A common lament from chaste Orthodox men I meet is their lack of experience in dealing with women who are more socialized than them. How can these men understand women, identify one with strong faith, and make confident decisions concerning marriage? As an unmarried middle-aged man, I stress to them how I’m not in a better situation, but they nonetheless feel that I can give them profitable lessons in their quest to enter an Orthodox marriage due to my excessive secular experience.

I have tried to be thoughtful about what I’m about to share so as not to interfere with God’s will in bringing together man and woman in one flesh within the Church sacrament of marriage, because most of my experiences with women took place sinfully outside of marriage, causing me to lose all manner of healthy child-like innocence when viewing the opposite sex. I do not consider myself bitter, but I am surely cynical from partaking in behaviors that went against the commandments of God for so many years. If you perceive undue pessimism or even anger in my words, it is due to the damage I inflicted upon myself, not because God made a mistake in how he constructed man or woman. If you participate in evil for a prolonged period of time, you will carry distorted views of reality even long after repentance.

It could be possible that a secular woman you have feelings for will possess every negative trait I’m about to describe. When a woman lacks spiritual life, she does not struggle against her passions and sins, or even think they are wrong. On the other hand, the Orthodox women I’ve met and observed possess at least a basic desire for moral goodness, and will automatically be more suitable for marriage. However, some Orthodox women are more zealous than others, and they all swim in a putrid secular fishbowl. The tainted water corrupts us without our conscious awareness, and so it’s not uncommon for an Orthodox woman to possess deep-seated secular beliefs that can strain a marriage. You must be discerning when it comes to identifying any beliefs that would be detrimental to maintaining a Christian family home.

I will often use the secular word “game” in this article. Game is a collection of psychological and behavioral techniques to attract a woman physically and emotionally for the purpose of fornication and fleshly pair bonding. Game includes: approaching an unknown woman in a public place while play-acting as a confident man, optimizing one’s aesthetic so that it pleases worldly woman, using salesman techniques of rapport building and scarcity to make a fast “sale,” hiding flaws while showcasing strengths, deliberately pumping up a woman’s emotions, lying, omitting the truth, putting a woman in a negative state of anxiety or dread to modulate her attractive feelings, and exploiting a woman’s human weaknesses for selfish gain.

In the game process, God is absent, and the primary goal of the man is to satisfy his selfish craving for positive female attention, worldly love, and physical pleasure. Even if you claim to desire abstinence before marriage, you can still be using game by implementing secular techniques to meet women, get their phone number, arrange dates, and so on. A sign you are not using game is if you adhere to the old cliché “be yourself,” where yourself is a child of God who follows His commandments with the understanding that marriage is a sacrament whose purpose is to usher two souls into heaven. The Christian way is to trust in God to pair you with a woman who is on your social and spiritual level instead of pretending to be an alpha male to deceive a woman into liking you using mostly physical and psychological means.

That said, here is a list of general guidance for men who want to pick the right woman for marriage in an Orthodox courtship where the man clearly expresses to the woman beforehand that no intimacy can take place until they are united in one flesh through the Church sacrament of marriage.

1. Assume that you will never change her
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. —Proverbs 31:10-12

It’s a fatal temptation for a man to look at a woman, especially a young one, as a tabula rasa, a blank slate for him to mold into his perfect, traditional wife who bakes cookies and croissants all day. Such a man sees all her flaws and thinks that, with time, he can eradicate them one by one as if using a laser beam. Or he sees her annoying personality traits and thinks that he can dampen them with a sort of punishment-reward stratagem. This is delusion. Who she is is who she is, and if she does change, it will be entirely dependent on her own will and its cooperation with God to serve the good. Any immediate change you do see in her, without much in the way of effort, should be viewed with suspicion.

Do you know how hard it is to change a single behavior, personality trait, or quirk? For example, I have the bad habit of taking the Lord’s name in vain by saying the word “Jeez” as an exclamation. For a couple of months, I have tried mightily to stop using this term, but I have not yet been successful. I have a bad habit of eating past 8pm. I’m grumpy in the mornings. I’m overly sensitive to noise and odors. I prefer socializing only in the evening. I have innumerable preferences that a potential wife may not like and will try to change, but chances are she will fail until I’m enlightened by God to work harder at correction not for my sake but for the sake of the marriage.

Through God’s grace, I’ve been able to step away from sinful behaviors, but the little things that are entrenched into my personality, and which do not pose an immediate risk to my salvation, have remained. This is also the case with women. Do not assume you will change her. Do not assume you can even get her to grow her hair an inch longer than it already is. Do not assume she will change at all. Of course a woman will do many things to please her man, such as to lose a few pounds or dress differently, and she may be motivated to improve for you in a way that she didn’t while single, but don’t expect immediate, permanent change.

2. Women are capable of deceiving men

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
—Proverbs 12:4

The more secular a woman is, the more likely she will set out to deceive a man without ever believing she is being deceptive. How this plays out is that everything will seem to be going well with her while in a romantic relationship, and then one day you are blindsided by her shocking behavior. I wrote books on women, thought I knew them better than myself, but was still badly deceived by them, because as a man, we are not given natural tools to spot every female deception under the sun. There are thousands—perhaps millions of men—who came home one day and stumbled upon a horrible discovery that changed their lives forever. In heartache, they concluded that they never really knew their significant other at all.

It’s possible for a woman to pretend to be someone she is not, sometimes for many years and certainly for the short amount of time needed to put forth a favorable impression and cement a man’s affections during courtship. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Depending on how skilled she is, the lie may be something as minor as a political opinion she’s hiding to not displease you or as serious as living an entirely different lifestyle behind your back. The man who is lusting after a woman will not be able to see through the deception, but a chaste man whose eyes and ears are not tainted by lust should be able to see through any false façade by picking up on inconsistencies in behavior while continually self-checking whether she is “too good to be true.”

At the risk of getting philosophical, I believe that women themselves don’t know when they’re being deceptive or not. Their behavior is subconsciously driven to maximize the rewards received from a man with whom they want to be in a relationship. On the other hand, it is unlikely that a woman is consciously deceiving you if she is open about confessing all her flaws and problems.

