I have been getting to know a friend who has been a deacon for as long as I know him. We know each other through mutual church friends from our community. He wanted to date and get married and it was difficult for me to say yes to marriage even though he asked in a respectful way because we have mainly gotten to know each other over phone calls because we live in different cities and I couldn't trust that I knew him or myself enough to make such a big and important commitment. long story short - I agreed to getting to know him by meeting when i visited his city for church and community events. All went well until I started to realise that there are tribal differences between our families backgrounds and that they matter to his community and him. I grew up not believing in seeing people based on tribes etc and so I didn't see it as an issue. He tried not to it seems, but he would jokingly mention that his family might not accept us to be. He also moved cities for work and was suddenly changing- going out to parties and drinking until late. He would call and tell me about it at the start but it then started to become something he would mention only if mutual friends happened to be at the party.
So I spoke to Abuna and told him that I am worried about being with someone who says he is a deacon but is going out and forgetting he is representing the church .. Abuna told me no one is perfect and so don't judge him but try and work things out..I agreed and slowly discussed what was happening.. He one day told me that he is having issues with his faith. He knows he is giving the church a bad name by going out but can't help it. Everyone goes out for work drinks after work and I think he started to see it as normal.
He also started changing in the way he spoke and acted around me. Whenever we met, once every few months in the one year we were together, he would try to tempt me to be physical. Thanks to God, I have been able to fight the temptations and remind him that we can't sin and we both know why.
Being human, I started to want to be around him regardless but deep down I always wanted and still do want us to go about a relationship the right way and soon marry the way God commands us to.
I am not sure that that is possible now because he all of the sudden told me that he doesn't feel that there is chemistry between us and wanted to end the relationship. I wanted to reply that I don't think there is chemistry without Christ and maybe that's what's missing but I wasn't sure how true that is.
Sadly, I do still love him and pray for him and about him. I am not sure if I am doing the right thing by giving up on us because he suddenly thinks there's no chemistry .. I spoke to Abuna and he told me to keep my options open and pray pray pray. I am praying but for him and our relationship mostly. Am I wrong in wanting him back even though he ended it for what sounds like a selfish reason ..? (I could be wrong here). Should I give up and try to move on? Is it wrong of me for wanting to message him and ask to at least speak as friends like we used ? I am struggling to see anyone else as a potential partner at this moment..
Let me know your thoughts and remember me in your prayers.
The next is to let it go and move on. I understand the whole, "tribal" thing because my father was Sicilian and my mother was from southeast Italy. My mother still regards my father's family as, "my" family because they are not fully Italian because of the various cultures who conquered Sicily over the centuries. More than likely, I have some Arab, Spanish or French mixed in there because of my father's ancestors.
If you are that focused on your spiritual and physical purity, it appears you may be in more of a position to help him rather than develop a relationship that would lead to marriage.
It truly depends on what you see in him. I was a heavy drinker, didn't attend church for 14 years and didn't believe fully in Christ when I started dating my wife. Now, I am in seminary for the New York and New England Diocese, (Although my church is in Ohio it is open to anybody), an extremely involved Deacon, Sunday School teacher and have such a strong relationship with my Abouna, I regard him as more of my father than my biological father who passed a number of years ago.
If you told my wife's family when we first met (They objected to me marrying my wife because they thought I wouldn't take our church seriously) that the, "American" guy would one day be explaining Liturgical structure, how to read Coptic, the history of the church and the importance of communion to the Egyptian man her sister married, they would have thought you were nuts!
If I were you, I would back off some, get him with some people who could help him, and hopefully that ridiculous tribal and family stuff you guys do will pass as he gets more mature.
Your children would probably not marry Egyptians, so within 25 or 30 years, that mindset would be like Italy in the 19th century to me: old and out-of-date.
The most important thing in marriage is making it Christ-centered and involving the church in your daily lives.
Good luck and please pray for me. If you need any more help, of even want me to talk with him, I am always available.
I would love to help him but I am not sure how though because we live in different cities, apart from praying for him the best way I can.
You are right. I think I will try my best and back off and wait and see.
I am planning on moving cities to either the city he used to work at or his city for further study next year and I pray that I get over my fears by then, and if it is meant to be that we find our way back to God and each other.
Thank you again for you reply.
Please remember me in your prayer. I will remember you in mine.
Please remember me in your prayers.
There are three girls, 11-14 and a boy who is 10.
My wife asked me Sunday, "Why do you talk to the girls so openly about everything? They probably think you're crazy because you try to explain everything to them."
I responded, "Women are smarter than men. I told the boys about Councils, the Apostles, Saints, Deacon stuff and they can't remember their names the next week. The girls actually pay attention."
It looks like I am still right about that. Thanks to both of you. Please pray for me and my family.