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Marriage at an "older" age in the OC

orthonorm

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This has come up in a few conversations and some threads have brought it into mind.

This is not a "talk to your Priest" question, just a question to get folks' general sense on the issue.

At what age, if not married and not having been, should on "give up" perusing or avoiding romantic relationships?

This is a question I hear converts ask and I myself wonder. Being older than when the average American marries, but single, when is marriage off the table?

It is not a pressing question to me, but I did point out to one inquirer that converting does seriously diminish the size of the dating pool in the States. He hadn't even thought about it.

Also, I am not at all suggesting that monasticism is the other option.
 

mabsoota

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a few months ago a couple married in our church. the man was in his late 40s (and a recent convert), the lady a little younger.
:)
when i was in a protestant church years ago, a bachelor of 70 married a widow of around 60.
so no rush...
;)

as for diminishing the dating pool, not in the coptic church, we have lots of people who marry converts.
actually we have an unmarried lady of around 60 in our church right now, i can ask her for you if you like, she is lovely...
;)
 

orthonorm

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mabsoota said:
a few months ago a couple married in our church. the man was in his late 40s (and a recent convert), the lady a little younger.
:)
when i was in a protestant church years ago, a bachelor of 70 married a widow of around 60.
so no rush...
;)

as for diminishing the dating pool, not in the coptic church, we have lots of people who marry converts.
actually we have an unmarried lady of around 60 in our church right now, i can ask her for you if you like, she is lovely...
;)
I ain't looking to get married, thanks. And closer to half her age (using vanity math).  ;)
 

JamesRottnek

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I would say that if you hit 50, and have not married, and have managed to refrain from sexual exploits, you probably ought to go ahead and stay unmarried (if, on the other hand, you have been living a life of sin, sexually, it is probably best for you to find a wife).  However, I think the question is really one for the individual to answer, with advice from their priest, and other people whose opinions are important to them (and who are Orthodox).
 

ialmisry

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orthonorm said:
This has come up in a few conversations and some threads have brought it into mind.

This is not a "talk to your Priest" question, just a question to get folks' general sense on the issue.

At what age, if not married and not having been, should on "give up" perusing or avoiding romantic relationships?

This is a question I hear converts ask and I myself wonder. Being older than when the average American marries, but single, when is marriage off the table?

It is not a pressing question to me, but I did point out to one inquirer that converting does seriously diminish the size of the dating pool in the States. He hadn't even thought about it.

Also, I am not at all suggesting that monasticism is the other option.
Never give up.  There is no reason give up on marriage if you find the right person when you have gotten on in years.
 

joasia

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If God intends us to get married, then it will happen.  This isn't an ambiguous comment.  I have eye-witness proof.  My best friend is in her mid-40's and got married last August.  Her husband is 40.  She is Greek and this culture usually writes off a woman by 35 at the latest.  The way she met her husband is definitely by the hand of God.  They are perfect for each other.  They knew each other for only a year and she certainly never expected this to happen (and was resolved never to get married).  But, he did pray for it for many years.  I won't go into details, but I will say that it showned me that any age is possible.  Of course, at an older age, the motive is based on having the same faith and being mature enough to understand that the main goal of being married is to worship God together in attaining salvation.  We can be logical and say that at mid-40, children is not something that may be possible, but we can't write off anything since God is the One Who decides. Just the same, attaining salvation is the main focus.
 

chris

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Sometimes the 'fullness of time' for both members of the couple doesn't happen until they are quite mature. If both members of the couple feel called to be married to each other, then I think it is a great thing.

Two parishioners in a parish in MS did not marry until he was close to 70 and she was not too far behind him. Still, they married because they felt that is what was best for them and their salvation...to be a couple together, helping to lift up the other member in imitation of Christ. Being alone is difficult, especially as a person ages.

And, those two are very cute together!  :D
 

Maria

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FrChris said:
Sometimes the 'fullness of time' for both members of the couple doesn't happen until they are quite mature. If both members of the couple feel called to be married to each other, then I think it is a great thing.

Two parishioners in a parish in MS did not marry until he was close to 70 and she was not too far behind him. Still, they married because they felt that is what was best for them and their salvation...to be a couple together, helping to lift up the other member in imitation of Christ. Being alone is difficult, especially as a person ages.

And, those two are very cute together!  :D
So true.

I knew an older man (Egyptian Copt) who married a much younger woman (a Muslim convert to Orthodoxy). They are very happy together.
 

