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Experiences dealing with mixed marriages?

xOrthodox4Christx

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Who has experiences with mixed marriages? For example, Catholic-Orthodox, Evangelical-Orthodox, mainline-Orthodox something like that? Just curious, how much difficulty is it with regards to different practices and faiths?
 

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It's not possible in theory between Catholics and Orthodox exactly because we're so much alike; each claims to be the true church so each insists on claiming the kids. So the spouse who gives in on that is no longer in good standing with his or her church. My guess is in the parishes it's not much enforced. Evangelicals think we're both in grave error; so do mainliners but they seem nicer about it. At least they probably don't have much of a problem with the kids being raised in our churches, unless the person has a chip on his or her shoulder about feminism or homosexuality, in which case why would a good Catholic or Orthodox marry them? (I know; you date who you're physically attracted to but you know what I mean.) I don't have that much in common intellectually or spiritually with an indifferent Protestant; not a good foundation for a relationship if such an unlikely one even came into being.
 

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
Who has experiences with mixed marriages? For example, Catholic-Orthodox, Evangelical-Orthodox, mainline-Orthodox something like that? Just curious, how much difficulty is it with regards to different practices and faiths?
I think how difficult it is would depend on how each spouse handled things; I think that unless faith is more like a hobby, not sharing that in common with one's spouse won't ever be easy.  Children definitely would complicate the picture.  Sensitivities tend to run higher regarding their spiritual development as opposed to one's own.  Extended family can sometimes complicate the picture, depending on those dynamics.  Ideally, if you're single and looking for a spouse, finding one who shares your faith and desire for spiritual growth is best.  Life doesn't always work out that neatly, though!  I met several Orthodox halves of Orthodox-Catholic couples in a Greek parish, and it largely seemed like they both went to their own parishes most of the time, and occasionally showed up to each other's.  Feelings about that arrangement seemed to vary.

If one spouse changes after marriage, care and gentleness are really all anyone can do.  The lack of unity alone can be wearing, though.  Being the one who changed, sometimes there is guilt and/or wavering on my part, and it puts us on different pages on seemingly unrelated things.  Orthodoxy itself is not a subject I broach much at all anymore, but hopefully over time, the Faith will make me a better wife.  :)
 

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I am in one, technically, since my husband is not yet chrismated. He was lapsed in his Anglicanism even before we married, and he knew that Orthodoxy is important to me and he would follow me there. We do like debating how our respective communions view things, but he attends church with me, we're raising our son Orthodox, and generally we're on the same page. The only thing he misses is the music, because once a choirboy always a choirboy, but that's what CDs and choral evensong broadcasts are for.
 

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I am also in one, my wife is Eastern Orthodox. We have definitely seen through some very rough times due to the schism and the corollaries - I do not want to share details.
Of course, marriage is intended to last for a life (or longer) and it is not easy even if you share the same faith.
That´s why there are the crowns as a symbol of martyrdom within the marriage ceremony.
Differing faiths add another layer of complexity, another burden, the more so, if both (extended) families try to influence things.
I would advise strongly to really think carefully when considering to marry a person of a different faith and talk in advance about all possible sources of disagreement
and try to reach an agreement.
There are many areas where Catholics and Orthodox can agree at least to a certain extent, however the differences are larger than most people are aware of.
If both are really committed to their respective faith, I do not think there is any fully satisfying solution in the long run short of one part converting.
If I had known all the things that were going to happen in advance, I would have married her just the same - but with a bit less "naive" enthusiasm and more accurate understanding
about what marriage is all about.

 

Dominika

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My parents are a mixed marriage: my father is Orthodox and my mother is Roman Catholic.
It's definitely difficult. I wasn't baptised until the age of 7. It's difficult when Pascha is not on the same day (and that's pretty often). Very rare church services together (I mean, the whole family). Only with minor traidion it's fine, as every side can be enriched by the second one. We have also no problems with common home prayers.
Surely, tehre are no daily discussions abotu e.g Filioque. But above all, it's difficult because of no common sacramenta life and services. Plus the fact that at one point one side is dominationg, and on at another moment the second side is dominating. And, of course, marriage life, and generally family life, is not about "who is the dominator".
 

