Can't Afford Even a Small Marriage


#1

I'm a cradle Catholic and catechist in quite a pickle. I admit there are no excuses to what I knowingly have done, but am trying to find the best possible solution out of it and repent for what I have (and unfortunately continue) to do.

Fyi - I will be letting my RC know that I will need some time away from being a catechist since I do not currently consider my situation a good example (despite no one else really knows, but I do and so does God) and do not want to create scandal, confusion, etc.

So here's the story (as short as I can try to put it):

I met my wife in 2008, and we dated for about two years before we decided to get married. She was in high school then, age 18 (graduated late in 2010 at 20), and the plan was to wait for her to graduate so that we could get married, move in together, and attend the same college.

We were having pre-marital sex and the plan became a total fail due to that because we got pregnant in 2010, a little before her graduation date. Yes, as you can imagine, this was very embarrassing but we were knowingly doing what is wrong and these were the consequences of it. I love my daughter by the way (she is 1.5 years old now) but just wish I would have done things the right way as planned but oh well can't change the past.

It was a mix of emotions, still sort of is. I mean I was happy I was going to be a dad and have daughter with the love of my life but at the same time I betrayed God, my community/Parish, my faith formation students. It was just so wrong. :blush:

We got married through the civil court almost immediately at the request of my mother-in-law (she is protestant and believes that form of marriage is valid in God's eyes). We went to marriage prep at our (Catholic) church which is 6 months long. We only went for one month after feeling disillusioned because I lost my job. I was a paralegal and was getting paid great, loved my job (not my boss though), but lost my job and applied to what seemed like 100's of places and never found another one. Anyway, wedding had to be called off since I wasn't going to be able to afford it. I had already attended college so I had school debt and other bills/debt to pay off. Every penny had to go to something, don't forget we had a baby on the way. Now jobless, depending on savings and small jobs here and there.

My wife was Wesleyan, she has been attending RCIA since 2011, and is converting! I'm happy for her. She use to be Catholic, as a child, and was baptized during that time. Just threw that info. in so you would know that we can get married at our church.

I want a small wedding, I mean incredibly small, because I find it important to "mend" things with God ASAP. We are cohabiting. We have a child. I'm starving for the Eucharist. I do love her and want to marry her because of that too, as it was planned before having our daughter, but most importantly I want to be able to confess and not fall into sin immediately the second I walk out because of cohabitation etc. Technically my sin shouldn't even be absolved so there's not immediate re-sinning if not the same sin is there. I'm seriously going nuts I think. I LOVED teaching faith formation, and now I have to give that up too. How many kids have opened their eyes and accepted God after my class is just awesome! Its incredible. Yes it is my fault nonetheless that I'm in what I'm in.

The issue here, is my wife wants a huge wedding! She grew up with one parent only and they always struggled through life. My family on the other hand lived great, my dad has been blessed with a great business and we've never struggled financially. Her excuse is that she never had great things, she tells me sad stories of how they didn't have food or even money for rent, and how she dreamed of a beautiful extravagant wedding - but "like everything in my life, I won't be able to have it," she once told me in reference to her dream wedding. Its so sad, it hurts me to hear that given her hard past.

I can't give her that, at least not yet (not anytime soon). I still haven't found a job since then. I've had a few temp jobs. I'm now doing some freelance design work to keep the bills paid, but its not easy. I must admit God has not let us down, we have had enough for bills, food, and necessities somehow. My life now is different from when I was living with my parents and I actually appreciate experiencing this humble side of things, I feel like its built me up further spiritually. But that also feeds to my mixed emotions over all this.

