Premarital Concerns - FQA
- Sex Before Marriage
- How to Move From Sex Before Marriage
- Premarital Concern: Commitment before Marriage
- Premarital Wedding Concerns
- Getting Married in Cyprus
Question: "Thank you so much for your quick response and helpful recommendations. Your comments were very effective in helping both of us to open a new conversation for our future together. It is a very difficult conversation and an ongoing one. We did mutually agree to abstain from sexual relations until after the wedding. The difficulty I have now is in knowing how to experience repentance and when do I know that I am ready to accept Holy Communion. I tend to be hard on myself. The only place I find peace from my negative thoughts is when I pray in church. How do I get past some of these feelings and thoughts so that I can receive Communion?"
Answer: When the priest comes out of the Royal Doors holding the chalice which contains the Body and Blood of Christ, he says, “With the fear, faith and love of God draw near.” Ultimately none of us is worthy to receive him. However, in his great mercy, he accepts us as we are if we come to him with fear, faith and love in our hearts. That should be enough.
We may not accept ourselves, but he accepts us so. So, prepare yourself and come to the Holy Cup of Salvation with the fear, faith and love of God. As Saint Paul states, we are saved by “faith,” and not “works.” Believe that he loves you and come and receive. Should this counsel prove to be insufficient in arresting your negative “feelings and thoughts,” I would recommend you seek further counsel from your parish priest.
Question: "I need your advice on something that happened to me and my girlfriend. We are have been dating for 8 months. We do not live together, but the temptation to have premartial sex has increased this past month. So much so that we briefly did have premarital sex, we stopped once we realized what was happening. We both feel guilty and that we have done something wrong.
We both need guidance and we both are ashamed and feel like we let one another down as well as our families. We both agreed that sex is not an option especially having said the prayer of repentance.
Where do we go from here? I love her, and before all this happened we both received the blessing from our Priest, and I already had permission from my parents and hers to take her hand in marriage.
Will you please enlighten me on how I can be a better leader, resist temptation and on where our relationship go from here?
Answer: I respect and admire the dating standards you've both established for yourselves, and I encourage you to continue struggling to live up to them. I also want to remind you that we worship a loving, merciful, forgiving God who knows that we all sin and fall short of His glory. With that stated, here are some additional observations and suggestions that may prove helpful to you in your efforts to find some blessed peace and closure from this incident.
1. Based on the remorseful spirit in which you've written me, I suspect you both have confessed this sin and are trying to move beyond its destructive, residual effects. If you have, that is a good first step toward reaching some blessed closure.
2. If you have not confessed this sin with heartfelt remorse, you should both seek to do so as individuals and as a couple.
3. If you've confessed this sin and are still troubled by its residual effects, you might also consider confessing this sin to a priest through the Sacrament of Confession.
4. If you have both confessed this sin with and without a priest, and you have recommitted yourselves to abstinence until after marriage, then you should both have no further concerns for this sin. Remember that God loves the sinner who turns from his sins and seeks forgiveness.
5. If you continue to struggle with guilt after confessing this sin, and this E-mail does not help you reach closure, you should seek further spiritual counsel to help you cleanse yourselves from the destructive effects of inappropriate guilt.
6. In the future, you should try and avoid other similar potentially compromising situations that would compel you both to make the same mistake. As a result, if you haven't done so, you should talk about what happened, recommit to abstinence, avoid blaming each other and engage in some brainstorming that will help you avoid making the same mistake again.
7. Finally, you should both ask God to help you learn from this incident while also helping you protect the oneness you are seeking to cultivate.
May our merciful, forgiving Lord continue to richly bless you.
Question: "I’m having a hard time trusting that my fiancee is committed to me. She really hasn’t done anything specific to cause me to question her commitment. Yet, sometimes I just can’t help myself. Maybe these thoughts and feelings are related to the fact that my first marriage didn’t work out. She left me. What do you think?"
Answer: Divorce is an excruciatingly painful experience that can have a lasting impact on our efforts to form new meaningful relationships. I suggest you consider finding a trusted person to talk through some of your underlying concerns. One possible good choice might be your pastor. Along with whatever counsel your priest might be able to offer, I would also urge you to consider a good couples' therapist who has a marriage friendly perspective and specializes in divorce recovery issues.
Question: My fiancee is Greek Orthodox and I am Baptist. We are getting my pastor to conduct the ceremony. He does interfaith marriages. We were trying to find traditional Greek rituals to be included in the ceremony so that my fiancee can have some of his religion incorporated. Is there any way that can be done? Thank you!
Answer: Congratulations. I hope and pray this will be a blessed, beautiful day.
You might consider the following resource: Greek Traditions and Customs in America (Rouvelas). This book does not make specific suggestions like the lones that you have requested. However, it does provide an overview of some of the common rituals, customs and traditions you requested as well as a brief explanation of the Sacrament of Marriage.
Your fiancee should be aware that when he gets married outside of the Orthodox Church he will fall out of good standing with his church, and he will be unable to receive the sacraments. In order for him to get back into good standing, you are required to receive the Sacrament of Marriage in the Orthodox Church. The following link provides more information related to what I've briefly written here which may help you both.Click here
Question: “Thank you for taking the time to make your informative website. I am hoping you can help me. I am Catholic and am engaged to the love of my life who is Greek Orthodox. We are planning to get married in a Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus. I have been reading about a few traditions that I am hoping the church will accept to consider some of my own traditions that are important to me when we unite in marriage. It's important to me to have my father "give me away" and walk me down the aisle and hand me over to my husband to be (I understand the bride and groom meet outside and walk down the aisle together). Secondly, is it possible for my godmother who is to be my maid of honor, who is not Greek Orthodox to still play the part? I hope you can calm my nerves and send me some good news. Thank you for your time.”
Answer: The types of traditions you've inquired about vary from one part of the world to the other. In the States, the traditions you've described are familiar to most Orthodox priests and you would likely not encounter problems including them. However, you might encounter some resistance in Cyprus.
In order to ensure that things unfold smoothly prior and during the Sacrament of Marriage, I always encourage couples to consult with the officiating priest. In your case, if I were you, I would request that your Greek Orthodox fiancee or one of his family consult with the officiating priest in Cyprus before the Sacrament of Marriage. He will be able to answer your questions and arrest your fears and concerns.
I am sorry I could not provide you with the information you've requested. I feel confident that the priest in Cyprus will do all he can to make your wedding a memorable event.