Hi. I am new to these forums so please bear with me. My DH and I will be married 10 years this fall. We were not married in church, but we are both baptized/confirmed Catholics. The only reason we didn’t do the church thing was because we didn’t “want a big wedding.” We would like to have our marriage convalidated, however, we’re both a bit apprehensive about it. I think my biggest fear is disappointing our pastor when he finds out we weren’t married in church. We recently became parishioners at my DH’s childhood church and absolutely adore the pastor. I’m also a little freaked out about everything else - not being able to receive Communion, the fact that we’re “living in sin”, etc. It’s a bit overwhelming, but I really want to do this. My DH does too, but I think he’s kind of freaked out too. We’re procrastinating making an appt with the pastor because we both feel like he’s going to be disappointed. DH is always pushing me to talk to him either after mass or in the office, but I feel like this is something we should have a sit down about, not just a by the way kind of conversation. Would you agree?

I guess I’m just trying to calm my fears and realize that I’m not the only one going through this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you.


my ex and I were married in a united church and after 11 years I had ours sanated by the catholic church…it was extremely easy…no weekend marriage course, just a quick bit of paperwork and we were done…

don’t worry about it…just go talk to your priest and all should be good…


Whether or not the priest is disappointed is his personal opinion. Likely, he will be very happy that you have decided to have your marriage validated and that you will be able to return to active practice of the Catholic faith.

Usually there are two options for validation of a marriage - convalidation and radical sanation. Convalidation is a formal ceremony but it does not have to be a big party. DH and I were married civilly as he had not yet received a declaration of nullity from his first marriage (but there was undeniable evidence that the marriage was not valid). Consequently our marriage was convalidated 17 months after our civil marriage. Father added it to a normal Sunday Mass. Sometimes it may even be done in a private ceremony. The two of you must both understand that a convalidation is NOT a renewal of your vows - it is the expression of a new commitment because you are not married in the Church yet.

For those who do not wish to have a formal ceremony, or if one spouse does not wish to make a new declaration of consent (often because he/she feels the original consent was valid), a radical sanation is a possibility. This is a documentary (paperwork) process in which the Church validates your marriage as of the date you were legally married. Your marriage certificate will specify the date of your legal wedding as the marriage date, and this will be added to your baptismal certificate at the church where you were baptized. By contrast, in a convalidation, the date of the convalidation is the marriage date, and this date is added to the baptismal certificate.


The priest should be delighted that you want to do the right thing. That is one of the reasons he is a priest! Don’t hesitate to go and see him.


I’m sure the Priest in your parish would LOVE to have your marriage blessed by the Church, so I wouldn’t worry about it.


Nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s a very simple process. The biggest obstacle for us was getting my wife’s Anglican baptismal records. I can say in this regard that the Catholic Church is far more efficient than the Anglican Church! :stuck_out_tongue:

I received my baptismal certificate in the mail 2 days after calling the parish I was baptized at.

My wife’s Anglican baptismal certificate literally took months to arrive.

We did this because I had been a lapsed Catholic when we married, and we married in a civil ceremony. We had no prior marriages and no impediments so it was an easy process once we got all the necessary papers rounded up.

Priests today are aware of the many irregular situations with regards to couples cohabitating, civil marriages, impediments, etc., and usually do their best to help! They won’t be disappointed, they will applaud you for reaching this important milestone in your faith walk.

Also don’t beat yourself up over the “living in sin” thing. Faith is a life-long conversion process, a road we go down at different speeds according to our own particular circumstances and understanding. The important thing is that you’ve come this far down the road that you recognize the necessity to make your situation sacramental.

I can promise you one thing, once you do make your marriage sacramental, graces will flow from that sacrament. You will be pleasantly surprised! :thumbsup:


Please speak to your pastor (or another priest at your Church). He will not be disappointed in you, but rather happy that you are ready to fix this.

I was married outside the Church to a Jewish woman and could not receive communion. When I returned to the Church the priest helped me attempt to convalidate my marriage. But when my wife was not on board, I went through the Radical Sanation process after approx 6 months of trying to convince my wife about the convalidation.

Now, I help Catholics in my parish who are in your shoes or help explain the “options” to Catholics who are in relationships with non-Catholics in case they wish to get married.

The convalidation is pretty easy. Two witnesses, the two of you, & the priest. Depending on the Bishop, the paperwork might be easy or a little harder, but the priest will guide you through the process.

If you need someone to chat with, please feel free to PM me.

God Bless


:thumbsup: Remember, other than the Blessed Mother or Christ Himself, none of us has lived a sinless life! We all falter. What’s important is what we do about it and it sounds like you are really trying to correct this.

Don’t worry about the priest. He should be very pleased to try to help you.


Thanks for all your kind words. I feel a little more at ease now. We love our priest so much, I won’t even go to him for confession! He actually has no idea that we weren’t married in church, so I guess that’s why I feel a little awkward about telling him. But I think he’ll be ok. Thanks again everyone! :slight_smile:


Remember, that since you and your husband are both Catholic, you are not married in the eyes of God or the Church. So you need to get this done as soon as possible because you should not even be receiving communion unless and until it is done. This is not a trifling matter, and as others have posted, your priest will be delighted and happy to help you. He will not judge you at all but just be glad to do it now. I know, because I had to have my marriage convalidated. We had a very small ceremony, only the two witnesses.


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