Civil marriage and sex

My wife and I have been married for 25 years, not by the church. We have a 23 year old daughter. We are both Catholic. She is devout and I don’t practice the religion. Recently my wife has wanted to have communion and because of this she has stopped having sex with me. She says we have to get married by the church before she will have sex again. I don’t want to be married by the church because I don’t believe in all the rules. Is there anything that can be done about this situation? Thanks in advance!

Imagine for a moment that you have dual citizenship. While the US accepts your civil marriage, the other country requires for you to marry according to their laws in order for the marriage to be recognized in that country. You want to leave your property in that other country to your wife, however, their laws do not recognize her as your legal spouse.

To make the marriage right in the other country, you go through a process that is not onerous, and this will make your wife happy. Why not just do it?

You are both citizens of the Church by your baptism.

Why not just meet with her pastor and begin the process. You do not have to stand up and say “I believe everything the Church teaches” in order to regularize this marriage, do it out of love and respect for your wife.


Not Catholic, but wouldn’t the process require him to accept what the Church believes about marriage? Maybe the OP no longer believes in what the Church does on marriage as well?

Excellent article.

The vows are also available on that website, and reading them helps.

That marriage is for life, that it is exclusive, these are pretty common beliefs.

There is also the option of a Radical Sanation, this would be something to discuss with Father.


You know if you believe in them or not your wife has indicated it is important to her. Perhaps that would be enough for you. But just in case it isn’t, if you go along to get along, you will get sex on top of all that. Sounds like a deal you should make.

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You don’t have to “believe in all the rules” on order for your marriage to be convalidated and your wife to resume the sacramental life.


As others have noted, you seem to have a wrong idea of what is required for you to be married in the Catholic Church. It seems pretty simple to me that if you want to have sex with your wife of 25 years and keep peace in your home, you can do this simple thing and have your marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church. I recommend you both talk to a priest so you fully understand what you would, and would not, have to do.

Ok, you do not believe in all of the Church’s rules. But which of these problematic rules are keeping you from being married in the Church? Perhaps it is the requirement that you cannot practice artificial birth control? Well, your wife can practice NFP and you will have more opportunities to have sex in that scenario than you do now. Besides, I might guess at your age its not even that much of an issue, or it won’t be for long. Beyond that, I don’t see it. Yea, the Church has rules (eg going to mass every week), but you don’t follow those now. I don’t see that your wife is asking you to change that.

Thanks for the replies! Actually, I do go to church every Sunday with my wife, just to be nice. Also, we live in Mexico and my Spanish is not great, especially understanding, so I don’t really understand what is being said. I consider myself an agnostic, so I have a problem with things like confession and communion which I don’t believe in and from my understanding I would have to do. We don’t really have any other problems in our marriage and this came on suddenly after we moved to Mexico. It was never an issue while living in the US. I don’t know the complete process for getting married through the church, especially here in Mexico, but if I have to be confirmed and confess and take communion, I can not do that in good faith.

Then talk to a priest and find out the process.

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