3. If her spirit and behavior are more secular than Orthodox, she is abiding by the secular world
Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, But what is in the heart of fools is made known. —Proverbs 14:33

A fish may strongly desire to be a healthy fish, but if it’s swimming in polluted water, many of its biological functions will be impaired. As sincerely as we wish to be Orthodox, the waters around us are dirty and foul, and though our intentions may be good, we simply cannot block out all the toxic effects that are seeping unaware into our souls. I believe that even listening to one pop song can be damaging to the soul, and yet if we don’t voluntarily listen to such music, we are subjected to it every time we walk into a retail store.

It’s great that a woman goes to Liturgy every Sunday and confesses her sins and receives Communion, but it is not great if for the six remaining days of the week she is glued to her smartphone, watches Netflix, attends a university, listens to rap music, reads feminist influencers online, uses TikTok, watches reality television, follows celebrity gossip, and participates in Snapchat exchanges with men. In such a case, her behavior will be more driven by secular trends than her faith, driving her away from traditional family life.

If I met a woman who consumed over 20 hours of secular content a week, but spent only 5 hours on her faith, yet proclaimed to me that she wants to be a traditional wife, I would think she’s confused, because it’s not traditional to be attached to worldly content streamed from her smartphone. If, however, another woman said she wants to be traditional, and shares a sentiment of hatred toward the modern world, and I can hardly get in touch with her because she leaves her smartphone off for most of the day, I can be more assured that she is sincere.

Since a woman’s smartphone is an extension of her personality and innermost desires, I may ask any female I’m considering if she can show me all the apps installed on her phone. If she has all the popular social media apps, and not even a single Bible or prayer app, you have an answer.

Just because a woman is Orthodox does not mean you must throw away all discernment and think everything will be fine. She is still a product of this corrupt world and you must keep your wits about you to see if she possesses the most important qualities needed to be a wife and mother. You must examine her flaws and ask yourself if you can endure them, and ask if your flaws can be endured by her. You don’t want a woman exclaiming “I’m Orthodox” to cause you to close your eyes and jump in without discernment.

4. A woman who maintains a perfect physical appearance may crave validation from men more than God

And there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. She was loud and rebellious, her feet would not stay at home. At times she was outside, at times in the open square, lurking at every corner. —Proverbs 7:10-12

It is my experience that the more time a woman invests into her external appearance, the less time she invests in the internal (her soul). This was most vividly shared with me during my long-ago stint in Ukraine, which had the most beautiful women out of all the nations I’ve visited. Part of their beauty was natural, as the beauty of Slavic women is renowned, but much of it is time spent on manual physical enhancement at the beauty salon.

On my dates with Ukrainian women, they revealed to me how much time they spend on their hair, nails, makeup, skin, clothing, and so on, and yet those same women could not tell me the last book they read. It turned out that I—as an impassioned foreign tourist—was selecting the most materialistic women in Ukraine who wanted to trade their beauty for an increase in adventure or living standard. Consider that these women spent a huge percentage of their low incomes simply on beauty upkeep, which in hindsight was depressing because Ukraine is an Orthodox country with God’s bottomless grace available to them if they walked around the corner of their home into a church. I enabled their materialistic behavior by giving them my attention, interest, affection, and time in the hopes of a carnal reward.

Be on guard for a woman who has excessive concern for her appearance, because that may signify that her flesh is getting more maintenance than her soul. That will be a large problem for a passionate secular man who marries her, because a woman’s vanity may only please his eyes for a short period of time.

5. You will not choose a woman with wisdom if your passions are elevated
With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him. Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life. Proverbs 7:21-23

Passions are fleeting, temporary, and capricious. Making life decisions based on your passions and emotional urges is like building a house on sand. If a passionate woman likes you, it is more likely because you please her physically and emotionally in the current moment, not because she has assessed your faith and values for the long term. Passionate secular men, of which I was one, want to be pleased in the moment. They think that every flight of fancy that enters their mind is a worthwhile pursuit that can maximize their happiness. It was my unbridled passion that allowed me to waste two decades of my life, selecting the wrong women continually for bodily pleasure, pride, and masculine ego gratification. I had built my whole life on sand and realized at a late hour what a folly that was.

If you meet a woman you like, and for the next few days you can’t even think straight because your mind is whirring with fantasies about how beautiful she is and how great your future life will be and how many children you will have, you are aflame with passion and emotion. Even adrenaline may be at play if you find it hard to sleep because of thoughts concerning her. This behavior is actually feminine, codified in hundreds of romance novels. We are men, not women, and must check ourselves when we enter “romance novel” mode, of which I have done innumerable times.

It’s safer instead to make a more detached assessment that allows logic to reign so that you can build any future relationship on rock instead of sand. One sign you are proceeding correctly is if you’re patient and take your time to evaluate a woman before even speaking with her. If there is a woman in my church who I’m interested in, I will not immediately strain to talk to her. Instead, I will observe her from a distance, politely ask about her situation to married parishioners or church elders (without fishing for gossip), and then contemplate the matter for days or weeks until I can make a calm assessment of whether it’s even reasonable to have a conversation with her. On the other hand, if I see a new girl in the church and run up to her after the Liturgy with a church pickup line, I’m simply following my passions.

I am surprised how much pickup culture has infused into the minds of young Orthodox men, but I can tell you that such techniques are a blind alley. You must not be burning with desire when deciding to get to know a new woman.

6. Beware if “game” works on her

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands. —Proverbs 14:1

If game works on a woman, either she’s naive in a healthy manner, and has not been previously exposed to men who methodically trigger her fallen nature, or she is a woman who has chosen to feed her fallen nature. Think of game as an offensive joke. Even if you’re pious, the joke may get a laugh out of you, but then you quickly comport yourself and decide not to “enjoy” it further since it comes at the expense of others.

In the same vein, game can “work” on a pious Orthodox woman in that it can get her attention, pique her interest, and create temporary feelings of attraction, but she should have the spiritual tools to fight this common temptation. She knows that pursuing a man because of romantic or sensual feelings is not pleasing to God, and will let the temptation fade away like all other temptations she faces throughout the day. If a woman acts on the temptation by seeking a man’s attention who is obviously unsuitable (i.e. a “bad boy”) and actually wants to date him, she may not be ready to sustain a “boring” monogamous relationship with a devout Orthodox man where the household revolves around serving God instead of her emotional feelings.