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This is real problem, both must be same faith.
 

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My mom remarried a sweet man (died 2 years ago).

Under one roof:
- mom is an evangelical Protestant
- step dad is a Roman Catholic
- sister goes to whatever church she could find.
- me? I attend an Orthodox Church

Conflict? Yes!! But not really. At least now my mom understands what private interpretaion means and she is willing to read about the Church Fathers. Although, since i was a kid, mom never forbids me having a Catholic rosary. When my mom found out that i was searching for another church (i told her that i was re-"digging" Roman Catholicism (ive studied at Catholic school, and at the time i told her about RC, i didnt know anything about Orthodoxy yet)) she thought that i wanted to leave Jesus Christ. I literally laughed when she said that.
 

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I'm in a mixed marriage, sort of.  My wife was raised Roman Catholic, but really in name only.  The truth is she is not really a Christian.  In the time since we started dating, I don't think I've ever attended a Catholic service with her that was not somebody's wedding, funeral or baptism.  We married in the Orthodox Church because it was important to me and I dragged her to church every so often over the years, mostly for holidays and other special occasions.   

Now that we've thrown a child into the mix, things have gotten more interesting because I am insisting on raising our daughter Orthodox and my wife is basically not a believer.  She is not hostile to Orthodoxy, but is not really into it either.  The baptism was a real culture shock for her family, particularly since her sister had a Catholic baptism about 2 months before everyone got to see the Orthodox one.  I'm trying to deepen my own faith and make sure my daughter gets the upbringing and faith tradition that I had, all while trying to bring my wife along for the ride.  I hold out a slender hope that she will convert one day or at least participate regularly by coming to church even if she remains a Catholic.  Our little girl is still an infant so these issues are very much in flux.

I think the short of it is that in the ideal world, you work this stuff out before you get married or you only marry someone who shares your religious views.  In the real world, this is not always possible or practical.  I'm not the same person for good and for bad that I was 10 years ago when we met. My religious faith is more important to me now and part of that is growing up, getting married and having a child and getting a better grasp of my self and my role in this world.

At any rate, in some ways having a spouse that is not really Christian makes it easier so long as that spouse is not hostile to religion itself.  I don't really have to fight her over theology or worry about which faith we will raise my daughter in.  The only real stumbling blocks (so far) are cultural issues and just dragging her out of bed for a church service she sees as way longer than what she is used to.  But this view might change if my wife continues to keep faith at arms-length.  At some point my daughter will notice and this will undermine my efforts to bring her along.  I'm really hoping we all grow in faith as a family in the years ahead.  I can't complain with where we are at today versus a relatively short time ago.
 

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ProdigalSon said:
I'm trying to deepen my own faith and make sure my daughter gets the upbringing and faith tradition that I had, all while trying to bring my wife along for the ride.  I hold out a slender hope that she will convert one day or at least participate regularly by coming to church even if she remains a Catholic.  Our little girl is still an infant so these issues are very much in flux.
The odds are with the child following the faith, or its lacking, of the father.  Children are excellent BS-o-meters, so live your faith out authentically, including your struggles, and your daughter will come around.  Oftentimes, the children evangelize the parents, so your little girl might be the one to persuade your little lady to come to Christ.
 

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I think that many enter marriage very naively, thinking: "After all, I love him/her so much, we will find a solution." This will actually work short-term, but in the long run, it may be very challenging, e.g. with the first crisis or children entering the picture. It may actually be an advantage then if one of the two is not a practicing Christian - it saves so much in terms of hurt feelings and disagreements.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Don't do it.

I have a family member who married an RC...and after the initial "glow" wore off (actually even before that)...it was difficult.

If you plan on having children, and you hope to raise them Orthodox....then marry an Orthodox individual.

