considered.

Even if he was Orthodox though, who is to say he wouldn't later change his beliefs? Yes, while it is something that should be seriously considered, I can't go based off of that. Maybe he'll want to become Orthodox in the future, as well. Only time will tell, and if I see any hint of serious changes before marriage that I can't see being hashed out between us, then I'll have to accept it and back out, but I don't want to base my future off of what-ifs because like I said, even an Orthodox man (or woman) could change their mind while married to another Orthodox, but I'm sure the Orthodox spouse didn't think about that upon marriage.

Also, I did forget to mention and actually just learned the other day, his cousins are Orthodox, so he does know the basics. I brought up fasting to him and he said his cousin had explained it to him before. So, he doesn't seem to think that will hinder us. Like I said, we'll be getting into a lot more serious discussions before marriage, but at least he knows the generals. I won't allow him to marry me without fully understanding my beliefs and why they're important to me. He said as long as we can celebrate the holidays as a family, he doesn't care.

Thanks for the insight!
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2011, 09:39:00 PM »

   I must admit i'm uncomfortable with the traditional teaching that marrying non-Christians is absolutely forbidden.   Especially because i'm friends with a few people that are Jewish or agnostic/atheist/irreligious.   I have to wonder if some of it is not down to anti-semitic medievalism that placed extra punishmetns on Christians that fornicated with Jewish women.   I would like to have an Orthodox person explain this to me.   I've met bad or careless Christians and good heathens... and actually in some cases i wouldn't have any problem marrying the good heathen if I only had bad Christians as my option.   Yes its not easy to have interfaith relationships/marriages but mature adults can make it happen. 

  God can place anybody in my life to help me along to salvation, or me to help them, and in my eyes the person need not belong to any particular creed for me to value that relationship.
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 09:43:59 PM »

  I must admit i'm uncomfortable with the traditional teaching that marrying non-Christians is absolutely forbidden.   Especially because i'm friends with a few people that are Jewish or agnostic/atheist/irreligious.   I have to wonder if some of it is not down to anti-semitic medievalism that placed extra punishmetns on Christians that fornicated with Jewish women.   I would like to have an Orthodox person explain this to me.   I've met bad or careless Christians and good heathens... and actually in some cases i wouldn't have any problem marrying the good heathen if I only had bad Christians as my option.   Yes its not easy to have interfaith relationships/marriages but mature adults can make it happen.  

  God can place anybody in my life to help me along to salvation, or me to help them, and in my eyes the person need not belong to any particular creed for me to value that relationship.


I don't see how that could have any basis in truth if it is not just the Rabbinicalists who are excluded, but rather all forms of heathens (Hindus, Buddhists, Muhammadans, Taoists, etc.).

Beyond that, the totally traditional teaching is that there cannot be marriage even with any heretic, which would also exclude non-Orthodox Christians.
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2011, 11:04:04 PM »

One thing I think you should consider is that Orthodoxy requires a large commitment in time. Our services are long and frequent. From a practical point of view, your future husband has to be prepared either to come to church with you often or to feel comfortable with the idea of you attending it by yourself. Someone earlier mentioned fasting; different food needs can really stress a family (as anyone knows who lives in a mixed household).

I'd recommend having him come to church with you regularly, as soon as practical, to get a feel for these things, so you can work out any potential problems together.
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