It’s a simple matter to use some game on a Christian woman to command her attention, but it should quickly fizzle out when she comes to her senses. However, game reliably works on any woman-–Christian or not—who is individualistic, selfish, narcissistic, impious, and carnal. In fact, such a woman may only respond to men who use game. If a man is able to use a couple of game tricks to inflame a woman’s emotions and send her on a roller coaster ride of excitement and desire, and she makes a choice to be with that man to seek a further amplification of pleasure and “happiness,” fornication can happen in no time because it is merely a culmination of the emotional satisfaction she craves.

All women can have their emotions stirred by a cad, but the mature woman with an active spiritual life and pious support circle should be able to isolate those emotions, know that such a man is not good for her salvation, and move on to a more suitable match. If you see a woman who whips her head this way and that for the most attractive men with big muscles, a cocky attitude, and affected gorilla-like movements, pray for her that she can fight her passion. The same, of course, applies to you. If all it takes is a pretty face for you to forget about God then you must increase your spiritual labors. Until you gain maturity, run away from the type of woman who stirs up your passions.

7. A woman who simultaneously communicates with numerous men likely has an addiction to male attention
This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, “I have done no wickedness.” —Proverbs 30:20

I assert that a woman who is addicted to male attention will wreck a marriage. This addiction has affected me personally and made me extremely sensitive to a woman who must continually present herself to random men and converse with male “friends.” What happens is an acquaintanceship or “friendship” turns either into something more or something inappropriate, where she seeks in those men what she should be seeking from her man alone.

At best, she may view the other men as friends, but at worse they are “backup plans” for the moment when you dissatisfy her by trying to uphold an Orthodox or moral standard upon the relationship. In the minds of the men who are orbiting around your woman, they may view the friendship as an investment where one day they can cash in with an instance of sin.

It is certainly possible that a man and woman can be friends, but it should be within a strictly Christian context. With my current female friends, we talk about God more than anything else, and if their gender happened to be male instead, the topic of our conversations would hardly change, only the tone would. All my conversations with women are structured around the fact that we are in the same Church looking to save our souls. There is no innuendo, flirting, or double entendres. If a woman you are evaluating has friendships with men that do not present like this, she is either in pre-courtship with multiple men, using them for favorable attention, or sizing up suitors as if shopping in a department store. I wouldn’t trust any platonic relationship that doesn’t have a spiritual foundation, because if the root of her problem is an addiction to male attention, that addiction doesn’t magically go away when you marry her. In that case it’s not only her you marry, but all of her male “friends” as well.

8. A woman who can’t maintain small commitments may not be ready to make larger ones

For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? —Proverbs 5:20

If a woman cancels her first official meeting (date) with you, she’s setting a bad tone. As men we should not be entitled, and adapt graciously when unexpected things happen to people, but if there’s a clear pattern of a woman not respecting your time or treating you flippantly, it could be a warning sign that she is not that interested in you or using you as a backup plan. In my experience, a woman who is genuinely interested in a man will go out of her way to uphold dates and show up on time. If she repeatedly cancels dates, is silent with communication for prolonged periods though you were expecting a response, or actively flirts with other men (even in your presence), she may be using you only for attention.

Think of all the steps it takes to go from meeting a woman to marrying her: all the phone calls, text messages, meetings, Bible studies, planning sessions, and so on up to the wedding date. What is a woman telling you if very early on she takes days to reply to a text message or cancels multiple meetings for the flimsiest of reasons? The earlier a woman displays flakey behavior to you, the less serious she may see you as a marital prospect.

9. A woman is capable of making it crystal clear that she likes you
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord. —Proverbs 18:22

The most common problem I see in men is not being able to realize that a woman is completely disinterested and has moved on from them many moons ago. They relay the story to me as if wondering if there is some type of chance remaining when she has probably cycled through several new suitors in the meanwhile. We’re not living in an age of coquetry where a woman displays her interests through a fleeting stare, incidental touch of the hand, or a written letter doused with her favorite perfume. No, we live in an age where a woman does the child equivalent of throwing little rocks at the men she likes. It’s a myth that women are “hard to read” and that we must “read between the lines” to know if they like you. Frankly, I’m shocked at how blatant even meek women can act toward men when they have an interest.

If you’re not sure if a woman likes you or not, simply wait a short while. Your inaction will cause her to escalate the means by which to get your attention, and only after that fails will she give up. If she doesn’t take any small steps in the first place, her interest in you is either slight or non-existent. Women want what they want, and they want it quickly with the least amount of delay, and can only tolerate playing games for so long.

Beware: don’t try to stir up a woman’s interest by acting aloof or pretending you are disinterested. Technically, this is game, and you will one day regret that you used negative emotions to build fleeting attraction.

10. There is no excuse for an Orthodox woman to support leftist causes like feminism, climate change, and abortion

Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death. —Proverbs 7:25-27

While uncommon in the Orthodox Church, I have met women of other Christian denominations who were fully on board with the leftist Satanic agenda (I remember once when a non-Chalcedonian woman told me that eating meat is bad for the environment). Such a woman may be Christian in name only, and you must understand that it’s not her faith that will predominantly determine her behavior towards men, including her approach to marriage, but the beliefs that the oligarchs of our times implanted into her through propaganda and various psyops. It won’t be a surprise to you that many of these women respond readily to a man using game.

A temptation is to try to change the beliefs of such a woman, perhaps by saying to yourself, “She’s so close to the truth; if only I can get her to believe that abortion is wrong, and face tattoos are ugly, then she will be the perfect wife.” I already talked about the foolhardy endeavor of trying to change a woman. If a woman has beliefs that are not Orthodox or traditional, it may be best to leave her alone and pray that she accepts the truth on her own with the help of the Holy Spirit.

11. Beautiful women live in a different reality
Do not fall for the beauty of a woman, and do not long for her beauty. —Ecclesiasticus 25:20

In general, the more beautiful a woman is externally, and the more urban the environment she has lived in, the less work she had to do internally on her soul, personality, charity, and demeanor, because since puberty, worldly men freely gave her everything she wanted in exchange for simply being beautiful. No merit or effort was required. In these times, where it takes only one selfie on Instagram for a girl to be propelled to minor fame, a beautiful woman is put on a different life track than one who is not beautiful. The former live in a fantasy world where everyone is nice and polite, it’s so easy to get a job, it’s so easy to date, everyone holds doors open for them, Uber drivers are all supreme gentlemen, and so on. Unless they know they are being treated better for their beauty, they risk becoming detached from reality, and if she remains outside of the Church, this will cause huge problems for her future husband.

