But this is the reality many Orthodox Christians in North America and Europe today.Some lucky few have relationships with parents or spiritual mentors that are close enough and mature enough to provide some guidance and advice in the search for a mate. Even if they do ask for advice or guidance from a priest or parent or other responsible person, many young people are merely seeking confirmation for what they already feel or think or lust for.Young people, my daughters included, often say that there are no good candidates among the Orthodox Christians they know. Often Orthodox Christian churches are small and choices are limited.Single Orthodox Christians have no easy road before them, especially if they suspect that they will be married some day.For most of history and in a large but shrinking portion of the Orthodox world today, single people did not have to worry about who they would marry: someone else chose for them. We cannot imagine not choosing our own hair style, clothing and career path; much less not choosing our own spouse.In the best cases, the people involved had veto power; that is, neither one had to accept the match. We vainly imagine this power of choice is the same as freedom, but if we have no basis on which to choose other than our subjective urges, transient likes and dislikes, and fantasies based on movies, novels and occasional glimpses at internet pornography, then choice is not freedom but bondage: bondage to the ideals of a sick culture and the passions of a fallen mind.
Organize retreats, participate in diocesan, mission or service organizations, visit monasteries (you never know who else might be visiting), rent a van and crash a archdiocesan convention with seven of your buddies splitting the cost of the room. It is a good idea to have lots of friends, to learn how to be kind, generous, loving, patient and joyful by hanging out with people who encourage you to be more like Christ.Feeling sexually attracted to someone you hardly know is certainly no way to determine if someone will make a good wife or husband.A good marriage can never be based on how the other makes me feel.If you suspect that a particular friend may indeed be someone with whom you could spend your life, then enquire if he/she suspects the same thing.
If you are too shy to ask directly, then ask a trusted third person to make enquiries for you.
I am not saying that marriage is all work and drudgery. The most wonderful, wonderful gift God has given me is my wife and children; however, marriage has also driven me to my knees again and again.