3 year relationship

I’ve been dating someone semi-behind my parents backs for the last 3 years. My parents met him about 3 months into us dating but they do not like him because he doesn’t have a bachelors degree and I do. They are embarrassed of his job although he works high hours and makes a good living. He is not Egyptian and I am.

I’m not sure what to do at this point because him and I are at a crossroads. I don’t want to disappoint my parents but I love him and ideally I’d like to marry him.

Has anyone been in a similar situation that can help me navigate this?


  • Is he Coptic Orthodox or will he need to convert?
  • I do not like Mina's advice here. It is dangerous. No one should convert or change religions for the sake of marriage. I hate this way. You are marrying a human being with a mind, not a cow. 

    Is he Christian, does he love the Lord? I need to know more about this gentleman. Your parents should not care about these silly things like does he have a degree, or not. Does he work, and does he have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Then just as importantly, does he respect you? Does he value you?

    These are the main things you and your parents should be worried about. 

    What is his religion? What do you love about him?

  • I didn't advice anything...i am asking about the state of the guy....

    I agree with you to the first part.

    But the second part is all questions too personal that i would say take it to PM. 
  • OK, but I just want to say that as a Christian, I would advise you to bring everything into the light. Don't do anything in the dark, and no matter how hard it is, no matter how much you feel your parents won't like what you are doing, or will not approve of the person you like, it is wiser, and beneficial for you to do everything openly. Especially in a situation where you are looking at marrying the other person. 

    What is hidden now, won't be hidden in the future. The only difference is that the truth comes out sooner when it is invited into the light.
  • He has not converted. He grew up Lutheran and went to private school his whole life. He has a lot of knowledge about the Bible. I wouldn’t call him religious but I’d say he is a spiritual person. He does pray but does not typically go to church. He has wanted to come to church with me numerous times but I haven’t been able to take him due to my parents. Yes to all the questions in regards to the way he treats me and views me.

    I really appreciate your advice. I’ve been feeling this burden for so long and I do need to bring it to light. I’ve considered taking him to church so that he can get to know a priest and the church even if my parents don’t initially approve.

    If anyone has been in a similar position I’d really love to hear steps on how you were able to overcome it. It’s extremely stressful and I’m unsure of what do to.

    Thank you,
  • Then there is also your faith. How important is your faith to you? Do you understand the differences between his church and yours?

    As for asking if anyone has been in a similar situation - what difference does that make? Every situation is unique,  but fundamental concepts such as The Truth, honesty, and respect will always remain the same. 

    Here are some truths we can definately say:

    1. Not having a university degree is not a sin, and punishing someone or looking down on them because they didnt graduate from a university is very Egyptian. It has nothing to do with Christianity, nor does it have any weight on the caliber or integrity of the person, nor his ability to work and have a career. 

    2. It is ultimately your choice on whom you marry. Not your parents. They can only advise you. 

    3. Does his religion, in any way, conflict with whatever you hold sacred?

    For example, if you married someone atheist, and knew they were atheist before marriage, but they told you that 'all that prayer stuff is nonsense, and going to church is for losers' . His opinion will definitely impact your children, if not you.

    4. Orthodoxy vs Non Orthodoxy

    Are you Coptic Orthodox because you were born into this religion, or is it a choice? Did you discover orthodoxy? What does being orthodox mean to you? 

    I think you need to ask this same question to the Lutheran gentleman you are dating about his church. He probably didnt choose his religion as much as you didn't choose yours.
  • Your situation is almost identical to mine. I didn't meet my wife's parents until we dated for 4 or 5 years because I was American. I was Catholic, not Lutheran, but in 2020 there isn't a massive Liturgical difference between the two. A Lutheran at least has a basic concept of a Liturgical calendar and structure. I would bring him to church and have him meet your Abouna in his office. Don't bring him to a Liturgy yet. It'll be a bit unusual at first, but be patient and trust in God. I could tell you a great feel-good story of how that worked for me, but I've said it on here so many times it has become self-serving. It will take him some time to get used to certain cultural aspects, which he may find awkward. Especially in how people greet, kissing Abouna's hand, men taking communion first and head covering for women. If you would like to know more, send me a private message.

    Please pray for me.
  • I think before you do what ItalianCoptic is suggesting, it is important to start with a good basis: We do not condone baptisms for the sake of marriage, nor conversions. We cannot do that.

    So, let's say a Catholic wants to marry a Coptic Orthodox Christian. Let me put it to you this way: if the Catholic person went to a Byzantine Orthodox Church, they'd read the Orthodox Creed, yet be under the jurisdiction of Rome. I refuse, I categorically refuse, to see anyone Catholic becoming orthodox as a conversion. Its not a conversion. They haven't changed faith. They've adopted Orthodoxy. 

    This is not necessarily the same for Lutherans nor protestants. You need to know and understand the differences. 

    Are there differences between Catholics and Orthodox? Sure! Some are theological, but if you understood where these issues arose, the problem ceases to exist. 

  • @Zoxsasi

    I believe bringing him to meet the Priest is up to the Priest wanting to meet and talk to him, not us typing on a screen. She should ask and consult with him.

