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« on: August 25, 2011, 08:38:22 PM »

Not to delve into boring matters in my private life, and may I strain the term boring, but I am bothered that I may not receive the sacrament of marriage due to my significant other not exactly enthralled by my faith.

I'll spare the details, but I'm not sure how I can reconcile a possible marriage years down the road while already been baptized in the Church, which from my understanding is grounds for excommunication.

I don't want to forsake this woman for an Orthodox woman, but I feel what I want comes into conflict with the whole "You can't love your father, mother, etc more than me."

Just curious but has there been anyone here who has broken off a relationship with their partner because it came into conflict with Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 08:59:59 PM »

As long as your girlfriend is a baptized, Trinitarian Christian, the two of you may be married in the Orthodox Church. She doesn't need to be Orthodox. So, you really only have a canonical problem if (a) she is not a baptized, Trinitarian Christian and never will be or (b) even being so, she would refuse to participate in an Orthodox wedding ceremony for whatever reason.
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2011, 09:06:04 PM »

As long as your girlfriend is a baptized, Trinitarian Christian, the two of you may be married in the Orthodox Church. She doesn't need to be Orthodox. So, you really only have a canonical problem if (a) she is not a baptized, Trinitarian Christian and never will be or (b) even being so, she would refuse to participate in an Orthodox wedding ceremony for whatever reason.
Not baptized Trinitarian and may never will be. She may refuse to participate the later as well.
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 09:11:07 PM »

thank God, my husband allowed me to become orthodox.
if not (as i was already married), i would have been secretly orthodox and taken my orthodox study Bible allong to the protestant church to flick through during the sermon.
 Wink
but without going into detail on my side either, i can understand the stress when you have become very close to someone, sharing all that was important to you at the time, and then for one reason or another you find there are very important things that you can't agree on.

can i suggest you spend time (i'm sure u already did, but i mean more time) fasting and praying to God for guidance?
He does have a plan for your life and He does care for your girlfriend as well. so pray and check out first whether you are both trying to serve God in the relationship. like do you care for the other person first, do you serve God before your own interests or hobbies, do you want to serve God by helping the poor, sharing the gospel and promoting justice and peace ahead of your own personal comfort?

these are all basic questions which, if answered honestly can help bring you closer to God.
this is the sort of thing that is meant by 'seek first the kingdom of God'.
it may be that it is right for you to get married outside the church and then you become orthodox later and spend (possibly) many years waiting to share what's really important to you with your wife. (i am deliberately making it sound difficult so you don't do it lightly)

i am assuming you are not baptised yet, if you are, then you can't actually marry someone who does not want to join the orthodox church.
in which case, you still need to answer the questions above, but you also need to make sure your girlfriend understands the situation and it's seriousness.
is she a Christian? can you pray about this situation together?
i think the best way is to be honest and open and ask other people who know you to also pray if possible.
if you wish for God's glory above all else, He will guide you and show you what is best for your soul and for this lady's soul too.
may God guide you and give you peace, and pray for me too, a sinner.
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 09:13:17 PM »

Not baptized Trinitarian and may never will be. She may refuse to participate the later as well.

Well, that's an issue. I'd say you should talk about the issue with your priest but especially with her.

When I was a grad student, I sat down with my (would-be) girlfriend and said: "Look, I can't have a serious relationship with a person who is not an Orthodox Christian. Period." Six months later, she became Orthodox; six months after that, we got married in the Church. Now we have two little uns.
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2011, 09:16:42 PM »

You never know what will happen.

My confessor advised me that in matters of romance one must encounter a person, not a list of ticked doctrinal boxes.

Lord knows, my nouveau left, daughter-of-divorced-lesbian, bleeding-heart ex was pretty open to God and Christianity by the time that relationship ended.

Try to stay in the moment and pray hard. Don't let a future which hasn't let happened destroy you in the present.
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 09:17:20 PM »

I'll respond to you mabsoota at a later time, but this caught my immediate attention.

"Look, I can't have a serious relationship with a person who is not an Orthodox Christian. Period."
Obviously you didn't dictate that word for word, but I am surprised at the response directly after with a baptism in six months. I personally could never approach the situation like that, all ultimatium-ish.
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 09:23:00 PM »

I'll respond to you mabsoota at a later time, but this caught my immediate attention.