It is not that a mixed marriage is guaranteed to fail....but, why make your life more difficult than necessary?
 

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Sometimes it's difficult, sometimes it's not. Sometimes the non-Orthodox spouse ends up converting. I don't know how much help anecdotes are here.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
Don't do it.

I have a family member who married an RC...and after the initial "glow" wore off (actually even before that)...it was difficult.

If you plan on having children, and you hope to raise them Orthodox....then marry an Orthodox individual.

It is not that a mixed marriage is guaranteed to fail....but, why make your life more difficult than necessary?
I agree with you, but... It's very difficult to meet an Orthodox potential spouse in some countries/regions. That's my problem over the years, and of some Polish Orthodox I know. I know at least a few +35 Polish Orthodox women being singles because they can't meet an Orthodox man.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
Don't do it.

I have a family member who married an RC...and after the initial "glow" wore off (actually even before that)...it was difficult.

If you plan on having children, and you hope to raise them Orthodox....then marry an Orthodox individual.

It is not that a mixed marriage is guaranteed to fail....but, why make your life more difficult than necessary?
Sometimes circumstances change.  My wife and I started out Protestant.  Eventually I became Orthodox while she became Catholic.  Instead of getting up in the mornings and shouting anathemas at each other, we learned where each one is coming from.  We are doing fine because the Lord is in our marriage.
 

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A word of advice -- marrying another Orthodox is hardly proof against marital discord, or even a spouse lapsing from Orthodoxy.
 

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Luke said:
Sometimes circumstances change.  My wife and I started out Protestant.  Eventually I became Orthodox while she became Catholic.  Instead of getting up in the mornings and shouting anathemas at each other, we learned where each one is coming from.  We are doing fine because the Lord is in our marriage.
Happy to hear this. Glory to God.
 

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If you are in a serious relationship I don't see the difficulty in converting them to Orthodoxy. Granted if you take your faith seriously and are upfront about it when dating, not sure how it can become a problem later on. I have sympathy for couples who are married and later stumble into Orthodoxy. It seems women get treated very harshly from their spouses when they want to convert.

As for me I'll probably end up marrying an atheist. I'll let you know how it goes.
 

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RobS said:
If you are in a serious relationship I don't see the difficulty in converting them to Orthodoxy. Granted if you take your faith seriously and are upfront about it when dating, not sure how it can become a problem later on.
This reads as very naive.

I have sympathy for couples who are married and later stumble into Orthodoxy. It seems women get treated very harshly from their spouses when they want to convert.
Really? How and why? How would this even work in a modern culture?

As for me I'll probably end up marrying an atheist. I'll let you know how it goes.
Depending on your municipality, you may be required to buy a sheath for that edge.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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Well, I have a minimalist and a maximalist level of expectations thus far. We'll see what I can do.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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LizaSymonenko said:
Don't do it.

I have a family member who married an RC...and after the initial "glow" wore off (actually even before that)...it was difficult.

If you plan on having children, and you hope to raise them Orthodox....then marry an Orthodox individual.

It is not that a mixed marriage is guaranteed to fail....but, why make your life more difficult than necessary?
Why, indeed? Doesn't everybody do that in their own way? I'm just going to try trusting in God's wisdom, because my finite human brain cannot sort this sort of stuff out on it's own.

I think it will be fine.

I'm the only Orthodox I've met, aside from one other woman. There were some apostates (presumably,) but nobody else. So, as far as "dating" is defined for me, this is basically it. Until I move back to the cities or go overseas.

That said, I haven't really had any time to find girls. I've been either one step ahead, or one step behind them. So I've not had any good chances. Or, I should say, just a couple that I screwed up. Whoops.
 

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Porter ODoran said:
This reads as very naive.
I don't see how. What you quoted has nothing to do with the OP, I was suggesting a lot of marital pitfalls can be avoided right from the beginning with dating and all that. If you are dating seriously that you hope leads to marriage, and if your faith is important to you, then that should already be on the table from the start. Like I said my comment had nothing to do with those already married.