    Always consult your Father Confessor. Don't always listen to people on online forums.
  • On the internet, you have many opinions. However, you have facts. 
    I'm just giving you PURE AND SIMPLE FACTS:

    01. If your priest is Coptic Orthodox, and a good priest, he won't accept you to bring someone Lutheran and get them baptised in becoming Coptic for the sake of marriage. Which should actually make sense. No? Someone ought to want orthodoxy because of their love for Orthodoxy, not you.

    02. To get ANYWHERE in this maze you find yourself in, you would need to pursue the questions that I posed to you. 

    That's a fact. There's no other way.

    If your priest is careless, and has zero respect for the sacrament of baptism, he will baptise anyone you want - whether they believe or not. 

    That's absurd. Surely you do not wish this.

    And yes, it indeed goes to prove the complete irresponsibility of people you can meet online. 

    It is best to seek factual information, than anecdotal information. Anecdotal information serves nothing. There's nothing you can gain from this, and it could be dangerous. It is best that people present you with facts. 

    That's what I've done.
  • What? I said TALK to her Priest. Meet him, not get baptized! I didn't even suggest going to Liturgy!

    Do you think I'm an idiot? I converted to our church and my wife's Priest made me fast before Liturgy and NOT take communion for six months. I converted a year BEFORE we were engaged.

    I work with conversions and I've suggested to not accept people who feel they, "deserve" it.

    Do you really think I believe a Coptic Priest would automatically baptize someone upon their first meeting?

    Meet him, talk to him and get to know him. Not convert him automatically. Where did you get that from my comment?

  • ItalianCoptic:

    I'm not sure if you are reading the same information as I'm reading: but she's been in this relationship for THREE years already.

    She will have to see a priest one day - sure. That has to happen. 

    Do you know her priest?? 
    Do you know how he thinks? 
    Do you know this young lady?

    We can only talk facts here.

    Whether she see's her priest now, or later, she has to go through the questions I mentioned. 

    Let's say her priest, like our Bishop, says to her: "No! I'm not happy about this situation. Find someone else who is Orthodox". That has happened before. That has happened many times. She's blown it. She has totally blown it. And a priest, if he says no, will rarely change his mind. 

    What then?

    You've blown what might me a good marriage for her. Haven't you.

  • edited March 2020
    You’re questions are good and fair but some statement are, in my opinion, belittling God. Did not God fashion our parents in our lives? Did he not ask us honour them? Was it not unconditional? There was no statement of it having to make sense. Did not God oversee us and allow us to be with the priest we are with? To be born In the church we are born? Is this all half hazardous or does he have a say? Would he allow relatively inaccurate and incorrect statements of our parents or our priests as a means to guide us in the proper direction? Why limit God to our thinking, our rationale, our social standards?

    I’m not looking to debate those statements, some may be valid in your eyes, others not. But biblically we know: God ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts.

    Dear mariakha, zoxasi’s questions are great and worth pondering and ItalianCopt is based on experience and a very orthodox advice (from one converting into the church). Go through both in a state of prayer.

    May God guide you in what truly is a difficult life long decision. You are clearly looking for godly advice since everyone wants God’s support in their greatest decision in life. Find His will in prayers, biblical readings and with a spiritual guide. God be with you !
  • You are referring to me saying fact 02. It is ultimately your choice whom you marry.

    And that to you is belittling God because he gave us parents to decide for us?

    Well, i think parental approval is good. It is important. Sure. But have you read about the rituals of an orthodox marriage?? Do you know what happens??

    Are you aware that the man is meant to place the ring on the finger of his future wife, but it is the priest who then inserts it in the finger.

    You can guess what that signifies: that we choose and God blesses it.

    The liberty , the complete liberty of our free will in accepting the other person is essential.

    Parents can only advise , but it is your choice alone. Otherwise, according to your logic, the parents ought to place the ring on the bride's finger and abouna inserts it.

    I find the information and logic given by members on this forum downright dangerous and irresponsible.

    Im just stating facts here. Pure and simple facts.

  • edited March 2020
    I would rather marry someone I believe is Gods choice for me. Not my ultimate choice for myself.

    And your meditation is nice, but you have the order wrong. It is first the priest who places the ring on the finger and you confirm by pushing in. God is the one who chooses (following the logic of your meditation). “What God HAS JOINED together let no man separate”

    You also ignore the fact that in the wedding ceremony it says to the bridegroom. “Today you are responsible for her instead of your parents.” That is to say, her parents are responsible for her till that day. This is biblical and ritually. The devil is deceitful my friend, and like twisting very basic realities based on social standards.

    We have the right to choose and present. But we listen to God through the vessels he put in place in our lives. If it is His will, He can change all their hearts. Thinking otherwise belittles, again IMO, what God can do. I do not speak this in theory but in witnessing several similar cases and seeing God either changing hearts, or all realizing this would’ve been a disaster in the end. But the essential part, is trusting that God speaks through said vessels.
  • Abouna places the ring and the groom pushes it down.
  • Guys, the fact is this: it is a sign of free will. Absolute free will.
    I'm glad you like the meditation. I appreciate that.
    I do.
    But it is important to respect the free will of the person getting married. It is not the parents of the bride or groom who push the ring on. That's the main thing. Right?