Too long I know, I'm going to cut it short here. Spiritually I need God and as a Catholic the Eucharist is very important and I can't partake in it, which hurts me the most. At the same time I don't want to break my wife's dream wedding. I don't know what to do. :shrug:


#2

[quote="stup, post:1, topic:287058"]
Too long I know, I'm going to cut it short here. Spiritually I need God and as a Catholic the Eucharist is very important and I can't partake in it, which hurts me the most. At the same time I don't want to break my wife's dream wedding. I don't know what to do. :shrug:

[/quote]

You and your wife need to get your priorities in order and decide what's more important to your life and marriage: living your life according to the tenants of the Faith or having a lavish convalidation. (Which, depending on your parish, might not even be permissible. I know in my parish convalidations are held in the chapel, which seats about 15 people, and the couple isn't permitted attendants, nor are they allowed to decorate, so as not to give the impression that a 'second wedding' is taking place.)

You and your wife already had your wedding. That it was small is an unchangeable fact. Perhaps with your convalidation you can have a blowout party afterwards and an exotic, once-in-a-lifetime second honeymoon. :)

Luna


#3

Is it possible to live with your parents for the next 3-4 months while your wife preps for the big wedding? I imagine not because that would sound horrible and you have a child. However, it would demonstrate great fortitude.

Co-habitation is wrong for all the reasons you already know. However, in your situation it seems the best approach is to get married ASAP with your wife’s big wedding (sorry, it’s her big day – not yours). This will mean giving off the impression to others that it is okay to co-habitate and be sexual active prior to marriage.

It appears you already have correct “intent” regarding contrition for your co-habitation. Stay celibate while you live together, and move towards ending the co-habitation.

Do everything within reason and I’m sure God & his Church understands.

Just my opinion. Kind Regards - James


#4

[quote="Luna_Lovecraft, post:2, topic:287058"]
You and your wife need to get your priorities in order and decide what's more important to your life and marriage: living your life according to the tenants of the Faith or having a lavish convalidation. (Which, depending on your parish, might not even be permissible. I know in my parish convalidations are held in the chapel, which seats about 15 people, and the couple isn't permitted attendants, nor are they allowed to decorate, so as not to give the impression that a 'second wedding' is taking place.)

You and your wife already had your wedding. That it was small is an unchangeable fact. Perhaps with your convalidation you can have a blowout party afterwards and an exotic, once-in-a-lifetime second honeymoon. :)

Luna

[/quote]

Well said.


#5

I hadn't thought of it as a convalidation but this makes sense. I'm sure she doesn't know this either and sort of, kind of, brings relief to me knowing that now its "not in my hands" and that perhaps a big convalidation is not allowed. I'll have to talk to my Priest and see what isn't permissible.

The honeymoon idea sounds great, being that my parents have a vacation home in Mexico we could use within our means, and she has never been! Beautiful place.

Thanks for you answer!


#6

I would try to get her to proceed with the convalidation (since you're already civilly married). There really should not be any cost involved with a convalidation ceremony, other than perhaps a stipend for the priest. My husband and I were both baptized Catholic, though he was raised Catholic and I was not. We married in the Methodist church that I grew up in since he had been away from the Catholic church for years when we married. Well, we came back to the church at the beginning of 2010 and met with our priest right away. We were able to have the convalidation done by February. Granted, we had been married outside the church for almost 12 years at that point, so our priest felt like we did not need months of additional marriage preparation. We had a very small ceremony in the chapel with just my immediate family and another family that are very good friends of ours. It was so great because my husband (who was already fully initiated) was able to go back to receiving the sacraments right away.

What if you made a plan to have a big blowout party for a future anniversary? Maybe 5 years down the road you'll be at a better place financially and could afford a reception style anniversary party for family and friends? I'd just hate for you all to be stuck there waiting to come back into full communion with the church over something as frivolous as not being able to afford a party right now.


#7

[quote="powerlinemom, post:6, topic:287058"]
I would try to get her to proceed with the convalidation (since you're already civilly married).

What if you made a plan to have a big blowout party for a future anniversary? Maybe 5 years down the road you'll be at a better place financially and could afford a reception style anniversary party for family and friends? I'd just hate for you all to be stuck there waiting to come back into full communion with the church over something as frivolous as not being able to afford a party right now.