"Look, I can't have a serious relationship with a person who is not an Orthodox Christian. Period."
Obviously you didn't dictate that word for word, but I am surprised at the response directly after with a baptism in six months. I personally could never approach the situation like that, all ultimatium-ish.

Actually, that is very close to a direct quote. My wife likes to tell that story, so that's why I know. There's no point in beating around the bush, unless you're a teenager.

That said, it's not like she decided to convert then and there. She just knew she should really give this Orthodoxy thing a serious look.
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2011, 09:30:49 PM »

As long as your girlfriend is a baptized, Trinitarian Christian, the two of you may be married in the Orthodox Church. She doesn't need to be Orthodox. So, you really only have a canonical problem if (a) she is not a baptized, Trinitarian Christian and never will be or (b) even being so, she would refuse to participate in an Orthodox wedding ceremony for whatever reason.
Not baptized Trinitarian and may never will be. She may refuse to participate the later as well.
Then, unless you marry before you are baptized/chrismated, you will have a problem. Even then, you may have a problem.

I called off an engagement with a Protestant Copt (yeah, they exist, but she, like most, was baptized Orthodox), because her family were demanding she become Orthodox to marry me and she didn't want to leave Protestantism.  I told them up front it wasn't a requirement of mine, but the children would have to be Orthodox.  I called it off because I didn't want her to think she had to please me rather than Christ (of course, her return to Orthodoxy would have pleased us both, but she wasn't aware of that).
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2011, 09:37:47 PM »

I will start by saying I have no real world experience in this.  However, I have a question to raise.  Do you really think it's a good idea to marry someone, and presumably start a family with them, if they don't hold to your religious beliefs?  Being a Protestant or a Catholic would be hard enough, but being not even a Trinitarian Christian will make things infinitely harder on your children.
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2011, 09:50:29 PM »

I think St. John Chrysostom touches on this very subject in his book Marriage and Family Life. Maybe check that out.
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2011, 11:19:44 PM »

Doesn't he also warn men not to marry women richer than them?

(This is an actual question, sometimes such things don't come across on a message board)
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2011, 09:35:01 AM »

I will start by saying I have no real world experience in this.  However, I have a question to raise.  Do you really think it's a good idea to marry someone, and presumably start a family with them, if they don't hold to your religious beliefs?  Being a Protestant or a Catholic would be hard enough, but being not even a Trinitarian Christian will make things infinitely harder on your children.

Though my parents' marriage was loving and respectful and they were both Christians (Lutheran and RCC), I can tell you firsthand that it is indeed hard on the children. When you're small, it's a little scary that Mom and Dad aren't together with you in church, and I can't even imagine what it would have been like if one of them wasn't a Christian. I'm sure my mother often felt lonely going every Sunday and to every event and activity by herself.

For me, it is of paramount importance that my spouse share my faith. The Orthodox understanding of marriage as a sacrament, where we encounter grace, and a spiritual path, is so important to our relationship. Also I wouldn't want my faith - the deepest, truest part of me - to be a subject of discord or compromise in my marriage.

Two stories which I have told before: at one time, my husband and I were going through some real rough times in our marriage, so rough that divorce was not only possible but likely. Of course, we were in counseling, but one Sunday our priest called us up to the chalice and communed us together. It was like a slap up side the head for me - reminding me what was real and important in our lives together, a powerful and yes, even a salvific moment, which would not have happened if we were of different faiths. During the counseling, another epiphany was when the priest told us to turn and look at each other, "this is the person that God Himself has given you to help you achieve salvation. This is the person that God Himself has given you for you to help achieve salvation."

(Btw, we celebrated our 37th anniversary last week.)
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2011, 10:06:01 AM »

I will start by saying I have no real world experience in this.  However, I have a question to raise.  Do you really think it's a good idea to marry someone, and presumably start a family with them, if they don't hold to your religious beliefs?  Being a Protestant or a Catholic would be hard enough, but being not even a Trinitarian Christian will make things infinitely harder on your children.
Congrats, Katherineofdixie! Many years to the two of you.