I am thankful for those who share their experiences, because I can learn from their mistakes. Look at married couples that fight and argue cause of religious differences. Worse is the division it causes in the family with children involved. Lord have mercy.

Liza is exactly right, why make your life more difficult than necessary?

In reality very few people should be getting married anyway.

Really? How and why? How would this even work in a modern culture?
What?

Depending on your municipality, you may be required to buy a sheath for that edge.
LOL you have a way with words Porter...I was sort of half joking.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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Porter ODoran said:
A word of advice -- marrying another Orthodox is hardly proof against marital discord, or even a spouse lapsing from Orthodoxy.
Yeah. I don't see "Orthodoxy" as some sort of insurance against marital security. That's just silly. People are people, we'll make mistakes no matter what. It's how you deal with problems that is important, not the problems themselves. They'll never go away.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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RobS said:
Porter ODoran said:
This reads as very naive.
I don't see how. What you quoted has nothing to do with the OP, I was suggesting a lot of marital pitfalls can be avoided right from the beginning with dating and all that. If you are dating seriously that you hope leads to marriage, and if your faith is important to you, then that should already be on the table from the start. Like I said my comment had nothing to do with those already married.

I am thankful for those who share their experiences, because I can learn from their mistakes. Look at married couples that fight and argue cause of religious differences. Worse is the division it causes in the family with children involved. Lord have mercy.

Liza is exactly right, why make your life more difficult than necessary?

In reality very few people should be getting married anyway.

Really? How and why? How would this even work in a modern culture?
What?

Depending on your municipality, you may be required to buy a sheath for that edge.
LOL you have a way with words Porter...I was sort of half joking.
I've considered monasticism recently. I'm open to it. But I still want to try my hand at having a family. Call me crazy.
 

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
Porter ODoran said:
A word of advice -- marrying another Orthodox is hardly proof against marital discord, or even a spouse lapsing from Orthodoxy.
Yeah. I don't see "Orthodoxy" as some sort of insurance against marital security. That's just silly. People are people, we'll make mistakes no matter what. It's how you deal with problems that is important, not the problems themselves. They'll never go away.
I agree that marrying another Orthodox isn't some insurance. However what problems are you referring to that never go away? I think it would be easier to deal with marital problems as they spring up if they share the same faith.
 

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
I've considered monasticism recently. I'm open to it. But I still want to try my hand at having a family. Call me crazy.
Lol

From frustration first inclination
Is to become a monk and leave the situation
But every dark tunnel has a light of hope
So don't hang yourself, with a celibate rope
 

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Dominika said:
I agree with you, but... It's very difficult to meet an Orthodox potential spouse in some countries/regions. That's my problem over the years, and of some Polish Orthodox I know. I know at least a few +35 Polish Orthodox women being singles because they can't meet an Orthodox man.
Set them up with countries where there are too many Orthodox men who can't find a wife. E.g. The US.
 

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Gorazd said:
Dominika said:
I agree with you, but... It's very difficult to meet an Orthodox potential spouse in some countries/regions. That's my problem over the years, and of some Polish Orthodox I know. I know at least a few +35 Polish Orthodox women being singles because they can't meet an Orthodox man.
Set them up with countries where there are too many Orthodox men who can't find a wife. E.g. The US.
Is Pravoslavac close to Poland? ;D

I heard the other day a guy at my parish went to some country in the Balkans to find a bride. He tried the mail-order thing too.
 

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RobS said:
xOrthodox4Christx said:
I've considered monasticism recently. I'm open to it. But I still want to try my hand at having a family. Call me crazy.
Lol

From frustration first inclination
Is to become a monk and leave the situation
But every dark tunnel has a light of hope
So don't hang yourself, with a celibate rope
Charming.
 