I’ve seen firsthand how very beautiful women who did not mature in the Church become allergic to struggle (since eager men always bailed them out from it). They may find it difficult to dive deeper into the more ascetical features of the Orthodox faith. Therefore, if you insist on marrying a beautiful woman, you will have to discern carefully so that you don’t marry someone whose best quality is her beauty. One exception is if a woman used to be very ugly or obese but is now beautiful, because she actually did live a period of struggle.

12. You must examine yourself if you pass on a woman of strong faith because you seek a more beautiful woman

A wife’s grace will delight her husband, and her skill will put fat on his bones. A silent wife is a gift from the Lord, and there is nothing worth as much as a disciplined soul. A modest wife is blessing upon blessing, and there is no scale adequate to weigh a self-controlled soul. Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heaven, is the beauty of a good wife in the ordering of her house. —Ecclesiasticus 26:13-16

If you turn down the opportunity to court a devout Orthodox woman because she wasn’t pretty enough, I don’t know what to say to you. Do you know how hard it is to find a woman who has strong faith? So because you are receiving less carnal pleasure, you will pass on her for a prettier girl who is less likely to have the same type of faith? Do you know that if your Orthodox marriage goes the distance, any beautiful wife will look not so beautiful in a few years due to the hands of time, and that it’s her faith that is the most important feature of deciding the course of your marriage? As long as a woman is not abrasive on the eyes, and has a figure that is at least average, why covet more? I ask these questions primarily to myself.

13. A woman who is overly comfortable around strange men may have had a lot of experience with men
I would rather live with a lion or a snake than with an evil wife. —Ecclesiasticus 25:15

I interpret it as a warning sign if a woman talks with ease and confidence to strange adult men, especially when she is holding court with multiple men simultaneously who are all lavishing her with attention. While many women fantasize about a scenario where they are the queen of the ball, it’s another thing if she has no social heistation, nervousness, or awkwardness to be surrounded by virile men who are attracted to her.

Have you seen the shyness of a female child? When a strange man tries to politely talk to her, she literally runs away and hides behind her mother. For a grown woman who has not been socialized around passionate men all her life, she will feel uncomfortable when a strange man approaches her and certainly not enjoy it when men with inflamed passions are surrounding her. If she has no problems with such a scenario, we can assume that she has grown up like this and thinks it’s completely normal to talk to men who want to sleep with her. If this indicates an addiction to male attention, her future husband will surely be upset when she spends suspiciously long times talking to other men while in a visible state of delight.

14. She may hide her most negative qualities, behaviors, and admissions until you have invested in her

For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil —Proverbs 5:3

This is more common with secular women than Orthodox. A crafty woman will embark on a deliberate program to hide things that she believes a man wouldn’t like, and go to great extents to do so, and only reveal things slowly after the man falls in love with her or has invested so much time in her that she believes he wouldn’t turn back because of sunk costs.

If you’ve been courting a girl for many weeks or months, and she drops a big bomb on you, it was probably planned and rehearsed, and not the first time she has done it. She wanted you to like her, you did, and she has calculated that you wouldn’t dare leave her now. Maybe you will choose to stay with her, and that’s your right, but what you have to ask is if there’s an even bigger bomb coming in the future, perhaps after you’ve married her.

I believe an honest woman should do a full disclosure of her physical and mental health conditions, her major flaws, and any serious sins that are relevant to a potential husband relatively early in the courtship. The same applies to men. A woman has a right to know that you used to be a world-famous pickup artist who wrote a dozen books on how to fornicate. The bad decisions we make in life will have consequences until we die, even if our repentance is earnest.

15. A woman who constantly updates her social media profiles should be examined closely
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her. —Proverbs 31:26-28

The point of social media is to receive attention for your random thoughts, low-quality opinions, and vainglorious selfies. The problem with heavy dependence on social media for attention, which I had in the recent past, is that you rewire your brain to prioritize “electronic love”—or at least a digital substitute of love—over love from people in the flesh. A woman receiving “love” from 100 men online, who leave comments on her latest selfie, will spike her dopamine more than receiving love from one man who may only show it by quietly sitting in her presence or taking her out to Culvers for a burger. If a woman gets addicted to the neurochemical aspects of receiving favorable attention, your love will not be able to compete with the attention that hordes of men give her online.

A warning sign that a woman is addicted to internet attention is if she updates and curates her social media profiles as if it were a job. If she’s uploading videos or pictures multiple times a week, it’s safe to assume that she has a strong attachment that will not be immediately broken upon entering a real relationship. On the other hand, if she’s online simply because she’s lonely, you should see a rapid decrease in her usage upon easing into a relationship with you. You will have to discern if her social media is due to loneliness or due to an addiction that has to be broken through effort, lest it harms any relationship she eventually enters.

16. Unless you have evidence to the contrary, she will become her mother and treat you like her mother treats her father

Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman. —Proverbs 21:9

Men and women mimic the roles they saw while growing up. If you meet a woman, you may think to yourself that she is nothing like her mother, but consider that she has yet to get married and have children. Once she gets married, assume she will treat you similarly to how her mother treats her father. Once she becomes a mother, assume she will treat the children in similar ways that her mother treated her. If you want to know how married life will be with a woman, you can start by looking at the mother’s behavior. Unless the woman you like has wholesale anathematized her mother’s conduct, it’s safe to assume that she will become similar to her mother. There is nothing wrong with this, and it also works with you becoming your father, but if you see major problems with her mother, you must investigate further.

For example, if you notice that her mother constantly complains to the father and tries to put him down, you may want to ask how long that has been going on. Perhaps the woman is not complaining to you right now, but that’s because she is trying to put her best foot forward in the courtship phase so that you like her. Once you get into the humdrum of marriage, she will fall back on what she knows, which she subconsciously learned from her mother.

I haven’t talked much about a woman’s relationship with her father, but it cannot be overstated that the healthier her relationship with her father, the healthier her relationship with her future husband. Heavy discernment must be used if she was not raised properly by her father or is not on good terms with him.

17. Take signs of heightened passion, mental instability, mental illness, self-harm, and a violent or abusive upbringing very seriously
Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord. —Proverbs 19:14

A sign that a man may be in deception is if he says the following: “Yes it’s true that she is mentally ill and cut herself when she was a teenager, and was beaten by her alcoholic parents, and ran away from home a few times, and just got off psychotropic drugs, but she is completely fine now.” Getting over an abusive past or mental illness is not like the flu, where once you get over it you’re essentially back to full health. Instead, it presents as a continuum of symptoms that, in one way or another, stay with a person for much of their life.

