Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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How am I expected to get married if dating is wrong?

Because the term 'dating' has a negative connotation, most devout Christians prefer not to use this terminology to describe a growing chaste relationship with the potential of marriage. Joshua Harris' book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," discusses a more pure and refined way of embarking on the possibility of marriage. It is alright to get to know someone. Dating, per se, is not the answer. Most people define dating as the objective, the goal. A person like this is basically going out for fun, with minimal or no boundaries at all for the inclusion of physical intimacy. This kind of dating has no commitments, so one may have a date with one person one day, and another on a different day. 

Christians must set higher standards than that. If one wants to meet someone and perhaps develop a relationship that could lead to marriage, it is better to start in a larger group and get to know each other socially first. If you decide you like each other, then the social climate can become a little bit smaller to give you the chance to understand each other better emotionally and deeper intellectually. At this point, your Confession Father(s) should already be aware of your interests, thoughts, and feelings. When it is clear that you have developed an attraction for each other spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and socially , your Confession Father(s) will then guide you to assess the potential for a successful marriage. There is ample room for freedom to discuss and discover each other on different levels with the blessings of your spiritual father(s) and parents. This formula is the beginning of a strong and principled relationship.

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