Nothing in this world was more difficult than love.
As far as I’m aware, there is no prayer in the Orthodox church for two people who are beginning a relationship, or dabbling in the idea of doing so. (if there is, please link me!) Yes, there’s prayers for single people, for married persons, for people who are in relationships, but not for beginnings.
I feel like this should be remidied. Why? Because the beginning stages of a relationship, as Byzantine (hur hur) as they might be, sets the groundwork for the future of that relationship. If you begin your relationship with full disclosure, openness, and with God present, it will help it move forwards. After all, if you’re thinking that this person could be the one you marry, you’ll be working together towards mutual theosis–and there’s no reason that can’t start before the wedding. Pray together. Pray apart.
Beginnings can feel terribly… well, terrifying. You’ve been alone, at least comfortably, working on all your insecurities, working on being a good, self-sufficent person. Just when you’re happy and more-or-less content being single, WHAM. Out of nowhere you meet someone. (Or alternately, you’ve been looking for a while, and Wham, you find them. Whatever!) Suddenly, your insecurties and wounds from the past can start acting up, mo matter the amount of work you put into fixing them. They start whispering at you, that this person can’t be as fantastic as you think. That if you run, you’ll be safe.
That little insidious voice is not good to listen to. Your insecurities might lead you to run. Don’t. Unless there are clear and explicit red flags, (like, “has a history of axe murder”) don’t run. You could destroy something beautiful. If your insecurities are driving you mad, confess. Get advice from your priest. It may seem counterintuitive to confess things which may not seem on the ground level to be sins, but if this person is as wonderful as the butterflies rampaging in your stomach seem to suggest, then you owe it to them. Your insecurities could lead you to sin; to hurting someone needlessly, or judging them wrongly. It’s also going to be a good thing to talk to the person you’re…pre-dating/courting/dating about your insecurities, and have a heart-to-heart about it. Knowing what each other is dealing with will be incredibly helpful.
You need to work out how this is going to work together. The fact is, that your companion is probably just as nervous, frightened, and overthinking things just as much as you. Talk about it. Talk to your spiritual father. Have her talk to hers. Talk to each other’s together, even. Pray together. Pray apart. For this, I reccomend prayers to the Theotokos and St. Xenia. (Yes, she’s mostly responsible for people finding spouses, but I see no reason why she can’t pull her weight in making sure people become spouses, too. 😛 And why the Theotokos? Well, why not?)
The point is: yes, beginnings are scary. You’re moving out of your comfort zone, again. You’re potentially going to be with someone you’ll be with for a very long time. Of course you’re scared. But there’s no reason to let that fear rule over you. It’s a time of discovery, too, and exploration. And Discovery and exploration can be scary, too, but are more often filled with wonder and majesty, or at least, good things.
For now, because I am a nerd, I’ve been intermingling my prayers to St. Xenia and the Theotokos with the Litany against Fear, from the Dune novels, asking the two of them to ally my fears, and to grant me wisdom and guidance. So far, it’s been working.
“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing….only I will remain”
Just remember; you might be too old for fairy tales now, but that doesn’t mean that one day you’ll be old enough for fairy tales again.