When it comes to mental health problems, which are quite common, I’m sure there are success stories of women who have been able to manage their illness in a marriage, but you must not close your eyes to the problem or else you will get caught unaware when she has an episode that is triggered by the stress of marriage or child raising. Before you marry her, examine her mental health problems as if you were a doctor. Find out what triggers her episodes, how debilitating the episodes are, and then ask yourself if that’s the sort of cross you are able to endure.

If you are considering marrying a woman with mental illness, you should be comfortable with bedside caretaking. During a mental health episode, you will have to devote time to taking care of her until the episode passes, and that will include feeding her and watching over her so that she doesn’t hurt herself.

18. Do not delude yourself into thinking that you can command a woman to do whatever you want

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. —Ephesians 5:22-27

A naive man with only casual sex experience may think he’ll simply be an alpha male in the relationship and command his wife to do whatever he wishes, and that alone will preserve the marriage. One problem with that notion is that a woman has free will given by God. She has two other options in the face of your blunt commands: (1) not obey while making excuses for her disobedience, or (2) obey in such a way that she will make your life miserable.

There are always house tasks that a woman doesn’t like doing but does anyway, just like there are tasks at work you don’t like doing, but if she simply does not want to do what you’re asking her, and you attempt to force her through your masculine authority, you will probably regret it in due time. A wife is not a mindless slave, and if you persist in forcing her to do things, she will “pay you back” in ways that you didn’t imagine, starting with nagging and then escalating all the way to having an affair.

To avoid this problem, you should find a wife who wants or has agreed to do the things you want a wife to do. These conversations must be had before you get married. If you want a wife who cooks and cleans, you must inquire if she is willing to do these things (better if she already does them) and then verify her words. However, if you marry a woman in the secular way, based more on romantic compatibility, you will neglect to test her for these values and may come to find out that she refuses to do most of what you find important. Where is that romantic compatibility now when you’re eating out more than you like, the house is a mess, and she listens to hours of brain-dead music every day? In such a case, you may have been too busy lusting over her body to know what kind of person she really was.

It’s impossible to test a woman for all her little values, but you can test her for meekness and the willingness to please her husband in accordance with Church teachings. It’s preferable to find a woman who doesn’t need to be persuaded or commanded to do every little thing that you believe is important.

19. If she’s an adult and doesn’t yet know how to cook, bake, or sew, she may never learn it
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. —Proverbs 3:7

If a woman made it to 25 years of age and hasn’t yet learned the household skills that are critical to maintaining a Christian household, don’t assume that she will learn it and be good at it. That works the other way around, too. If a woman wants a husband who is good at home maintenance, but her current prospect can barely use a screwdriver, it would be unwise of her to think he will learn that skill just because he says he will. The reality is that both men and women will say almost anything to have their affections returned.

The proof is in the pudding. If a man is looking for a wife, and he is not currently learning the things he says he will do in a marriage, his wish may be aspirational. If a woman is looking for a husband and knows that she will have to cook daily in a family home, but is not currently doing it, there is a disconnect that must be evaluated. The only exception that could be valid is if the activity is dependent on having a certain kind of home. For example, I want to learn how to work with wood, but I can’t do it while living in an apartment. I also want to learn how to garden, but I can’t because I have no land and only north-facing (low-light) windows. However, I do maintain a few plants, so a woman who hears me say I want to garden can see that I have started that endeavor. She can conclude that it’s possible I will someday garden. When it comes to woodworking, however, she will not find any evidence of that skill, so she should not assume I will ever woodwork.

Personally, I am extremely skeptical of a woman who says she will learn how to cook but hasn’t turned on her stove in months. The reason is that she has 2-3 opportunities every day to do what she says she will do but is not doing! What’s stopping her now? If she lives in a home with a kitchen, nothing. If I encounter such a woman, and know that she eats takeout every day, I will have to assume she will never cook, and account for that in my decision to marry her or not. The same goes for other skills that are important to me, like sewing (buttons do fall off), laundry, ironing, and being organized in general. I must see these qualities now or at least hints of them, because talk is cheap, and we need more than talk to have a successful family home.

20. If she has a career, don’t assume she will quit when you want her to

Do not give water an outlet, nor boldness to an evil wife. If she does not follow your good leadership, cut her off from yourself. —Ecclesiasticus 25:24-25

Chances are that you will find a woman who has a full-time job. Either that job is a waystation to a family, and she will quit when the children start arriving, or she will want to hold onto that job for as long as possible because it validates how she sees herself (independent, strong, high-achieving, etc.).

If you meet a woman who tells you that she desires to be a stay-at-home mother, and that her job isn’t necessary for her, but she will work at it for as long as needed, it may be safe to assume that she will eventually quit. However, if a woman hints that her career is important to her because it gives her a sense of “purpose,” or she likes making money, it is not safe to assume she will quit, even if she does not react vehemently to your wish for her to be a stay-at-home wife. Generally, the more feminist she is, the less likely she will quit when you want, for she may have succumbed to the lie that a career is the most important part of a woman’s identity.

Failure to discern in this matter could be catastrophic: the children are sent to daycare, they will not be homeschooled, the household duties do not get done, she never learns how to cook (since it’s time-consuming), she is in obedience to a boss at work which effectively means she has two men in her life, and she is frequently fatigued and irritated. She may even try to push you into the role of stay-at-home dad so that she can have her cake and eat it too. I’m fearful enough of accidentally marrying a feminist that I must be convinced of a woman’s insatiable desire to be a traditional stay-at-home mother before entering a courtship with her.

21. She will lose respect and attraction for you if you become emasculated and allow her to take control
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. —1 Corinthians 11:3

A common failure of men is backsliding on their masculinity and leadership. It is true that a woman will constantly test her man for strength, usually by nagging him to have more say in decision-making, but if that request is actually granted, she loses respect for him, because he becomes less of a “him” and more of a “her.” We don’t really know why women petition men for things that ultimately make them unhappy, but it is a test we must pass by maintaining our leadership position in the household.