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My grandfather married (for a second time) in his 60s.
 

katherineofdixie

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orthonorm said:
At what age, if not married and not having been, should on "give up" perusing or avoiding romantic relationships?
Never! Our neighbor, a never-married lady of 65, married a nice widower in his 70's several years ago. She said that if she had known being married was this much fun, she would have done it sooner!
 
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I recently read of a couple where the Bride was 90 and the groom was 100. (And he was in fit enough shape to dance, and dance quite well, at their wedding!)

Never give up.

I work with a woman who was 38 when she got married, when she thought she would never get married. She's now 44 and pregnant, after having given up on ever having children.

We don't know what God has in store for us.

Also, I don't understand why becoming Orthodox shrinks the dating pool.  ???

 

Maria

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HandmaidenofGod said:
I recently read of a couple where the Bride was 90 and the groom was 100. (And he was in fit enough shape to dance, and dance quite well, at their wedding!)

Never give up.

I work with a woman who was 38 when she got married, when she thought she would never get married. She's now 44 and pregnant, after having given up on ever having children.

We don't know what God has in store for us.

Also, I don't understand why becoming Orthodox shrinks the dating pool.  ???
I agree.

If one falls in love and marries a non-Orthodox, one can always be a good example so the non-Orthodox spouse might convert through the grace of God.

Funny. My priest told me that I would probably meet a Protestant (since there are more of them nationwide), and then he would convert. That is what happened. My husband-to-be was baptized one month before our marriage.
 

mabsoota

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glad it worked for you, but it's not something i would recommend.
if it doesn't work out, there can be all sorts of issues, from fasting (eating together 2 different meals) to deeper things. if you get married then one of you becomes orthodox you just have to deal with it, but i would suggest lots of caution before giving your heart to someone whose priorities are so different to yours.
 

orthonorm

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HandmaidenofGod said:
Also, I don't understand why becoming Orthodox shrinks the dating pool.  ???
Really? I am in the States btw. If I were to simply restrict myself to dating people who didn't think Christianity was stupid, it would shrink the dating pool.

It's simple math:

Non-Orthodox women + Orthodox women > Orthodox women

I do have the charm and dashing handsomeness to certainly up the chances of creating a change of heart in a woman and get her to convert. But let's not kid ourselves.

And most of the mopes I know who are single and thinking of going Orthodox ain't got none of the above. They don't do well playing on an open field.

Not an issue for me, as I don't care to be in or not in a relationship, but it is a reservation I hear from fellows.

And none of us have the cash to import one, like more than few guys I know have done.

Thanks everyone for the posts. Was curious about the consensus here.



 

ialmisry

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orthonorm said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
Also, I don't understand why becoming Orthodox shrinks the dating pool.  ???
Really? I am in the States btw. If I were to simply restrict myself to dating people who didn't think Christianity was stupid, it would shrink the dating pool.

It's simple math:

Non-Orthodox women + Orthodox women > Orthodox women

I do have the charm and dashing handsomeness to certainly up the chances of creating a change of heart in a woman and get her to convert. But let's not kid ourselves.

And most of the mopes I know who are single and thinking of going Orthodox ain't got none of the above. They don't do well playing on an open field.

Not an issue for me, as I don't care to be in or not in a relationship, but it is a reservation I hear from fellows.

And none of us have the cash to import one, like more than few guys I know have done.

Thanks everyone for the posts. Was curious about the consensus here.
I know a number who married non-Orthodox.  All but one the wife converted eventually, and the one where they did not, their two oldest children were just baptised Orthodox (she comes from a tradition of "believer's baptism").
 

orthonorm

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ialmisry said:
The Spirit is descended!
orthonorm said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
Also, I don't understand why becoming Orthodox shrinks the dating pool.  ???
Really? I am in the States btw. If I were to simply restrict myself to dating people who didn't think Christianity was stupid, it would shrink the dating pool.

It's simple math:

Non-Orthodox women + Orthodox women > Orthodox women

I do have the charm and dashing handsomeness to certainly up the chances of creating a change of heart in a woman and get her to convert. But let's not kid ourselves.

And most of the mopes I know who are single and thinking of going Orthodox ain't got none of the above. They don't do well playing on an open field.

Not an issue for me, as I don't care to be in or not in a relationship, but it is a reservation I hear from fellows.

And none of us have the cash to import one, like more than few guys I know have done.