[/quote]

Excellent ideas!:thumbsup:


#8

Powerlinemom,

Thanks for your answer, there's great advice in it.

I had that same idea about having an anniversary blowout party at a later time when we would be better financially and my wife said "it wouldn't be the same." But this was before I learned that perhaps, as Luna stated, a convalidation may have certain restrictions anyway.

It is very frivolous, you are right about that! But I can't get that in her head. I love her, but we are not in the same place when it comes to our Faith. She places less importance in it, and I've told her that and she denies it but I feel its true.

Let's see what she says tonight when I see her. :)


#9

[quote="Luna_Lovecraft, post:2, topic:287058"]
You and your wife need to get your priorities in order and decide what's more important to your life and marriage: living your life according to the tenants of the Faith or having a lavish convalidation. (Which, depending on your parish, might not even be permissible. I know in my parish convalidations are held in the chapel, which seats about 15 people, and the couple isn't permitted attendants, nor are they allowed to decorate, so as not to give the impression that a 'second wedding' is taking place.)

You and your wife already had your wedding. That it was small is an unchangeable fact. Perhaps with your convalidation you can have a blowout party afterwards and an exotic, once-in-a-lifetime second honeymoon. :)

Luna

[/quote]

Our parish looked at it in a different way.

We could have had a large lavish wedding. See, according to the Church, we hadn't been married yet, nor was this our second wedding. This was IT.

We did have attendants, once each. I carried flowers, the guys wore them. We didn't decorate, but I did wear my wedding dress. We chose to have a small affair because we couldn't afford a big blow out.

That said, getting right with the Church was much more important than having a big wedding.


#10

I want to say my wife just isn't fully mature yet but that can't be true since I believe she is very mature. Maybe there are other psychological factors, given her childhood/teenage life, that don't let her see past the materialism and onto the most important part of it all, that is to be in good terms in God's eyes, and that of the rest of our Parish.


#11

[quote="stup, post:10, topic:287058"]
I want to say my wife just isn't fully mature yet but that can't be true since I believe she is very mature. Maybe there are other psychological factors, given her childhood/teenage life, that don't let her see past the materialism and onto the most important part of it all, that is to be in good terms in God's eyes, and that of the rest of our Parish.

[/quote]

This in and of itself could be an issue. If your "wife" isn't mature enough, or psychologically unable to consent to a lifetime contract, the priest very well may defer the convalidation until she is able to.


#12

Well, I would be happy with this.. On your anniversary, renew your vows at church. She can have all of the wedding sparkle at the same time, and celebration afterwards.

My sister did this as she had a small wedding as her hubby was leaving for the military.

They had a beautiful ceremony renewing their vows with bridesmaids, wedding dress and the whole deal on their fourth anniversary.

It was quite lovely, and I got to be the matron of honor for the second time.

Just my 2 cents..


#13

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:11, topic:287058"]
This in and of itself could be an issue. If your "wife" isn't mature enough, or psychologically unable to consent to a lifetime contract, the priest very well may defer the convalidation until she is able to.

[/quote]

I hope not! This would mean that I would be away from communion for who knows how long. I need to talk some sense into her. I think she just needs to hear from someone else, like the priest.


#14

[quote="Prague, post:12, topic:287058"]
Well, I would be happy with this.. On your anniversary, renew your vows at church. She can have all of the wedding sparkle at the same time, and celebration afterwards.

My sister did this as she had a small wedding as her hubby was leaving for the military.

They had a beautiful ceremony renewing their vows with bridesmaids, wedding dress and the whole deal on their fourth anniversary.

It was quite lovely, and I got to be the matron of honor for the second time.

Just my 2 cents..

[/quote]

Awesome 2 cents, this goes along with what someone mentioned above and it is something I will bring up again to my wife. Its really is just time to move on, this is something crazy to be hung over so long.


#15

Good luck and God Bless you too.