1 Corinthians 7: 12-16
But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.  And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

From my own limited experience, James, I don't think it's a good idea either. Of course people change throughout a relationship, so it's not black and white to say YES or NO. For instance, if my husband lost faith, I don't think I would divorce him if he was willing to stay in the relationship. We have invested too much and truly love each other, and that makes it harder to get up and leave than if I was on a first date and the guy told me he was an atheist.

But it really is hard on the children. Even just across the Christian divide. I had friends whose parents spent years arguing about whether to send their children to an RCC or a Presbytarian Church. As a result, they remained in a stalemate and the children never went to church until they were in college. I would pray that this would never happen to my children.

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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2011, 07:11:18 PM »

The case in Corinthians, though, is not about marrying a non-believer.  It is about an instance where a person becomes a believer, and their spouse doesn't, or potentially where the spouse ceases to believe.  I think that is very different from, when you believe, marrying one who does not.
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2011, 07:16:43 PM »

Quote
Doesn't he also warn men not to marry women richer than them?
Good advice.

Im on my way to converting and my wife is still on the fence. I know for me it helps that she sat down with my parish priest and really ironed out some mis-conceptions she had. Maybe this would help?

Also, my wife is a trinitarian christian (im not sure if she was ever baptized.....something to ask) so even if she does not convert it will be easier.

If she were not a trinitarian christian I'd have not married her in the first place....God's pretty clear on those matters....or at least IMHO He is.

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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2011, 09:30:51 PM »

can i suggest you spend time (i'm sure u already did, but i mean more time) fasting and praying to God for guidance?
He does have a plan for your life and He does care for your girlfriend as well. so pray and check out first whether you are both trying to serve God in the relationship. like do you care for the other person first, do you serve God before your own interests or hobbies, do you want to serve God by helping the poor, sharing the gospel and promoting justice and peace ahead of your own personal comfort?
I do care for the other person above myself, but I do sometimes get my hobbies and interests in the way of serving God. I could do more to get outside of my own personal comfort.

Quote
these are all basic questions which, if answered honestly can help bring you closer to God.
this is the sort of thing that is meant by 'seek first the kingdom of God'.
it may be that it is right for you to get married outside the church and then you become orthodox later and spend (possibly) many years waiting to share what's really important to you with your wife. (i am deliberately making it sound difficult so you don't do it lightly)

i am assuming you are not baptised yet, if you are, then you can't actually marry someone who does not want to join the orthodox church.
in which case, you still need to answer the questions above, but you also need to make sure your girlfriend understands the situation and it's seriousness.
This is good advice and thanks.

Quote
is she a Christian? can you pray about this situation together?
i think the best way is to be honest and open and ask other people who know you to also pray if possible.
if you wish for God's glory above all else, He will guide you and show you what is best for your soul and for this lady's soul too.
may God guide you and give you peace, and pray for me too, a sinner.
Yes she is Christian. But then again it goes back to the whole discussion in another thread who can truly be called Christians?

The above is also good advice too.

You never know what will happen.
True.

Quote
My confessor advised me that in matters of romance one must encounter a person, not a list of ticked doctrinal boxes.
That is true.

Quote
Lord knows, my nouveau left, daughter-of-divorced-lesbian, bleeding-heart ex was pretty open to God and Christianity by the time that relationship ended.

Try to stay in the moment and pray hard. Don't let a future which hasn't let happened destroy you in the present.
Well it's something that I think is sort of vital to think about, what to do in the here and now which will shape the future for both of us.

As long as your girlfriend is a baptized, Trinitarian Christian, the two of you may be married in the Orthodox Church. She doesn't need to be Orthodox. So, you really only have a canonical problem if (a) she is not a baptized, Trinitarian Christian and never will be or (b) even being so, she would refuse to participate in an Orthodox wedding ceremony for whatever reason.
Not baptized Trinitarian and may never will be. She may refuse to participate the later as well.
Then, unless you marry before you are baptized/chrismated, you will have a problem. Even then, you may have a problem.

I called off an engagement with a Protestant Copt (yeah, they exist, but she, like most, was baptized Orthodox), because her family were demanding she become Orthodox to marry me and she didn't want to leave Protestantism.  I told them up front it wasn't a requirement of mine, but the children would have to be Orthodox.  I called it off because I didn't want her to think she had to please me rather than Christ (of course, her return to Orthodoxy would have pleased us both, but she wasn't aware of that).
I like the last bit that she should be serving Christ and not me.

