Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I am not able to achieve peace of mind. I so desperately seek guidance. I have a friend from our church that I have known and cared deeply for since I was 15, almost 10 years now. I let my feelings be known to my friend with the hopes of establishing a committed relationship that would lead to marriage.

Then I found out through her,that for the past 7 years (starting at 15) she has been living a totally impure, unchaste life,drinking alcohol, and taking  many types of drugs. I believe she is sincere in her desire to repent, though her heart is stubborn and hardened and it upsets me a little to see her struggle to regain her self-discipline and live a chaste life.

The part of me that cares deeply for her wants to be in committed relationship with her; but my deepest fears are that her past may prevail in the future. Is the problem with me because I am hurt and troubled by her behavior; or is it just she who might never make me happy? Is it wrong for me to hate what she has done and not want to be involved with her because of it; or should I be able to accept all of it with no reservations and make her part of my life? What is the Christian thing to do?

There are two issues you need to address.
1. Friendship: There is nothing wrong with hating what she has done. It is right to hate sin but not the sinner. Your friend needs your support in her struggle. You encouraged her to confess, this is good as a first step but it has to be accompanied with repentance on her side.

You say her heart is stubborn!!! What do you mean by this? Is it because she does not really see her past as shameful and sinful, or does she, but still enjoys or misses it? Your friend needs to open her eyes to something called spiritual life and start to seek and grow in it. She needs to detach herself from her past. Get her to read the Holy Bible regularly. A good book also to read is "The life of purity" By H.H. Pope Shenouda.

2. Marriage: In choosing a partner to share life with, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Are you interested solely in her physical or spiritual beauty?
- Are your emotions just temporal or spiritually profound??
- Is she socially compatible to you?
- How about her education?
- Is she going to help you grow spiritually?
- Is she the humble-hearted woman who will raise you through her modesty and will accept you as her 'head', just as Christ is the head of the Church? In her modesty, you will find wisdom, for "with the humble is wisdom" (Proverbs 11:2).
St. John Chrysostom in his book on marriage says that the true beauty of an individual is found in their soul. Those who seek traits of affection, gentleness and humility will far outweigh the superficial characteristic of beauty, which will dissipate with time. The inner beauty of one's soul is something that is timeless and has no limitations, but rather increases with age.

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 32:30).

Does your friend meet these criteria? Do not rush into any decision now. Pray about it that God may lead you to the right path. You can read more about "How Can I Chose My Life Partner?" at
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