Thanks everyone for the posts. Was curious about the consensus here.
I know a number who married non-Orthodox.  All but one the wife converted eventually, and the one where they did not, their two oldest children were just baptised Orthodox (she comes from a tradition of "believer's baptism").
Interesting, I guess I am used to my little experience I have where marrying a non-Orthodox is pretty much verboten.
 

EVOO

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I'm one of those "older" aged Orthodox who is getting married next month to a non-Orthodox.  We have been together since before my chrismation, so dating pool shrinkage wasn't part of my experience.  I'm happy to say that he was very supportive of my conversion, and is very happy to be married in the Church. 

I think it's a matter of time before he becomes Orthodox.  :)
 
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orthonorm said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
Also, I don't understand why becoming Orthodox shrinks the dating pool.  ???
Really? I am in the States btw. If I were to simply restrict myself to dating people who didn't think Christianity was stupid, it would shrink the dating pool.

It's simple math:

Non-Orthodox women + Orthodox women > Orthodox women

I do have the charm and dashing handsomeness to certainly up the chances of creating a change of heart in a woman and get her to convert. But let's not kid ourselves.

And most of the mopes I know who are single and thinking of going Orthodox ain't got none of the above. They don't do well playing on an open field.

Not an issue for me, as I don't care to be in or not in a relationship, but it is a reservation I hear from fellows.

And none of us have the cash to import one, like more than few guys I know have done.

Thanks everyone for the posts. Was curious about the consensus here.
I am also in the States. I am very much aware that Orthodox Americans only make up 2-4% of the population. (This is not excluding those who are "Orthodox" in name only, versus those who actually take the faith seriously.)

I also grew up in a parish where the majority of our "converts" are made up of folks who married an Orthodox person, and at some point in the relationship (before or after nuptials) converted.

Perhaps it's because I'm in a relationship where my SO is not Orthodox that I have a "let go, and let God" attitude. I ask for the prayers of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, bring him to Liturgy with me, try to answer whatever questions he may have, and leave the rest up to the Lord.

I tried for many years to date exclusively Orthodox and that didn't work. I even went to the extent of creating an Orthodox Singles group and that didn't work.

The circumstances in which I met my SO are so completely random, that I have to believe some Divine intervention is at play here.

Pray about it, stay active in different social circles, and let God do the rest. :)
 

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orthonorm, u only need one wife.
this is 0.0001% of the population.
;)
 

PeterTheAleut

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This is an issue I often face since I will be turning 40 this fall--God willing--and have never been married; that, and I thought at first that joining the Orthodox Church had greatly shrunk my dating pool. I decided that there are a number of qualities I seek in a wife. Some of them are more general, such as our common Christian (not necessarily Orthodox) spirituality, her strong moral character, and her authenticity, and some of them more specific to how well we match up together, such as age, intelligence, education, personality, physical attractiveness, etc. I realize that I will most likely find non-Orthodox women who are a much better match for me, based on all these other criteria, than most Orthodox women, but who would either join the Church through their connection with me or at least be open enough to accepting my love for the Church that faith differences won't place much tension on a relationship. Should I, in the ever elusive, needle-in-a-haystack search for a woman who's already Orthodox, dismiss the possibility of a fulfilling relationship with a woman who might become Orthodox in the future? I've decided that the answer is a very firm "NO!"
 

orthonorm

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mabsoota said:
orthonorm, u only need one wife.
this is 0.0001% of the population.
;)
Once more with feeling! I ain't looking to get married. ;)

I'm enjoying taking a break from a long run of serial monogamy (mosta time).
 

orthonorm

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PeterTheAleut said:
This is an issue I often face since I will be turning 40 this fall--God willing--and have never been married; that, and I thought at first that joining the Orthodox Church had greatly shrunk my dating pool. I decided that there are a number of qualities I seek in a wife. Some of them are more general, such as our common Christian (not necessarily Orthodox) spirituality, her strong moral character, and her authenticity, and some of them more specific to how well we match up together, such as age, intelligence, education, personality, physical attractiveness, etc. I realize that I will most likely find non-Orthodox women who are a much better match for me than most Orthodox women based on all these other criteria, but who would either join the Church through their connection with me or at least be open enough to accepting my love for the Church that faith differences won't place much tension on a relationship. Should I, in the ever elusive, needle-in-a-haystack search for a woman who's already Orthodox, dismiss the possibility of a fulfilling relationship with a woman who might become Orthodox in the future? I've decided that the answer is a very firm "NO!"
Thanks for sharing Peter. I've been rebuffing women for a while. I figure I could simply things for a year or so while I get this inquiry and catechumenate thing worked out. It was advice given to me by someone I highly respect.

