Reader Questions, Take 3

orthodox christian courtship and physical contact
Yeah, we all have to grapple with that question. So, let me refer you to Fr. Richard Rene’s excellent post on chastity. In particular: “After all, chaste sexuality within marriage on one hand, and chaste celibacy on the other are and should be the fruits of a relationship of love with Christ, and not some kind of legal requirement that puts us in good standing with God and the community.” Chastity isn’t just the absence of premarital sex. Like generosity or humility, it’s a positive and beautiful thing to strive for. In other words, don’t ask how far you can go. First, try and live chastely and don’t let your passions rule you, and appropriate behavior will come from that. 

Pro tip: if you hear yourself justifying, especially re pushing a boundary further, take a step back and talk with someone you trust.

christian girls dating secular guys
This is a thing that happens, yep. It has some pitfalls, but it works out well sometimes. Personally, while dating is all well and good, we can’t recommend you marry anyone who isn’t Orthodox of his own volition and in his independent practice by the time you walk down the aisle.

hyperdox
Hahahahaha. Hyperdox is a snarky term meaning “excessively Orthodox,” ie convert-itis on steroids. An example of hyperdox behavior would be deciding one’s baptism wasn’t valid because you weren’t nekkid when it happened, and insisting the priest baptize you again. (You can thank an old Onion Dome article by Fr. Sophronios for that example!)

recommendations for lenten reading fiction
Oooh. I like top-notch fiction from the 1800’s and early 1900’s best, particularly well-told stories of people striving to live good lives while dealing with reality. Careful though—avoid deliberately and heavy-handedly Morally Edifying Tales For The Good of Young Protestant Girls, a la Elsie Dinsmore. For a starting place, try Wives and DaughtersA City of Bells, and Sense and Sensibility. Other good options include the Little Women and Anne of Green Gables seriesmiddle-grade fiction, or classic fantasy like The Hobbit and Chronicles of Narnia. For modern Orthodox fiction, try Unexpected Joy or The Other Side of the Bonfire. See also last year’s list.

discovering the other side of a character
Oh, that’s a big one. People are multifaceted, and you don’t get to pick and choose the facets you like. It can be especially confusing when people seem to be so good and awesome and only occasionally show their baser sides, or when you get close enough to see the very real beauty within them, or when they only show their baser sides towards people they may have reason to dislike, or when there are complicating factors like depression/addiction. Darcy behaved at his worst when Wickham was involved, for instance. But ultimately people are responsible for their choices, and you have to figure out what you can live with if they’re going to be in your life. “I care about you, but I don’t want to see you again” is a perfectly legit option.

See also this.

how to tel a girl how you need her otho you cant have her because of her beauty
…Oy. How about don’t?

Seriously dude. Saying you need her reeks of desperation and emotional manipulation. And saying she’s too beautiful for you to date is just…weird. But maybe most importantly, you don’t “have” other people, they aren’t possessions. If you want to build a relationship with her, first see her as a whole person with her own needs, opinions, desires, faults, and goals. Then tell her that you think she’s wonderful and you’d like to take her on a date. Then listen to her answer.
Remember, you’re looking for a person to build a life with, not just a pretty girl to admire. You want a human being who’s emotionally healthy; who has similar goals, priorities and values; and who genuinely enjoys you and whom you enjoy.

“courting-spiritual head of household”
You know, somehow those words in combination strike a red flag for me. I love and respect guys who are good leaders and who work to be the captain of a family ship oriented towards Christ, and in and of itself the word courting is fine, but put the two together and I immediately think of patriarchal Protestant virginity balls. How exactly did you end up here? And how do I help?

how aare humor aaaand passion rrelated
Aare tthey? ;)

I think a good sense of humor can help keep you cheerful as you cultivate the healthy kind of passion (vs the spiritual passions of greed, lust, jealousy—ie the vices that try to rule you). Or to put it another way, Satan fell from gravity. (Hat tip to The Onion Dome.)

who pay on date
I think it’s polite to offer to split the bill, but I do think it’s gentlemanly and attractive when a guy covers it on the first date.

who pays the dates
Preferably nobody! 

eponine friend zone
…So hard she died. Yeah, yeah, I know. About that? She never told Marius she was interested til she was [spoiler] literally dying in his arms.

I’m not convinced the Friend Zone is a thing. OK, so there’s a person you’d like to date. Here are your options: tell them and see what they say, or decide that despite your feelings you’d rather not date for reasons X, Y, and Z and perhaps choose to cultivate a platonic friendship. If you don’t tell them, you need to own that choice; it’s a legit and sometimes wise option, but you can’t then blame them for not reading your mind or pursuing you. If you do tell them and they’re not interested, you can either say “Thanks for your honesty. I’m not able to be friends right now, but I wish you well” or “Thanks for your honesty! I know it may be weird/hard at first, but I think you’re awesome and I’d like us to try and be friends.” The Friend Zone consists of “Well let’s pretend to be friends while I’m secretly in love with you and convinced I’m entitled to date you and blame you for not rewarding my Niceness(TM) with a relationship/sex.” See also xkcd.

friend zone sucks
Whiner.

movie about woman with broken heart
How about Sliding Doors? The woman’s life takes two separate paths depending on whether she gets home in time to catch her boyfriend cheating.
P.S. I Love You is about a recently-widowed woman deciding to move forward. Bit sappy, but the accents are to die for.
And of course, Sense and Sensibility has 3 broken-hearted women: Elinor, Marianne, and their widowed mother. Both the 1995 movie and the 2008 miniseries are fantastic.

most important question-what made you decide to get married?
…Laaaaaura? Good question, she’ll get back to you on that.
But in the general sense, I think the only way to decide to get married is to listen to yourself and what you enjoy and what your goals are and what kind of life you want, and to trust in your answer. Monasticism is an awesome option, and one can be single in the world and live a beautiful life too. Your hopes are allowed to change, of course, and once you’re open to marriage you still can’t make it happen on your own.

do you want be a matushka
Hm, personally I try not to think too much about it. If the man I marry becomes a priest, then I’ll be a matushka and do my best to support Fr. Sweetie (as my priest’s wife calls her husband!) as he serves the parish. But I’m not going to emotionally invest in an idea that depends not only on what I do but on the life’s work of a man I haven’t identified yet. As best I can tell, the skills for being a good matushka include loving humility, healthy boundaries, and good communication…all of which we need to be cultivating anyway.

definition of love
“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his brother.”

Categories: Articles | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Reader Questions, Take 3

  1. Carol

    Fr. Sweetie… You better believe I’m running off with that one! ;)

  2. When I was 12, my priest taught us about the 4 different kinds of love. He used Christ’s crucifixion as an example of ‘agape’, since the highest form of love is laying down one’s life for another. He then told us that, before we make a decision to marry, we’d have to ask the other person if they would die for us. We could only marry them if they said yes, and we were willing to do the same.

    I didn’t really understand how important that was way back then, but I definitely get it now.

  3. http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=2615 This is what I think of when I hear the friend zone.

    I think the question is about how you court somebody who is the spiritual head of a household. It’s not to be recommended where polygamy is prohibited, though.

  4. “Satan fell from Gravity” — stole that from St. Clive of Oxford.

  5. Pingback: Male Friends and Boundaries | Orthogals

  6. Pingback: How ’bout that local sports team | Orthogals

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