Could God's will EVER be to divorce?


#1

I want to thank in advance those who take the time to read this, because I fear it will be rather lengthy…but I am in desperate need of advice (and prayer!)

My husband and I have been married a little over 2 years. We dated off and on for about 4 prior to getting married. I was the one who always broke up with him - mainly because I just didn’t feel as strongly about him as he felt about me. Somehow he always convinced me to give it another chance, that he knew I had feelings for him…and I always gave it another chance.

During one of our “off” periods he joined the military. He wanted to get away from me so he could “get over” me and move on, I suppose. Well, I missed him like crazy and we wrote love letters back and forth during his basic training, and I felt strongly that I had finally gotten my prayers answered and that he was “the one”.

I brought up marriage and 5 months later we were married. During our engagement I realized again that my feelings weren’t as strong, but I couldn’t bear the thought of telling him or calling off the wedding (especially since I had been the one to suggest we get married). During our engaged encounter weekend we actually FOUGHT the whole time and I remember thinking that we had no business getting married - but the wedding was 2 weeks away and I just couldn’t call it off.

SO, here we are a little over 2 years later and we have suffered through a miserable first few years. We fight horribly, we are not kind to each other, and there are so many issues that I fear will never be resolved. He isn’t Catholic and while that didn’t seem to bother me as much while we were dating, I find it very difficult to deal with now.

After our most recent fight, my feelings that I had been keeping to myself poured out and I told him that I hadn’t really wanted to get married…and he told me that he knew I didn’t “love him unconditionally”. Things are, of course, horribly awkward and sad at our house. He is so hurt, and I hate that I hurt him. I truly feel like we should never have gotten married, but of course now I have no idea what to do about it.

I hate the idea of divorce, but our situation is complicated by the fact that we are stationed in Germany for the next TWO years - which means we have pretty much no resources when it comes to marriage help. I have sought counseling multiple times over the past 2 years (for myself, he wouldn’t come along), but the counselors were very unhelpful. I have heard great things about Retrouvaille, but they don’t have them here, and we don’t have the luxury of being able to fly back to the states to attend a retreat.

Things can’t stay the way they are now, but also I don’t know what to do, where to turn. We can’t stay in this limbo for 2 years until we get back to the states. And is this something that can be overcome? Can God make me fall in love with my husband? Can He make me love him unconditionally? I prayed for that all while we were dating and it never happened…

(God bless you if you made it through this post:o )


#2

The answer to the title of your post is yes…but that is not the answer that I would give you to the problems that you are facing in your marriage. Love is not just a feeling. You are putting too much of an emphasis on needing to “feel” this great feeling. Love is sacrificial. It is others centered. You need to stop focusing so much on your own feelings and start thinking about what you can do for your husband. God isn’t going to “make” you love him unconditionally, the way a wife needs to love her husband. You need to make the conscious decision that this is what you are going to do.

Do you have a good priest there that you can talk to? That is probably the first place that I would look.


#3

First of all…if he is willing consider going to good Catholic counseling. consider also a retrouvaille retreat if you have one available.

God’s will is that what God has joined together let no man separate. However, right now, you need to pray very hard and get yourself for some good counseling. Talk also to your confessor about your grave concerns about your marriage. With all things…keep praying!

exceptionalmarriages.com/about.htm
www.familyministries.org click on marriage/divorce
exceptionalmarriages.com/quiz2.htm


#4

As I mentioned, we are living in Germany - our resources are VERY limited when it comes to counseling. There are no Retrouvaille retreats here, and my husband can’t get enough leave from his job (the ARMY) to go back to the states for one. I searched for counselors for the past 2 years here, with very little success, and again, as I said, he wouldn’t go with me.( I did check out the links on tele counseling, and it is something i will look into)

I don’t believe that our marriage is sacramental, because I feel like I went through with it only out of sympathy for him and also fear of what he would do if I called it off (during one of the times I broke up with him when we were dating he actualy threatened to kill himself…pulled out a gun while I was standing in front of him)

So while I don’t want to seek a divorce, my question is, how can I figure out what to do - with little to no counseling or retreat resources available to us and two more years ahead of us in Germany…I feel very much in a no win situation - for both of us.


#5

God’s will is never divorce. Scripture tells us that much.

However, I’m sure that sometimes God’s will is a seperation and civil divorce (i.e. in the eyes of the state but not God).

If he’s threatening to kill himself while you are breaking up with him, then he’s really controlling you via that method. From what I know it is unhealthy for you to stay in the relationship. The church allows civil divorce when a person is being abused (and mental abuse is just as serious as physical). It will only get worse if he doesn’t get help. What if he threatens to kill you?

You need to find a good priest and some sort of way of getting help. Call every counselor in the phone book if that’s what you need to do. They can analyze your situation and help you. Even if you have to go very far out of your way.

God also won’t make someone fall in love with someone else, that’s not the definition of love if it’s forced.

Praying for you in any event, and let us know what happens. I strongly suggest, again, that you seek out a priest.


#6

Then go to exceptional marriages link …they do phone counseling too. Also consider going to the chaplain at the base…or the local Catholic church. There are counselors available…even if it is long distance.


#7

Hearing more of your details, I would agree with AHapka. He is playing a powerful and dangerous game of control with you. Please see your priest or the base chaplain for more guidance.


#8

Civil divorce was, I believe, God’s will for my life. I had allowed my husband and my marriage to actually get between me and God. They were “idols” of a sort. The divorce brought me back to God in a powerful way.