If we fall for the trap of “equality” that is so common in secular relationships, the woman will start to lose respect for her man and so begins the typical side effects of her withholding sex, going out more often with her friends, maintaining inappropriate relationships with men online, neglecting household duties, starting a new gym routine with a young male trainer, and so on. It’s hard to relay to men the severity of this trap when it starts in such a banal manner, that obeying a woman who really believes she must choose where to go out for dinner, for example, will actually begin a process where the husband is feminized, weakened, and destroyed in divorce. I’m sure you’ve seen this personally in your life as I have. Maintain your masculine frame or else she will take up that mantle and despise you for it.

22. No matter how thoroughly you vet her, you will be upset at her behaviors during marriage

And Adam said, this [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. —Genesis 2:23-24

Human behavior tends to be domain specific. My daily habits and routine when I was living in a European city is different from when living in an American suburb. The foods I eat, the times I shower, and how much I read are all different depending on the domain I find myself in. In one domain, a woman acts this way, but in another domain, she acts differently. How a woman behaves when she’s single or in courtship is not going to be identical to her behavior as a wife or mother. A woman may appear perfect to you in the courtship phase, but after marrying her and living with her, you will see her flaws that may even make you feel regretful. This doesn’t mean you made the wrong choice, or that she deceived you, but that wifely behaviors had no outlet for display within a stress-free courtship.

The point of marriage is not to eliminate the potential for failure or hardship. I’m tempted to make sure a potential wife doesn’t have any major problems that may cause me pain in the future, but this is not the Orthodox Christian way. We are not gods who can see the future, and we are called upon to have faith in Lord Jesus Christ to pair us with a suitable spouse, not our own ability to avoid worldly pain. When you marry a woman, and she displays an odd behavior that displeases you, do not think, “What have I done to marry this woman? My life is ruined!” Instead think, “My Lord commands me to pick up and carry my Cross. Now I must bear and endure that which my wife is doing, as she is flesh of my flesh, and she must endure my innumerable flaws. So be it, so be it.”

23. If she doesn’t like to be corrected, signifying a strong will, you will have many disagreements
Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman. —Proverbs 21:19

People who don’t like being corrected, like myself, often have elevated pride. It’s impossible for their ego to handle someone telling them that they are doing something wrong and that they must change their thinking or behavior. If you attempt to correct a woman, the most common response will be that she starts crying. If she’s more of a combative type, you may hear, “Why don’t you do it yourself then?” Even if you are exceedingly gentle, her pride will perceive the correction in the worst possible way and be wounded by it.

I’ve had experiences with women who simply could not take loving correction, and let me tell you: it’s a total drag. Their pride is preventing them from doing simple things that you like. For example, once a secular girlfriend was preparing lunch for me. I politely asked her to cut my apple in a way that I preferred. She got angry and made a big stink about it. It’s no surprise that the relationship later ended in a bitter way. I can’t imagine how life would have been with her if I tried to correct her on matters bigger than how an apple is cut.

During your courtship with a woman, it may be useful to correct her on something that is genuinely bothering you. The best response is if she accepts and does it the correct way. If she gets upset and sheds tears, but still performs the correction, that may not necessarily be a bad sign. However, if she responds with a nasty attitude, is resistant to change, and even starts hitting you, you have to understand that this behavior will carry through in a marriage. Ask yourself if you can deal with it.

24. She may lie to you but not think it is a lie, because she believes the lie to be the truth

The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; He who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there. —Proverbs 22:14

As the psalm says, “Every man is a liar.” The lying of women is unique compared to men because, in my opinion, much of the time they don’t really believe they are lying. The most prime example is when she states that a man she knows is “just a friend.” The reality is he is a suitor, biding his time for the best moment to attempt intercourse. In order for the woman to say the suitor is a friend, she had to view the interaction with him through a particularly narrow lens. Because there has been no physical intimacy, she thinks they are “friends,” but she ignores the emotional and romantic bond the man has for her. If she were to admit that he’s more than a friend, she would also have to admit that she’s enabling or encouraging a man who has romantic affection for her, and also admit that their relationship is only one text message away from physical intimacy. She is telling the truth only through the deliberate omission of numerous relevant facts.

Another example is when a woman says, “I have had three boyfriends,” and then gives you ample details on those three boyfriends without mentioning any others, as if she has never met any other man in her life. She frames the discussion in such a way that a man will want to conclude that she has only had intercourse with three men, but it’s quite possible she has been intimate with many more. Here she is lying by omission to a man who wants to believe the lie.

If you ask personal questions that hit upon her mistakes or flaws, and her faith is small, prepare for lies that she may not think of as lies. If you try to confront a woman on a lie, as I have often done, you should not be surprised if she refuses to admit fault and then blames you for not trusting her. The main persuasive weapon a woman uses against man, tears, will then make their appearance.

25. It’s common for a woman to conform to a man’s interests and hobbies to receive his affection
A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God. —Deuteronomy 22:5

I don’t know when it began that men started to desire women who shared the same masculine hobbies as them. “She loves watching sports, drinking beer, and shooting guns… I’m in love!” It must be a sign of the times when narcissism is so high that men look to women to be just like them instead of understanding that God created two sexes with a distinct division of gifts for maintaining a family home.

When men signal they like a woman with masculine hobbies, women will soon come to “love” masculine hobbies. There are millions of women in the United States who know more than me about pro football, craft beer, bodybuilding, shooting guns, comic book movies, and all the most appropriate times to use profanity in conversation. They may not admit it to you, but I believe they do these things to maximize their chances of receiving affection from men and to sustain that affection by being able to talk about the things that men like.

The problem for you is that a woman may effortlessly pretend to like what you like if she happens to have a strong interest in you, leading you to have the wrong idea about your compatibility. If you like reading books, she will express her interest in reading books. If you like baking, she will send you a picture of her baking (for the first time ever). If you love dogs, she will love dogs and send you pictures (even though she really loves cats). Whatever you like, she will like.

Even more dangerous is if you’re an Orthodox Christian. She may also claim to love Orthodoxy, and even convert to the faith for you, but will love you more than the faith, at least initially. Now there are many success stories of a man bringing his wife into the Church, and many of these women come to be light-bearers of the faith, but you must use discernment to confirm she’s converting because she believes Orthodoxy is the truth, and that it’s God’s Church, not that she sees you as an ideal man and doesn’t mind a lukewarm religious commitment of only going to church for two hours on Sunday.

