"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17

Coptic Orthodox Marriage Series - Talk 2 (cont.)

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"Choosing a Spouse Lecture Question and Answers"

Coptic Orthodox Marriage Series - Talk 2 (cont.) Transcription

 First question:

How do we know that he/she married the right person? Every couple get into arguments, problems, disagreements, hard times, etc... is this a sign that for that (that he/she married the wrong person), or not?



I have said it, and I can see that it was written even before I said that statement: Every couple that is centered around Christ; any conflict arguments, will only lead to more communication, because Christ will sit with them. They will respect His presence. He is sitting with them during the communication, or the argument. In any communication, just try to view yourself, as if you are outside a room where there is a glass; you are seeing two people communicating to one another, arguing, fighting. Do you see the escalation? You can't hear any word, but you do see them. Observe yourself; your movements, your features, your face, and calm down. Why? Respect and honor His presence. Both of you! If you are Christ centered, any conflict will lead to more, and better understanding and communication. If you are outside the area of His presence, or if you are ignoring His presence...  Christ is not present only during prayer. Christ is in the kitchen, in the bathroom, while you're sitting watching TV, or in front of your computer Christ is with you, inside you and around you everywhere.

So, for that question; Arguments and conflicts are not a sign of a wrong marriage, unless Christ is not the center.



Assuming that the person has had a sexually impure past.  How should he/she respond when asked about this past by a potential spouse, or an adolescent child.



I get that question from so many, and often. It is a commonly asked question. If you have repented, and you are striving to live a really pure life, you can answer openly; I do not want to talk about the past. I am living with Christ, and any remembrance of the past life is hurting my spirituality. Do not lie, but at the same time, do not open yourself to (...) because he or she will remember all the details. There is no need to go into the past, unless if you're into pornography, and you are still taking with you pornography into your marriage. It is better to be cleansed before getting into marriage.

The last session tonight, and the last issue that I am going to discuss: 

A plan how to get cleansed if you are involved into something sexually such as pornography. A plan to heal sexual addiction. That is not now though.

As for the answer; There is no need to go through it, unless if you have a child, unless if  it is going to influence your future marital life, for example if you have an STD; you have to mention it. If you have children, you have to mention it. But if it is over, and finished, and you are living a pure life, and nothing could affect your future marital life, no need to mention it.



Why should I let someone, such as the father of confession, take decisions for me? Is it my life, or his?



I said four keys and you have seven or eight criteria. He is a spiritual guide, the one who sent that question, probably he/she doesn't know what is meant by God who is in my father of confession. If you view the Father of confession as a man, please, by all means, leave the man! Please, learn what is meant by confession! Spiritual guidance means, you want to hear the voice of God through the father of confession. If you do not respect his spirituality, if you do not respect his advice, please leave him, or change him. If you want to be on your own, good for you! But those fathers of confession are keys to help you. You are the one who have made the decision! You are the one who is responsible for your decision, and as a proof, you are the one who will sign in the church, in front of all the attendance that "I am agreeing, and accepting to be the spouse of...". You will sign there in front of everybody! It will be in front of every single body. Til that moment, you can quit, and say no! So, all those factors help you, including the father of confession. If you are a man of God, and you have a relationship with your father of confession, and you know that although whatever he is telling you  doesn't make sense of you, still it is God telling you that, and you respect it, then he will be a good factor in making the decision. If you do not respect his opinion, good for you. He is only one of the factors. There are other factors, other criteria.



Why do we have to get parental approval, when some parents are trouble makers, and do not want to let go of children?



I've already answered that question. If one of the parents or both of them are not accepting for any reasons, they are sick, pathologically attached to their own daughter, or their own son, I said, let the father of confession, or somebody who is older, will discuss with them. If you want to take the decision against the two of the blessing of normal parents, because they are trouble-makers, psychotic parents, depressed parents, and still you need to (...) but if you take the decision against their blessing, you will face the consequences, or at least, if there is any consequences, you should be ready to face them. Because why, they still are your parents in-law to you. They are the parents of your spouse! They are still your parents after marriage! So, are they trouble-makers? Well, they will be making trouble in your marital life! It is better to be on the good side of those parents. I have seen cases (where they) postponed, and they (finally) accepted. If you give it more time, more convincing, more prayer, more liturgies, more offerings in your name, it will happen.

