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Author Topic: Telling Protestant parents that you are having your marriage blessed  (Read 1845 times) Average Rating: 0
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jah777
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« on: August 25, 2011, 11:53:36 AM »

I was speaking with someone today who was married in a Protestant church years ago, and now that she and her husband have been received into the Orthodox Church, they are planning to have an Orthodox wedding service.  She would like her Evangelical Protestant parents to attend the wedding, but she doesn't know what to tell them that would not be offensive (i.e. "we want the blessing of the Church upon our marriage whereas previously our marriage was outside of the Church, since Protestants do not have true mysteries or sacraments and Protestant pastors do not have the authority from God to perform such mysteries, etc.").  If you have had the same experience, having an Orthodox wedding after marrying the same person in a Protestant or Catholic church, what did you tell your parents?  If you have not had a similar experience, but have some good advice, feel free to share this as well, and I will pass on the best suggestions.  The language of "renewing our vows" makes sense to a Protestant, but is inaccurate and not very honest in this context.  Since this woman's parents are faithful members of the Protestant church where the woman was married, I personally think her parents will inevitably feel opposition to, and take offense at, this news, but I'm putting it out here to see what others think.     
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IsmiLiora
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 12:04:18 PM »

Goodness, Mr. Ismi and I sat on this one for MONTHS, because we knew that no matter what we said, it wasn't going to end well. Both of his parents are charismatic pastors.

We ended up saying that although our priest knew that we were Christians, we had to partake in the sacraments under the Church to ensure that they were recognized by the Church -- all of them including marriage. We thought that it would be the best route to take because they think that my Roman Catholic baptism is "invalid," and I was badgered for years about getting baptized again. If they use the same rationale, they could understand the Orthodox standpoint.

They were INFURIATED. Baptism they could understand (and they even volunteered to come to it, even though they were afraid that we were joining a cult.  Roll Eyes yeah....), but marriage made no sense to them whatsoever. They don't see it as a sacrament the way that the Orthodox do. We tried to explain it without saying, "Yeah, we NEED to get married in the Church."

My MIL asked Mr. Ismi if it was necessary and he kind of balked, so they thought that we could just do away with it. We had to tell them very firmly that we needed to and wanted to, to have an Orthodox blessing of our marriage.

Basically, we had to word the issue in a way that was the least offensive, knowing that they would hate the reality of why we had to do the wedding service. And that did not work. I don't imagine that spelling it out would have been a better alternative.

I would just tell your friend to pray about it. Her parents may be skeptical about it. Conversion is never easy, even when you are an adult. We're still struggling with that, unfortunately.

I pray that they will find peace.
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2011, 12:32:06 PM »

I was speaking with someone today who was married in a Protestant church years ago, and now that she and her husband have been received into the Orthodox Church, they are planning to have an Orthodox wedding service.  She would like her Evangelical Protestant parents to attend the wedding, but she doesn't know what to tell them that would not be offensive (i.e. "we want the blessing of the Church upon our marriage whereas previously our marriage was outside of the Church, since Protestants do not have true mysteries or sacraments and Protestant pastors do not have the authority from God to perform such mysteries, etc.").  If you have had the same experience, having an Orthodox wedding after marrying the same person in a Protestant or Catholic church, what did you tell your parents?  If you have not had a similar experience, but have some good advice, feel free to share this as well, and I will pass on the best suggestions.  The language of "renewing our vows" makes sense to a Protestant, but is inaccurate and not very honest in this context.  Since this woman's parents are faithful members of the Protestant church where the woman was married, I personally think her parents will inevitably feel opposition to, and take offense at, this news, but I'm putting it out here to see what others think.     
Renewing their vows is accurate enough-they are remaining married to the same person,no?-and since Protestants can understand that even if they can't understand the sacramental nature of Christian marriage.
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 01:04:08 PM »

I really don´t know. I was chrismated and had first communion in the Roman Church, and when I converted my own parents were more surprised and curious than sad. My father felt it a bit more than my mother, but he was the one who educated me on the 'think for yourself" attitude, so, somehow, I was still being truthful to him as well, so that sort of balanced things. With them, I simply stated the truth, in kind words, but the truth: the Orthodox Church requires this to join her.

I remember reading about an Orthodox mission somewhere (an island I suppose) where many converted from the local religion. All were baptized, but just some of those who were already together had an Orthodox cerimony. The bishop, for economy, recognized the married couples as having had their relationship blessed during baptism and communion and did not require the wedding cerimony itself. Their children, though, married in the Church.

A possible way to go is to say that now that they converted, they believe that what the Orthodox Church offers is more than a blessing, more than support, more than sanctioning. And in fact, it is. They can complete saying that they understand that the non-Orthodox don't believe there is something more, but that's the whole point why, after all, these are two different churches.

I particularly, believe that all marriages from all Good/Love/Truth seeking people, in all ideologies, in all religions can be blessed if they ask it of God. But truth is that a blessing is not the same as the mystic union of an Orthodox marriage. As always, there is more to the Church than our expectations and understandings.
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