None of us can look into a woman’s soul and know why she really is converting, but there is one question you can ask her: “If our relationship were to suddenly end, would you still convert to the Orthodox faith?” If the answer is no then she is converting for you alone. Proceed with caution.

26. If she’s had sexual experiences in the past, look for undeniable repentance

Any evil is small compared to the evil of a wife. May the portion of a sinner fall upon her! —Ecclesiasticus 25:18

Many secular men insist on knowing how many past partners their girlfriend has had. This is what I did in my secular relationships. As an Orthodox Christian, however, I’m not sure if it’s useful to ask this because of how our soul is reformed through repentance, a turning away from sin, a regeneration of the old man into the new. With grace, you quite literally become a new person, and can no longer recognize the old person you once were. There is a gulf that exists between the man I am today and the man I was in the past, and if a woman were to solely evaluate me by what I did a few years ago, she would not be getting a complete picture of the good fruits I’m capable of producing today.

However, if I stopped fornicating because I merely got bored, physically tired, or hormonally depleted, and did not repent nor struggle mightily against my lust, it’s safe to assume that I’m still dominated by sin and evil. The dark fleshly passions would still be lurking underneath in full strength. Without repentance, what I did in my most recent past would then be highly indicative of what I will do in the near future, or at least am capable of doing.

If you identify a woman who has fallen but whose repentance is genuine (i.e. she has taken steps away from carnal living and is pursuing a pious Orthodox life) then I don’t think you’ll gain useful information by asking her the gory details of her sexual past. Instead, you may only need a rough sketch of her past sins to know if she is successfully attempting an earnest struggle against them in the present.

I pray that my past fornication was a temporary aberration, but even if it was, there are other permanent features of my personality that a potential spouse will have to deal with. It may be useful to examine qualities of a potential wife that are ongoing or have a permanent quality in the body, such as her health problems, demeanor, attitude, personality, latent addictions, and so on, instead of sins that seemed to have ended. It’s possible that by focusing on her sexual past alone that you may be ignoring something even more disruptive to a potential marital union.

It is your right to exclude a woman whose sexual past is too much for you to bear. I will only add that the more you fell in a certain area, the more you should accept a woman who fell like you. If you’re a virgin, perhaps you should wait for a virgin, but if you’re like me and had sexual experiences before repenting, then a woman who repented from a similar passion could be a suitable match.

27. You don’t fully know a woman unless you’ve seen her angry
A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike; Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. —Proverbs 27:16-16

It’s a great thing that the woman you’re courting seems to always be pleasant, kind, and meek, but she is a human being, existing in fallen flesh, and it’s just a matter of time until she gets angry. It would be helpful for you to know what she’s like when she’s angry so that you can discern if that type of anger is manageable.

Some women withdraw when they get angry and give you the silent treatment. Other women explode, throwing household objects and using bad language. Other women pout and cry as if having a childish temper tantrum. I’ve seen all types of anger, and none are easy to work with, but I would hesitate with any woman whose anger is deranged and violent, where she temporarily loses sanity and takes on a rage that approaches murderous (I’ve known men who were physically attacked by their girlfriends, including the case of a knife attack). With such women, warning signs will be present before you face her anger head-on.

I’m not advising you to purposefully get a woman angry in the courtship phase, because that would be manipulation, but don’t fear it. As long as you are not deceived that she is immune to experiencing anger, you want to be mentally prepared for when it happens.

While a woman’s anger is dangerous, a man’s is worse, because we have testosterone, which allows us to kill a woman with our bare hands. It’s far more important for a woman to understand the type of anger you have than the other way around.

28. Be extremely suspicious of a woman who still communicates with past boyfriends

My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. For a harlot is a deep pit, and a seductress is a narrow well. She also lies in wait as for a victim, and increases the unfaithful among men. —Proverbs 23:26-28

It’s bad enough if a woman communicates with men online she claims are her friends, but it’s a serious red flag if she maintains a regular dialogue with someone with whom she had a romantic relationship. This is leaving wide open the door to sexual temptation and, in the case of marriage, infidelity. I believe women maintain such relationships because it makes them feel validated and proud that a man who had access to her heart and body still “cares” about her and wants her in his life. Even worse, it could be that she is considering him as a backup plan to return to in case her next relationship fails. You can completely discard her reasoning that she is only “friends” with the ex. It is not friendship if romantic emotions or bodily fluids were exchanged (starting with kissing).

I can’t stress how this scenario is a serious red flag that may come to destroy any relationship you attempt to build. Any woman I court must cut off all communication (including text messaging) with exes or I will walk away with no regret. If a woman raises a stink about it, but eventually complies, I would still proceed with extreme caution, and verify that communication was indeed cut off. If a woman is not ready to throw away the attention of men she had sinful relations with for the sake of the man she may marry, is she taking the ideal of Christian marriage seriously?

29. Don’t confuse her physical and emotional attraction towards you for deep compatibility
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. —1 Peter 3:3-6

You’re in danger if an attractive woman likes you, because your fallen nature is prone to entering a hypnotized state where you fixate on all the emotional pleasure she is giving you in the moment and the physical pleasure she may give you in the future. It can happen that a man is lukewarm about a woman, but then she accidentally touches him with her breast, wears a low-cut shirt, and smiles at him with extra-glossy lips that he then suddenly thinks she’s a perfect match.

Do you understand how easy it is for a woman of even average looks to ensnare a man if she is aided by Satan? All she has to do is wear makeup, put on perfume, wear a revealing outfit, bite her lip during key moments of the conversation, breathe slowly and deeply, and give you the green light for physical touching. Unless you are aware of what she’s doing, you will think there is a “natural” connection and in your blindness begin to see her as a woman ready for Christian marriage. Understand that in this world men have practically no resistance to a pretty woman who likes them. Most men do not even know that this is a temptation, and instead think they’ve received some kind of good luck or blessing when women look upon them as if they were a piece of meat.

When a woman is attracted to you, your mind begins the process of forgetting or rationalizing all her weaknesses while inventing strengths where none exist. She’s no longer impulsive—she’s spontaneous. She’s not addicted to the mindless secular culture—she’s avant-garde. She’s not filled with passions—she has a big heart. She’s not lazy with church attendance—she lives so far away and it’s hard for her pretty self to drive forty minutes each way. With attraction, any piece of coal can be instantly rubbed into a diamond.