#16

[quote="stup, post:1, topic:287058"]
I'm a cradle Catholic and catechist in quite a pickle. I admit there are no excuses to what I knowingly have done, but am trying to find the best possible solution out of it and repent for what I have (and unfortunately continue) to do.

Fyi - I will be letting my RC know that I will need some time away from being a catechist since I do not currently consider my situation a good example (despite no one else really knows, but I do and so does God) and do not want to create scandal, confusion, etc.

So here's the story (as short as I can try to put it):

I met my wife in 2008, and we dated for about two years before we decided to get married. She was in high school then, age 18 (graduated late in 2010 at 20), and the plan was to wait for her to graduate so that we could get married, move in together, and attend the same college.

We were having pre-marital sex and the plan became a total fail due to that because we got pregnant in 2010, a little before her graduation date. Yes, as you can imagine, this was very embarrassing but we were knowingly doing what is wrong and these were the consequences of it. I love my daughter by the way (she is 1.5 years old now) but just wish I would have done things the right way as planned but oh well can't change the past.

It was a mix of emotions, still sort of is. I mean I was happy I was going to be a dad and have daughter with the love of my life but at the same time I betrayed God, my community/Parish, my faith formation students. It was just so wrong. :blush:

We got married through the civil court almost immediately at the request of my mother-in-law (she is protestant and believes that form of marriage is valid in God's eyes). We went to marriage prep at our (Catholic) church which is 6 months long. We only went for one month after feeling disillusioned because I lost my job. I was a paralegal and was getting paid great, loved my job (not my boss though), but lost my job and applied to what seemed like 100's of places and never found another one. Anyway, wedding had to be called off since I wasn't going to be able to afford it. I had already attended college so I had school debt and other bills/debt to pay off. Every penny had to go to something, don't forget we had a baby on the way. Now jobless, depending on savings and small jobs here and there.

My wife was Wesleyan, she has been attending RCIA since 2011, and is converting! I'm happy for her. She use to be Catholic, as a child, and was baptized during that time. Just threw that info. in so you would know that we can get married at our church.

I want a small wedding, I mean incredibly small, because I find it important to "mend" things with God ASAP. We are cohabiting. We have a child. I'm starving for the Eucharist. I do love her and want to marry her because of that too, as it was planned before having our daughter, but most importantly I want to be able to confess and not fall into sin immediately the second I walk out because of cohabitation etc. Technically my sin shouldn't even be absolved so there's not immediate re-sinning if not the same sin is there. I'm seriously going nuts I think. I LOVED teaching faith formation, and now I have to give that up too. How many kids have opened their eyes and accepted God after my class is just awesome! Its incredible. Yes it is my fault nonetheless that I'm in what I'm in.

The issue here, is my wife wants a huge wedding! She grew up with one parent only and they always struggled through life. My family on the other hand lived great, my dad has been blessed with a great business and we've never struggled financially. Her excuse is that she never had great things, she tells me sad stories of how they didn't have food or even money for rent, and how she dreamed of a beautiful extravagant wedding - but "like everything in my life, I won't be able to have it," she once told me in reference to her dream wedding. Its so sad, it hurts me to hear that given her hard past.

I can't give her that, at least not yet (not anytime soon). I still haven't found a job since then. I've had a few temp jobs. I'm now doing some freelance design work to keep the bills paid, but its not easy. I must admit God has not let us down, we have had enough for bills, food, and necessities somehow. My life now is different from when I was living with my parents and I actually appreciate experiencing this humble side of things, I feel like its built me up further spiritually. But that also feeds to my mixed emotions over all this.

Too long I know, I'm going to cut it short here. Spiritually I need God and as a Catholic the Eucharist is very important and I can't partake in it, which hurts me the most. At the same time I don't want to break my wife's dream wedding. I don't know what to do. :shrug:

[/quote]

All you need for a wedding iare 5 people and a sacred place to hold it. Bride, groom, two witnessness and a deacon or priest. The cost is only a stipen, and possibly some money to the church for the chapel. If you want a mass it can be done during any regualarly scheduled mass.


