Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I would like Your Grace's opinion on  the verse: "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:28). Also, what is the difference between adultery and fornication?

When looking for a future spouse, is it not  natural/normal factor to have desires for this person? My understanding of accepting someone as a spouse, is that all factors considered, feeling comfortable when contemplating the whole sexual act with them without feeling disgusted, is a sign this person is someone to consider for a spouse. 

The word woman is meant to refer to any woman whether married or unmarried. Your literal definition of the words adultery and fornication is correct but this differentiation is not the point here. Both adulterers and fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21). You need to raise your thoughts from the fleshly desires and lust for pure love.

Desire is from God and should be kept holy.When desire is drifted from its purpose, then it becomes lust. The same is true for sexual desire; it is a gift from God for the purpose of marriage and procreation.In the Christian premarital counseling the marital relationship should be discussed from the Biblical and Christian perspectives.This is very different than the advice that you get about contemplating the whole act which will defile your desire and make it lustful. "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:14-17).

Your future spouse is a gift from God; so rest assured that God will give you the right person, if you have the right heart and desire. I wish you would not listen to anyone who directs your thoughts from spiritual, pure intentions in marriage to defiled desires and lust. Once you meet a person and you are convinced that he is spiritually, intellectually and emotionally suitable for you; I assure you these factors are enough without going any further.
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