Confused Military Members with a Marriage Question

So I’m new on here and I’m with the woman of my dreams :smiley: who is also Catholic:thumbsup: , only catch is that we’re both in the military and stationed more than an ocean away:( . We both want the full Catholic wedding but we also want to be closer to one another as well. We were looking at getting a Justice of the Peace to be closer but weren’t sure if we’d still be allowed to have a Catholic wedding or if it would just be a blessing service. Also, would living together or separately play into this, the only reason we’d live together would be financial issues (we don’t make that much money). As I stated, we both want the Catholic wedding and dont’ want to do anything to jeopardize having one. Any help or guidance anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Joe and Kathleen

You should always ask a priest.
But in general a JOP wedding is just a legal wedding and not recognized by the Catholic Church. So if you do that you would be sinning because as a Catholic you are required to follow the church requirements for marriage. If you do this you wll need to have your marriage blessed but will also have to go to confession . The Church most likely won’t permit you to have a public second wedding ( but I’m not sure about that) if you willfully go and seek a JOP wedding. So that is why you need a priest.

Why don’t you just get started on your marriage preparations with the church? The Archdiocese of the Military has dealt with this situation before. You can do this prep in two separate locations if necessary.

Joe and Kathleen it is wonderful that you want to seek a lifetime of love , companionship and working together as one for the glory of God. But you need to do it right. The only way to have the full Catholic wedding is to follow the churches guidelines on marriage and to make sure you are in a state of grace at the time of the wedding vows.

Living together is a separate issue. It’s very difficult to do without sinning (physically) and it is a source of scandal which is a sin. The Church does not approve cohabitation . People who cohabitate have a higher divorce record. Don’t live together .I’m confused about living together anyway if you are an ocean apart? Does getting a JOP wedding mean one of you can transfer to be with the other?

How will you feel closer by getting a JOP wedding? You will not be able to consummate that legal agreement without sinning. That will actually separate you more on a spiritual level(husbands and wives marry to lead each other closer to God not farther away and certainly not in sin) as well as separate you from the church.

So, Get Thee To Your Priest(s)

You would then be in an invalid marriage. Bad idea.

No, you would not have a wedding. It would be a convalidation only.

Talk to a Catholic chaplain. Don’t try to go around the Church on this. If you love each other, do it right and do not enter into marriage outside the Church.

It will take a few more months, but that is a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of your lives. And, you should not start out your marriage dishonoring God. So, don’t go to a JP.

The wedding is not about the big public celebration. It is about you and your spouse standing in front of God and declaring your love for each other. This is a commitment for the rest of your life, it is not easy and you need all of the grace of God to make it work. Please start out correctly with the blessing of a priest. If you have problems with getting a big wedding together now, go for a small one and have a big reception later when things work out better.

Joe and Kathleen - Best wishes for a great life together!

Are you talking about a civil wedding to apply for joint domicile and therefore get closer together, and then have a Catholic wedding?

What you really want, I hope, is a Catholic marriage. To do that, you should start out correctly. See your Catholic Chaplain and lay everything out, and hopefully he can give you some good advice on the marriage thing. You’ll be married for 50 or more years, God willing, so a few months now probably won’t matter, right?

DH & I were half way across the country when we were planning to get married. We took this marriage prep class that was recommended to my by my parish at the time. We can vouch that this is a VERY good program and it is not something that you can just skip through. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to get married, although they are not in the same location as their fiancée. I do know that it is approved through the Archdiocese of Denver and I believe it is also approved by the Catholic Bishop over military personnel.
I will also tell you that the priest that married us was VERY skeptical about this program, he told us when we told him about it that he didn’t like the idea and he was only allowing it because his bishop is the one that approved it :wink: . Well they sent him all of our course work. When we finished, he stated that this was the best marriage prep program he had seen and he felt from reading through all of our assignments he felt we REALLY did our part in the program and the coordinators did a great job of teaching us.
Anyway, so no matter where or by whom you choose to get married, I advise you and your fiancee to take this course first.

Still not really sure why you don’t just get married in a Catholic church? Why does a JOP make you closer? I didn’t understand that part :slight_smile:

You both need to talk to your respective Catholic chaplains. If they are in contact, you can do your wedding prep. seperately. Shouldn’t be an issue, then you can plan the wedding itself and be good to go!


P.S. If one of you is downrange, obviously that will make things more difficult and you may just have to wait it out.

This is acceptable if the parties involved remain celibate until the actual Catholic marriage. You CAN use the law to your advantage by having a civil ceremony, moving to be closer, and then having a Catholic wedding.

I had to help my friend do this. He was at MacDill Air Force Base, and was going to be married in 4 months, but not before being transfered. As usual, he was irresponsible and DID NOT file housing paperwork in a timely manner, and wouldn’t have been able to get off base housing. So, we got them a FL marriage license, and went to a Notary at the local bank and she “married” them. 4 Signatures is all it took. That is all that is required in FL.

He moved out to Columbus AFB, got a house off base while she finished her Degree at USF. As long as you stick with Catholic teaching, you can use the Law to your advantage too. You can use the civil benefits of civil marriage, and just not have the full benefits of Catholic marriage.

My apologies, I didn’t mean to be vague on this. What we’re looking at doing is having a JOP in order to be stationed together, I’m at MacDill AFB (or will be once I get done with this deployment) and she’s in Germany at a base there. That’s where the being closer together comes into play. I really appreciate everyone’s help and the last thing we want to do is jeopardize our chances of having a Catholic marriage by getting a JOP. Thank you for all your help and for those who were unsure of my meaning initially, any guidance you could give would be greatly appreciated. I’ve contacted my chaplain out here and have yet to receive word back, I did that prior to posting on here the first time. Hopefully I’ll hear word back from him soon, the bottom line is that we want to be closer together but not at the expense of having our Catholic marriage. Thanks again to everyone who has posted.

Joe and Kathleen

Yeah, we mentioned that to our priest too. Being married by a JP for legal reasons alone, he said he’d marry us in his office if that were the case. This was just before a deployment when we were engaged. It’s simply against church teaching to be married outside of the church for any reason. Obviously we decided to wait.

You don’t have to use the Catholic chaplain, you could always go to a priest at a regular parish if they could get things started sooner.

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