You may think this sounds amusing, but the process is real and has caused men to marry women who later ruined their lives and made them consider suicide. If you readily get physically aroused in a woman’s presence or if you fantasize about being with her sexually then you are no different than a secular man lusting after a woman in a bar. The process is the same. It’s okay to be attracted to a woman, but if you’re feeling more than spiritually discerning, you may be setting up yourself for a hard fall.

I know myself and my inability to resist a pretty woman who likes me, so when I want to discern if a woman is right for me, I prefer to do it from afar before sustaining a relationship. I do not dive into any relations with an attractive woman because, without a plan to get to know her, I will fall into a trap of seduction because of the natural power of a woman’s beauty, allure, and femininity.

30. Evaluate her for the potential to become a great mother

But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” —Ruth 1:16-17

A married man told me that the most important quality of a potential wife is if she will be a good mother. During a courtship, however, we are instead concerned about ourselves. How will she make me feel? How will she be a wife to me? How will she satisfy me? How will she please me? Me me me! Our entire standard, and much of what I’ve written above, concerns the relationship between future man and wife, but children do happen.

You will love your children with all your heart, but if your wife is a less-than-ideal mother, conflict and pain will enter your life as you try to correct her mistakes and deficiencies. Does it matter if your wife pleases you if you know your children are getting an upbringing that is hurting them? You will no longer perceive the prior-held romantic happiness. While you’re evaluating a woman on how well she will please you, try to also discern how she would be as a mother.

There are two major clues to knowing how good of a mother she’ll be. First, how does her mother treat her? Unless you have evidence to the contrary, she will be very similar to her mother. If her mother was neglectful or abusive, there is a chance the same traits may appear in her. Second, how does she act around children? If you meet her in a parish, it will be very easy to see how she interacts with kids. Personally, I want to see that a woman is patient, sensitive, and loving. I don’t buy the excuse that it’s okay for a woman to be cold to children that are not her own. If you love children, you love all children. I love pugs, and will give affection to all pugs that are not my own. I can’t fathom how I would only love my pug but not care about other pugs.

If a woman had a difficult childhood, hopefully she has a mentor in the Church, perhaps her godmother, who she eagerly learns from. If a woman doesn’t have the motherly ability you seek, but you’ve noticed she’s willing to be corrected, perhaps you can proceed, but if she’s not willing to be corrected at all, you will have a hard time. A lot of flaws in a woman can be somewhat discarded if she’s meek and readily obeys you. Otherwise, even the smallest flaw can become a threat to the relationship.

31. An examination of her living quarters can reveal gaps in what she tells you
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your nearest kin, that they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words. —Proverbs 7:4-5

We have to be able to trust our future wife, but until we have that trust, we must verify. A visit to her home with at least one mature chaperone can be a good check on the things she has been telling you about herself. If she says she’s spiritual, but you notice more K-pop posters on her walls than holy icons, you may want to dig deeper. She exclaimed to you how badly she wants to be a housewife, but is her room a pigsty? She claims she wants to cook every day for her husband, but is her refrigerator filled with only expired jars of Whole Foods branded condiments? Is the one cookbook she owns covered with cobwebs? It’s possible that many things she told you were aspirational, a work in progress, but you should begin to see movements toward the wife she yearns to be.

Do not go to her house alone! We do not want a check of her living quarters to lead to temptation. Family members or sober-minded friends should also be present. You may think this precaution is silly, but the second you enter her home alone, a legion of demons is behind you to tempt you both so that you desecrate your courtship. If you are underestimating Satan and think what I’m sharing is absurd, it is possible you are already in a state of falling.

32. If a woman complains a lot about other people, she will soon complain about you

Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. —James 5:9

Complainers are equal-opportunity, meaning that they complain about everyone. I once knew a man who would complain to me about everyone we knew, and yet he would never complain about me. It didn’t take much time for me to be grouped into his complaints. Complainers may shift their targets, but they will always land on those who are closest to them. If you find a woman who is prone to complaining, the intensity of her complaints will be entirely focused on you after you get married.

I’m sensitive to complaints because I have relatives who are complainers. I see firsthand how complaining can strain relationships and simply make you not want to spend time with the person. A priestmonk in the Orthodox Church told me that complaining is a form of irritation, which in turn is a form of anger. Therefore, the root of complaining is anger, even if the complaints may be just or uttered in a light-hearted manner. Identify if the woman complains once in a while or if she complains all the time. If she’s an aggressive complainer, she has not found a way to tackle her anger in a way that will not damage her relationships, and you must keep a close eye on her pattern of complaining, assuming that one day the target of her complaining will be you.

33. Trust in God to find a wife, not in your own abilities
The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools. —Proverbs 3:35

You can follow every piece of advice in this article, and be completely sure of any choice you make, but still fail if you don’t ask God through intense prayer for His will to be done. Be wary of only trusting yourself and what you can perceive with your senses when it comes to choosing a wife, because God can see things that you can’t see. He knows any woman more than you know her. If you’re relying more on worldly wisdom than God—and most of what I’m offering here is worldly wisdom—how can you possibly make a good choice? My suggestions are to get your foot in the door if you are inexperienced and chaste so that you are not easily manipulated, but more important than what I say is to pray daily and humbly to help evaluate any woman you are interested in. Pray to the Saints, seek out elders in the Church, and ask balanced Christians close to you for aid.


I’m sure many men will read this article and say to themselves that they will avoid the big mistakes, but then something happens: they become attracted to a woman. Once the attraction happens, which is an emotional and physical process involving our flesh, rationality is first to go out the window. I hate to admit this but I’m certainly more experienced than you when it comes to falling under the spell of a woman and letting my flesh take over the driver’s seat. You think that it won’t happen to you, that you have the knowledge, but if that’s what you believe, it will surely happen to you, because you are underestimating the power of your fallen nature.

Even though I have experience, I do not trust my judgment in the presence of an attractive woman, because even after returning to Christ, it happened that I entered a hypnotic spell of improper judgment. Thankfully, with the help of the Church and my faith, I pulled my soul out of the spell, but I don’t kid myself: I’m one chance meeting away from self-willingly entering a state of passionate delusion. Whatever the case may be, understand that it is God’s will that must be done. He allows us to fall for our benefit and He will permit us to enter a happy or unhappy marriage for our salvation. As long as He is in your heart more than any woman, accept whatever outcome arrives, love your wife in spite of all her flaws, and give thanks to God without ceasing for whatever situation you find yourself in, whether single or married.