  • edited March 2020

    Here are examples of why you should back off on this conversation:

    I did not have a bachelor's degree when I dated my wife, and for the first seven years of our marriage.

    My wife's parents were against me because I wasn't Egyptian AND did not have a bachelor's degree.

    I dated my wife for SEVEN years before we got engaged, most of the time behind her family.

    I converted to Coptic Orthodoxy after SIX years of our relationship lapsed, three is not a long time.

    You used a vague example of, "many times" a Bishop did not agree to a marriage because someone was not Orthodox.

    You do realize a Bishop would only say such a thing in certain circumstances, most notably if the person is not willing to convert, not merely because they don't have a bachelor's degree? She never said it was because he was Lutheran. And certainly not after just going to meet a Priest!!

    No Priest is going to go directly to his Bishop after one conversation with someone. If they do, then they probably should go back to their job prior to ordination because they are incompetent, and are unable to follow their Pastoral duties of bringing people TO the church.

    I do not know her Priest personally, but I do know the duties and responsibilities of his job because I am blessed with a relationship with my Priest which is closer than the one I had with my own father.

    A 14 year older version of this young woman is sitting right next to me and complaining I'm on my phone too much as I write. So, yes. I know her. I married someone in her exact situation.

    FIVE years after I converted, I was ordained a Reader.

    SEVEN years later I became a Sunday School Teacher.

    TEN years later I enrolled in a Master's program in Coptic Orthodox Theology.

    She should have him meet Abouna. It pays off. People don't want vast explanations for such questions. They want concise and direct answers.

    I rarely come on here, but I felt I was qualified to respond because I was the exact same person she is dating.

    Our goal should be to make this young man see the same thing I saw, and still see in our church: Dedication, love and humility in the faith.

    It's a quality all of you have, which you take for granted. That's what we need to show him. Not throwing a bunch of self-service about how important we think we are because we're Orthodox.

    How do you expect this young woman to react when we're too busy fighting with each other to actually answer her question?

    She needs to have him meet her Priest. He will be able to see if he's the right person. My wife's Priest did when I didn't even know it.

    You have good points, but they make no sense to the actual question. You blend them into personal rants, which completely changes the structure of the question.
    Calm down.
  • "I dated my wife for SEVEN years before we got engaged, most of the time behind her family."

    That's so noble. I'm sure your priest, wife and parents are so proud of your behaviour.

    Who am I to give factual information. Sure.. go ahead. 

    As I mentioned, I'm stating facts, and the position of the Coptic Orthodox Church. That's all.

  • italiancoptic, i like your points.

    dear mariakha,

    please take this man to an orthodox church (maybe in the next town if you are avoiding your family), then let God speak to him.

    please pray for him during this holy fasting season and ask God to help you put his spiritual life first, ahead of your romantic life.

    so that, even if he does not marry you in the end, you will help him in his spiritual journey.

    he may even come to church and (later) be baptised and not marry you, and if this is ok for you, then you truly love him.

    we are all going to die one day. all God will ask you, is did you prioritise your spiritual life and his spiritual life? or did you turn away and run after temporary happiness on earth.

    don't get me wrong; i am not saying you should not or won't get married, hopefully you will, but you will have a lot of challenges in your marriage if you don't put God first.

    i have been orthodox 11 years, my husband is still protestant. your spiritual life is very important, keeping close to God makes everything else better.

  • @mabsoota
    How did you guys get married then (just out of curiosity)?
  • Sorry mabsoota, but there is something bothering me about your post

    Let's just say for argument's sake, that the guy she liked was muslim. Would you also be ok for him to take her to a mosque in the hope that allah makes the girl he likes muslim????

  • jojo hanna, i have been married for more than 20 years (yes, i am over 40!) and we were married in a little charismatic church in the north of england by someone who was not ordained.
    then i joined the orthodox church 11 years ago.
    zoxsasi, there is only one God, the Father the Almighty and Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God who gives life. so no.
    it is good for us to bring all people to the church and show them God's love.
    we should do this whether or not our romantic hopes (less important than God's love) are successful.
  • Mabsoota,
    Yes, we should bring people to the Church whether our romantic hopes fail or succeed, indeed, but this isn't a case of bringing someone to the Church for evangelisation. 

    This is literally a case of throwing your precious stones before swine to be trampled upon.

    Did anyone in this thread mention anything like: 

    "Well, if he's interested in me, I'd like to welcome him to my Church so he can see how I pray, what I believe in etc.." , or 

    "Well, if I brought him to my Church, I'd love for him to know Jesus ". 


    They want to talk to Abouna to baptise the poor fellow ASAP. 

    This is absurd. 

    What am I missing?? We do not throw baptism around like it is a freebie. 

  • maybe it is not how you see it.
    i have assumed that the people involved aim to please God and to love their neighbours.
    if we are wrong, the original poster can correct us.
  • edited March 2020
    They are seeing the person behind their parent's back. 
    Does this sound like they are they are trying to please God and love their neighbour????

    Your advice is making a mockery of the Holy Sacrement of Baptism!!!
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