Happy 4th of July weekend!
Orthodoxy, marriage, and the State [Second Terrace]
On finding others more or less attractive with time [NY Times]
Happy brides vs. blue brides [Refinery29]
What to Expect from the First Year of Marriage [Verily]
We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.
Dating and engagement are interesting periods. It’s so fun to move together from intrigued by each other to twitterpated to loving, at home together, and a good team. But it’s an in-between time, it’s temporary. It’s a time with the unique quality of becoming-close while needing certain distance. And it is really hard to keep our thoughts and actions chaste.
That’s worth repeating: it’s really hard. It’s not just you. We’re not broken or wrong, we’re designed to yearn to be close to someone else. That’s a healthy thing! It leads us closer to one another.
People are wired differently, so we all have different things we yearn for most and different boundaries that work for us. But no matter where we are in life—single, dating, married, widowed, monastic, celibate—we have to strive for chastity. And like all virtues, it is a struggle.
Specifically for the dating/engaged days, here are a few things that help.
*Yes, obviously some choices are pretty objectively better for your spiritual life, but that’s not what’s most important in this conversation. For some, it’s easy to be pretty close without going nuts. For others, holding hands leads to daydreaming leads to the torture of wanting what you can’t have. Ask Your Priest (or matushka) if you need help figuring out what boundaries are healthiest for you right now.
It’s rarely helpful to say “X and Y are always wrong, A and B are always right.” We’re all different, and our needs shift over time. Look at the effect your actions have on your spiritual life and your sanity. If a kiss on the cheek makes you daydream so much you stop saying your prayers, then re-evaluate. If holding hands gets you hot and bothered while you’re fertile, do things differently this week (and mark your calendar for next month). Doing X or Y may work just fine in a week or a couple months, but if it doesn’t work right now, don’t shame yourself. Just set your boundaries so they work for you.