MGOCSM College Ministry Newsletter Q&A - January 2014 Edition
When do you know you’re ready for marriage? What would you do if your partner’s parents do not know of the relationships?
There is no formula to figure when you are ready. Much of the time, we are never ready for marriage. Marriage is sacrifice. As St. Paul reminds us in the Letter to the Ephesians, husbands are to love their wives like Christ loves the Church. That means that you need to be ready to sacrifice everything for another person. It is a process to develop that love. But when you are ready to love unselfishly, then you should be careful not to just jump into anything. First, pray and fast for God to light your path.
It is important to be honest about your relationship. There is a proper time and way to inform your parents of your intentions. Sooner is better than later. Always remember to put yourself in your parent’s shoes. It is not always easy for parents to consent to a relationship. For longer than you have been alive, they have been thinking and praying about the future of their children. So, it can be difficult to alter their expectations. Thus, great care and understanding is needed. In some cases, if there are any older siblings, it would be good to consult them. As always, rely on prayer and fasting in every step of the journey.
Does God create only one perfect person for you or are there many people who He could have you be with and your union is blessed by Him?
There is no perfect person for you. Only Jesus Christ is perfect. Obviously, there are people that are more compatible than others. But compatibility doesn’t mean that there will not be difficulty or rocky paths within a marriage. A marriage will be blessed if you both rely on and emulate the ‘perfect one’ - Jesus Christ.
What is the orthodox view on Interracial marriage?
Orthodoxy is for everyone and welcomes all who wish to know the truth, Jesus Christ. We are all children of God. The Orthodox Church has no barriers for interracial marriage as long as both accept the Faith.
On the other hand, pursuit of an interracial marriage should consider cultural and familial differences and the effect it would have on marriage and family life. Marriage is the bringing together of not just two people but two families, their ways of life, and customs. And the decision of a couple will be affected by the extended family.
I have a boy/girl friend now, is it wrong?
If you are already in a relationship, I would suggest that you seek the advice of your spiritual father. Every situation is different and it is helpful to have the prayers and insight of a spiritual father to help you discern what is best for you.
What do we do when our own family is not following the Christian faith and they make it difficult to lead a Christian lifestyle?
Regardless of the circumstances that you are in or the people you are surrounded with, your strength comes from God. Continue to be the example for those around you and your patience can change their hearts. As St. James says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (St. James 1:2-3) Seek refuge in the Church to find additional support.
What do you recommend we do Friday and Saturday nights?
God has given each person talents and abilities. We should use every moment to develop those talents for the glory of God. (Read the parable of the Talents - St. Matthew 25) On the other hand, God rested on the seventh day. So, it is important to take time to rejuvenate from our studies and work. Thus, it is good to find activities that provide the right type of rest and rejuvenation that you need. Bible Studies, charity events, and even just a simple fellowship event with good friends can edify and strengthen. Even more than that, be creative and don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Grow yourself with new experiences that you can be proud of in front of God.
Basically, ‘all things are permissible but not beneficial.’ (1 Corinthians 10:23)
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