I will start by saying I have no real world experience in this.  However, I have a question to raise.  Do you really think it's a good idea to marry someone, and presumably start a family with them, if they don't hold to your religious beliefs?  Being a Protestant or a Catholic would be hard enough, but being not even a Trinitarian Christian will make things infinitely harder on your children.
No I do not think it is a good idea and I would like my children to grow in the faith. So it's better to figure out the faith stuff first between myself and this girl, rather than later down the road and we have kids becomes a big squabble.

I think St. John Chrysostom touches on this very subject in his book Marriage and Family Life. Maybe check that out.
Saw that on Amazon, I'll pick it up if it's at my Church's bookstore on Sunday.

Though my parents' marriage was loving and respectful and they were both Christians (Lutheran and RCC), I can tell you firsthand that it is indeed hard on the children. When you're small, it's a little scary that Mom and Dad aren't together with you in church, and I can't even imagine what it would have been like if one of them wasn't a Christian. I'm sure my mother often felt lonely going every Sunday and to every event and activity by herself.

For me, it is of paramount importance that my spouse share my faith. The Orthodox understanding of marriage as a sacrament, where we encounter grace, and a spiritual path, is so important to our relationship. Also I wouldn't want my faith - the deepest, truest part of me - to be a subject of discord or compromise in my marriage.

Two stories which I have told before: at one time, my husband and I were going through some real rough times in our marriage, so rough that divorce was not only possible but likely. Of course, we were in counseling, but one Sunday our priest called us up to the chalice and communed us together. It was like a slap up side the head for me - reminding me what was real and important in our lives together, a powerful and yes, even a salvific moment, which would not have happened if we were of different faiths. During the counseling, another epiphany was when the priest told us to turn and look at each other, "this is the person that God Himself has given you to help you achieve salvation. This is the person that God Himself has given you for you to help achieve salvation."

(Btw, we celebrated our 37th anniversary last week.)

Great story and a fair warning on raising the children bit. You kind of confirmed my belief that marriage doesn't work outside of God. Thanks for chiming in btw, I was hoping you would post since you have a direct posting style that forces me to black and white rather than hide behind the gray.

Appreciate you posting again.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2011, 04:48:40 PM »

1.Prayer can achieve what you can not.
2.I second this:

1 Corinthians 7: 12-16
But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.  And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2011, 05:05:09 PM »


Just curious but has there been anyone here who has broken off a relationship with their partner because it came into conflict with Orthodoxy?

I was already married when I became Orthodox, but I do know of someone who did break an engagement because of Orthodoxy.  It was very difficult for him, but he knew it was the right thing to do.  From what I remember hearing he did end up meeting someone in another parish a year or two later.  I think they ended up getting married, but I lost touch with him.

I honestly wouldn't recommending going into a marriage with someone who wasn't Orthodox.  I know people who do it and it works just fine, but I just don't think its the ideal situation.  Proceed with caution.

Just as a side note - as a mom who prays her college kids someday find Orthodox spouses... I really do wish there was a specific Akathist to pray for this situation.

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« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2011, 04:59:39 PM »

I think the short answer is "it depends". I am RCC and am married to a non-Christian (nominal Buddhist). We agreed that when we had children, I would have their religious education in charge. Fast forward ten years later, and we have been attending Divine Liturgy at a GOA parish since March and last week I picked up the paperwork to have the children baptized. I will likely be received soon as well.

Even though she is not a Christian, my wife attends services with us as a family. She does say positive things about the church and its teachings, so I pray she will come over one day. I know I cannot force her, so I just do the best to live the faith and she what she takes from it. But, even if she never joins the church, she won't make that an obstacle to mine and the children's practice.

So, it seems that I am having a much easier time of things than others with Christians from other denominations. Achronos' girlfriend seems to be giving some resistance. I am not aware of the canonical issues involved, but to me the key is how would the children be raised?
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2011, 10:16:18 AM »

since you have a direct posting style that forces me to black and white rather than hide behind the gray.


That's my conversational style in Real Life as well. Some people find it an acquired taste.
 Wink
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