However, if the two insist, no, not that person, there must be something behind their insistence. They cannot be 100% against you, when you are their own son or daughter! Why would they want you to stay with them forever? Do let your father of confession speak with them. If those parents are pathologically attached to you, and they will (...) not let you go, but in most cases, in over 90% of the cases, they are healthy, mentally but in their experiences, they fear something; they have seen some signs. If you rebel against your parents, most probably, you will rebel against your future spouse. If you are living (...) that question; if anybody is living a life of rebellion, against his or her own family, most probably, they are going to rebel against the future family. This is life! It is a character! If you are submissive and obedient, you could get along good with your mom, your dad, your brothers and sister, most probably, you have the ability and the skills to get along with anybody. Be trained with a difficult troublemakers in your family, you must find much worse than them in your future life of married. It is a chance to get skilled in dealing with those personalities, and God bless...

Are there any other questions?



Too many married spouses do not confess regularly anymore. How do we encourage them? How important is it?



I remember yesterday talking about the doctor of a relationship. We need a mentor. For our marriage and our spiritual life. The mystery of confession is a mystery of the church. Spiritual guidance is different than confession. Confession is when you confess sins only, and the Abuna is silent, he doesn't say any word. He keeps the cross in his heart, and closes his eyes, and prays for you, until you finish delivering your sins. Speaking your sins, and then he will stretch his hands with the cross on your head, absorption,  the Holy Spirit is using his hands, to give you absorption. This is confession. If he opens his mouth to say even one word, then he is getting into guidance.

The fathers of confession are trained not to say any word during the confession of sins. "But, Abun, what to do", then it is not confession any more. This is spiritual guidance. After he finishes absorption, he can pray with you, he can sit with you as a spiritual guidance, and there is a big difference. In the Coptic church, you can confess to a father of confession who doesn't understand one single word of what you are saying, because God inside Him understands, but then you should not take him as spiritual guide. Is the difference clear now?

Someone who speaks Russian, and becomes a Coptic Orthodox, and he doesn't understand English or Arabic, he still can confess with him, and the confession as a mystery is OK, but not the spiritual guidance.

Yes another question?



What do you do when you feel that your spouse is better than you?



What do you do when you feel that your spouse is better than you? Well, Praise The Lord!!!

Yes, there is no better way to say it! If my spouse is better than me... I want him/her to be so! I want my son to do better than me! Unless if I have an inferiority complex and depressed, and have less self-esteem, and this is bothering me. But if you are normal, you should be rejoicing, and thanking God for giving you somebody better than you, to complement you! Sometimes, the woman, or the man is better! God (has) complementing me with someone who has characters that I am missing! I am saying, exclude low self-esteem, inferiority complex, because it is mistreating, but anyone who is normal, will feel proud! He will brag, about his or her spouse who is good, better than him/her (Arabic). Blessed is he she who's spouse is better than them! If you feel that you are less, and this is not good for you (my brother), you need therapy!

One more question?



What is one spouse likes to pray together, and the other prefers to pray alone?



Well, they may pray separately, but ever one and then, even once a week, they should pray together, even "Our Father". By the way, a prescription we always give for spiritual intimacy, for those who are far away; we tell them, everyday, for one month, after you finish your individual prayer, stand, holding hands, and say together, a short prayer of "Our Father who Is in heaven".

Just holding hands, in front of God, showing Him your intention for solidarity and intimacy, He could bless your marriage. But, long prayers "Agbea" prayers, if you feel that it is for you to pray alone, fine! But now and then, get the children and both of you, and pray together. Around the food every day, you pray together! That, if you still have that habit...



Transcribed by jeanounou (April 2017)