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Marriage and Family Acceptance (Teachings of the Orthodox Church)


My fiance is Orthodox, and I am not. I am not interested in converting, but I respect and honor his religion because I honor him. We have dated for five years and he accepts my philosphies.

The difficulty is his family; they refuse to even acknowledge me. They are immigrants who have lived in America for 50 years. They will not meet me and have never invited me into their home. I plan to let my husband raise our children in the Orthodox Church and send them to church school weekly if he wishes.

Is it not sinful to treat a fellow human this way? Is it not sinful to try to damage a marriage? Other than converting, do you have any advice?


Since I do not know you personally and I do not know that much about your situation, other than what you have shared in your e-mail, I cannot comment on specifics.

I can say that "walling" oneself off from others is indeed sinful. In some ways it constitutes emotional murder, so to speak, inasmuch as by refusing to acknowledge your presence and existence, the family is refusing to recognize the presence of God in another human being, as scripture commands us to do.

Perhaps reading the epistle read at the marriage service (Eph 5:20-33) might offer some ideas as to how you should proceed.

I might also recommend that you and your fiance speak to the priest at the Orthodox parish in which you wish to be married. It would seem that unless this situation is somehow resolved before the wedding it may become a bone of contention for years to come.

Published in January 2011.

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