#17

[quote="stup, post:8, topic:287058"]
Powerlinemom,

Thanks for your answer, there's great advice in it.

I had that same idea about having an anniversary blowout party at a later time when we would be better financially and my wife said "it wouldn't be the same." But this was before I learned that perhaps, as Luna stated, a convalidation may have certain restrictions anyway.

It is very frivolous, you are right about that! But I can't get that in her head. I love her, but we are not in the same place when it comes to our Faith. She places less importance in it, and I've told her that and she denies it but I feel its true.

Let's see what she says tonight when I see her. :)

[/quote]

As has been pointed out, you two got pregnant, got married at city hall, and then dropped out of marriage prep classes for long enough that you're going to have a child that is talking in full sentences by the time you can afford this wedding your wife is hoping for. Not to be harsh, but "not the same" is a horse that left the barn quite some time ago, and all of your guests will be aware of that. (I would point out that the civil marriage is not entirely worthless, as you have at least taken steps to have your wife and child legally recognized. It isn't married, but since they would be legally recognized as your survivors if anything happened to you, it is a step in the right direction.)

There is nothing to stop you from having a convalidation and then having a renewal of vows later, with all the bells and whistles your wife wants. The "not the same" won't apply to an anniversary renewal of vows for someone who didn't get a big wedding the first time around. People who waited for sex until after their church wedding but couldn't afford a big bash at the time do it all the time, and so parishes typically do not put restrictions on those! :thumbsup:


#18

[quote="EasterJoy, post:17, topic:287058"]
As has been pointed out, you two got pregnant, got married at city hall, and then dropped out of marriage prep classes for long enough that you're going to have a child that is talking in full sentences by the time you can afford this wedding your wife is hoping for. Not to be harsh, but "not the same" is a horse that left the barn quite some time ago, and all of your guests will be aware of that. (I would point out that the civil marriage is not entirely worthless, as you have at least taken steps to have your wife and child legally recognized. It isn't married, but since they would be legally recognized as your survivors if anything happened to you, it is a step in the right direction.)

There is nothing to stop you from having a convalidation and then having a renewal of vows later, with all the bells and whistles your wife wants. The "not the same" won't apply to an anniversary renewal of vows for someone who didn't get a big wedding the first time around. People who waited for sex until after their church wedding but couldn't afford a big bash at the time do it all the time, and so parishes typically do not put restrictions on those! :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Not harsh at all, if only true. This is the first time I bring it up to anyone else (besides my priest who just heard me out but said that we should just decide when to marry - to simple of an answer didn't help me - great priest just kind of quiet) so its been really great to hear from everyone's responses.

I think I just needed to hear (or read) from others that saw things the same way I did and not feel so guilty over not providing her with a big wedding (or rather convalidation).

Thanks you and everyone else for your time and responses :)


#19

[quote="stup, post:18, topic:287058"]
Not harsh at all, if only true. This is the first time I bring it up to anyone else (besides my priest who just heard me out but said that we should just decide when to marry - to simple of an answer didn't help me - great priest just kind of quiet) so its been really great to hear from everyone's responses.

I think I just needed to hear (or read) from others that saw things the same way I did and not feel so guilty over not providing her with a big wedding (or rather convalidation).

Thanks you and everyone else for your time and responses :)

[/quote]

I've been to anniversary renewal of vows. Some are very much like second weddings--toned down with regards to how elaborate the dresses are and the number of attendants, but still very obviously marriage celebrations--and very much events of great rejoicing. There usually isn't the poofy bell-shaped skirt, a cathedral-length veil, or a train on the dress, but other than that your wife can still have her long white gown with the beads all over it, if she'd like.


#20

I fully understand her desire for a big wedding. But, really, how does she expect to pay for it? Is there perhaps someone in her family, or a close friend, who could talk to her about this, so she'll see it's not just you?


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