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RobS said:
Gorazd said:
Dominika said:
I agree with you, but... It's very difficult to meet an Orthodox potential spouse in some countries/regions. That's my problem over the years, and of some Polish Orthodox I know. I know at least a few +35 Polish Orthodox women being singles because they can't meet an Orthodox man.
Set them up with countries where there are too many Orthodox men who can't find a wife. E.g. The US.
. He tried the mail-order thing too.
Not worth it.  There's no rebate, the cost in postage is killer, and they put you on a mailing list where they keep sending a relative a month  whether you want it or not.  That's where they get you.


Tip your bartenders folks.
 

Dominika

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Gorazd said:
Dominika said:
I agree with you, but... It's very difficult to meet an Orthodox potential spouse in some countries/regions. That's my problem over the years, and of some Polish Orthodox I know. I know at least a few +35 Polish Orthodox women being singles because they can't meet an Orthodox man.
Set them up with countries where there are too many Orthodox men who can't find a wife. E.g. The US.
One of them was travelling to the US a few times (she's a professional English translator and interpreter).


RobS said:
Gorazd said:
Dominika said:
I agree with you, but... It's very difficult to meet an Orthodox potential spouse in some countries/regions. That's my problem over the years, and of some Polish Orthodox I know. I know at least a few +35 Polish Orthodox women being singles because they can't meet an Orthodox man.
Set them up with countries where there are too many Orthodox men who can't find a wife. E.g. The US.
Is Pravoslavac close to Poland? ;D

I heard the other day a guy at my parish went to some country in the Balkans to find a bride. He tried the mail-order thing too.
Haha, he's closer than the USA :p
Wow! That's what we call "desperation" ;)
 

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Dominika said:
Haha, he's closer than the USA :p
Wow! That's what we call "desperation" ;)
Which puts a point to what's assumed throughout this thread: Are any of us really graced with a choice between potential spouses? For that matter, do any of us have fruitful relationships with eligible members of the opposite sex? Or has all this been pure overweening speculation, in the good old Netodox tradition?
 

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Gorazd said:
Dominika said:
I agree with you, but... It's very difficult to meet an Orthodox potential spouse in some countries/regions. That's my problem over the years, and of some Polish Orthodox I know. I know at least a few +35 Polish Orthodox women being singles because they can't meet an Orthodox man.
Set them up with countries where there are too many Orthodox men who can't find a wife. E.g. The US.

I hate to break it to you but there are plenty of single Orthodox women here too.....its not about -number- its about who the prospective partners believe they want
 

DeniseDenise

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Mor Ephrem said:
Porter ODoran said:
Are any of us really graced with a choice between potential spouses? For that matter, do any of us have fruitful relationships with eligible members of the opposite sex?
Let no one doubt me.

::) ::) ::) ::) ::)
 

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Is there no popular Orthodox online dating portal? I think other religions|faiths have them. Telling from the above, seems like someone should start such a page in case it doesn't yet exist. Personally, I think that online dating is crap, though it seems to have worked for some
 

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Lepanto said:
Is there no popular Orthodox online dating portal? I think other religions|faiths have them. Telling from the above, seems like someone should start such a page in case it doesn't yet exist. Personally, I think that online dating is crap, though it seems to have worked for some

I have this idea...people should do it....but it totally sucks dinosaur eggs.....but do it!
 

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DeniseDenise said:
Lepanto said:
Is there no popular Orthodox online dating portal? I think other religions|faiths have them. Telling from the above, seems like someone should start such a page in case it doesn't yet exist. Personally, I think that online dating is crap, though it seems to have worked for some

I have this idea...people should do it....but it totally sucks dinosaur eggs.....but do it!
No, what I meant is that for me personally it could not have worked. I would not even have tried it let alone taken it serious. I think the web isn't an appropriate place to meet your potential spouse. But I am convinced that there are those who are wired differently where online dating could be a good option. So I wondered whether there was an Orthodox version to it.
 

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Google returns several promising looking hits for "Orthodox online dating." I don't know what the character of those sites is individually, though.
 

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How many married couples meet at the University of St. Katherine?
 
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