The only bump along the way was my last ex who I had a wonderful relationship with that ended over job relocation decided after months that she was willing to take a plunge and go long distance till my acceptance into the Church while she would be inquiring where she lived. She is an RC.

Long story short, I said no.
 

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orthonorm said:
Thanks for sharing Peter. I've been rebuffing women for a while. I figure I could simply things for a year or so while I get this inquiry and catechumenate thing worked out. It was advice given to me by someone I highly respect.
Don't tell women that or else they will come a flockin'! Nothing is more attractive than self-restraint.

My now-husband, when we first met, told me that he wasn't going to date anyone for a year because he wanted to make sure that he wasn't going to jump into a rebound relationship after his last serious girlfriend dumped him. It made me fall in love with him even faster!
 

orthonorm

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IsmiLiora said:
orthonorm said:
Thanks for sharing Peter. I've been rebuffing women for a while. I figure I could simply things for a year or so while I get this inquiry and catechumenate thing worked out. It was advice given to me by someone I highly respect.
Don't tell women that or else they will come a flockin'! Nothing is more attractive than self-restraint.

My now-husband, when we first met, told me that he wasn't going to date anyone for a year because he wanted to make sure that he wasn't going to jump into a rebound relationship after his last serious girlfriend dumped him. It made me fall in love with him even faster!
I've always been restrained, but at the end of relationships though . . .

 
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My two favorite people, both Orthodox, found each other in later middle age, both having survived absolutely terrible first marriages. So, it's never too late.

I'm in my early 40s and never married. I'd love to be married, but I'm not desperate. I'm active in church, and have a lot of other stuff going on. The last two guys were disasters. And both were Orthodox!

But I'm fairly content until the Lord sends someone special my way. He might not be Orthodox, but anyone who objects to my church involvement is a goner. It's a non-negotiable.

But the only other alternative is not monasticism, which an elderly lady of my acquaintance thinks is my only option.
 

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Can you explain what you mean? If married people can't love their neighbors as themselves, marriage would never work, since spouses are the closest neighbors to each other.

ozgeorge said:
Marriage is for people who can't handle solitude and can't love their neighbour as themselves.
 

ozgeorge

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Tony said:
Can you explain what you mean? If married people can't love their neighbors as themselves, marriage would never work, since spouses are the closest neighbors to each other.

ozgeorge said:
Marriage is for people who can't handle solitude and can't love their neighbour as themselves.
Correct. "Spouses are the closest neighbours to each other". That means you are obliged love them more than any other neighbour, and the answer to the question "Who is my neighbour?" becomes "my spouse" for a married person. Those who are unmarried are free to love all their neighbours equally as themselves.
 

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I think it all depends on the couple. I met my girlfriend at 47 when she was 44. Her family is Orthodox, so she was baptized as an infant. I came from a Protestant background, but six months after we met, we started attending Liturgy each week. Six months later, I was chrismated. We plan to marry and then live together, but we feel there is no rush even while we met later in life. As far as marrying a Non-Orthodox, it has worked for many couples. I know a couple where the husband attended regularly, his kids Orthodox were raised Orthodox, but he was not baptized until his children were grown with their own children.
 

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St.Basil in his first letter on the Canons states that if a 60 year old widow takes a husband, she should not be allowed to partake of the Eucharist, until "she rejects here impure lust". (1)
(1) [...] tant qu'elle n'aura pas renonce a sa passion impure". Basile de Cesaree, Premiere Lettre .. , 126 can.24
 

ialmisry

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synLeszka said:
St.Basil in his first letter on the Canons states that if a 60 year old widow takes a husband, she should not be allowed to partake of the Eucharist, until "she rejects here impure lust". (1)
(1) [...] tant qu'elle n'aura pas renonce a sa passion impure". Basile de Cesaree, Premiere Lettre .. , 126 can.24
St. Basil unfortunately is exhibit A of why monks shouldn't mendle in marital matters. He also commanded that faithful spouses must repubiate their adulterous spouse. I'd love to see St. Basil's eisogesis on the Book of Hosea.

Fortunately, for instance, other celibates, e.g. St. John Chrysostom, had other ideas more in line with the Gospel.
 
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