So, it can happen, But I agree that Sydney’s marriage needs priestly help or counseling. For God, all things are possible, so don’t give up hope, but do take care of yourself.

Praying for you, OP.


#9

Do you have a priest on your base? I would guess that you do, being that my brother was stationed in Germany and said there are priest on every base. Go talk to your base priest. Most of them also recieve training in counceling not only from the Church but also from the Army.
If for some reason you don’t have a priest on base, find a priest that speaks english in your area. Most people in Germany around military bases speak english. Talk to them, there is a good chance they can give you the resources that you are not finding on your own.


#10

Doesn’t the military have counselors? I can’t believe that with some of the problems of Military life they would not have counselors. And like others have mentioned there has to be at least one Catholic Priest on base.


#11

There are priests on base, and I have talked to one in particular in the past. I plan to talk with another next week sometime.

As far as military counseling services - I actually called about that and was told that they only do marriage counseling for dual-military families…which we are not.

I’m not giving up - I just know that we are beyond being able to fix things on our own and what I think would serve us best (from my research) would be the Retrouvaille retreat, which unfortunately isn’t an option for us here :frowning:

Thanks to all who are offering advice, and especially prayers :slight_smile:


#12

Oh my goodness, what are they thinking?!! Even private sector companies will cover counseling under insurance if one of the spouses works for the company! That is such a huge disservice to our military personnel! I would make a big stink about that and try to get some “squeeky wheel” action. Since your husband is not married to another military person, his quality of life is none of their business?

I’m almost pssd enough about that to write a letter to my congressman.


#13

Yeah, they actually referred me to a lady who was there for a few weeks as a contractor - but she wasn’t a marriage counselor - more of a “good listener”. I was pretty surprised that the actual military didn’t offer more. Maybe that is just at our base, I’m not really sure…

In an update to our situation - I did have a pleasant conversation with my husband before leaving for work tonight and I am hopeful that we can try the tele-counseling for starters. Neither one of us want divorce.


#14

That makes you strong and makes your chances very good! Praying for you both.


#15

Go to militaryonesource.com ASAP

They have ways to connect you with counseling, whoever told you that you could not get help because you are not dual military is poorly informed. They also can set you up with tele counseling if that is needed due to your location - which is usually only needed in very remote assignments.
This is a much better system than in the years past.

Also there should be a chaplain on call at all times (the on call may or may not be catholic, but in a crisis you need someone and they are trained to respect and support all faiths.)

Many in the military parishes are trained in counseling (esp for military circumstances) in addition to being a priest. Keep in mind that this may not neccessarily be the priest that you see celebrating the Mass as he may be serving as a counselor.

Another problem that I encountered while we were young and new the the lovely army is my dh (jr enlisted at the time) had been told by his superiors that any counseling would be ‘bad’ on his record which could effect promotions, for which reason he refused for sometime to go to counseling. This is completely false. FALSE! If he goes thru the Priest or any other chaplain (Mil or not) none of this is ever reported to his chain of command. If sessions are scheduled during duty hours he will get an appt slip that says he has an appt with the chaplain (for him to be released from duty to go), and the time but no other information will be on it, and God forbid that someone would have the nerve to ask what for, he is not required to respond and I would recommend he see his EO rep immediately and let the chapain know if this happens. If he seeks counsel thru the MTF it is pretty much the same, but if he threatens to harm himself or others they are requried to report that.

Please do not feel that all is lost, the military has changed much over the last 17 years that dh has been in, we have more resources than ever, I feel much more than we would have if we were in the civilian world.

Get involved in the community where you are, there are many volunteer opportunities (and you would get free childcare while you are volunteering) and also become active in your FRG/FSG, I don’t know your dh’s rank but the JEFC was a life/sanity saver for me when we were elidgible (activities for me and the kids, daytrips, I utilized the sewing machines there before we could afford one of our own).

My prayers are with you
God be with you


#16

Some of the best priests around are our military chaplains. Make use of that benefit to being in the military.

You need to do whatever you can to fix your marriage before you give up on it. I would say that if it ended tomorrow, you have a very good case for “lack of due discretion” and that emotional blackmail with the gun before the wedding… what can I say? I’ve seldom heard of shotgun weddings where the groom was pointing the gun at himself. But it’s the same lack of full consent when there is force or duress present.

If you try to stick it out, make sure your reasons are for love and not pity. Date him. Get to know him. Court him within your marriage. Love is a decision. Long-married spouses “fell in and out of love” many times during their marriages. It’s not all buttercups and roses. The winners don’t quit at the low point. But that is where you can meet Christ and deepen your relationship with Him, keeping Him a part of your marriage.

There is something to be said for being loved by someone as much as your spouse seems to love you. You don’t love him in return to that degree? Is there anyone you would love that much? Have you ever loved someone that much? If you let go of this, would you regret it someday when you found that you were in a relationship where YOU were the one who was giving more and getting less?

Love wants to be returned. You don’t seem to feel you have that to give, yet you married him anyway. Well, why not try to write to each other. Go back to what worked for you in the beginning. Get to know him that way. You might find you deepen your relationship.

Here are some practical truths you can work with:

  1. You cannot change another person’s behavior. You can only change your own. Often that produces a change in the people around you.

  2. When you treat someone kindly, you begin to feel more kindly toward them. This is a very important psychological fact that is at the basis of a lot of therapy. Your actions affect your feelings. Behave in a certain way and you become that person. That’s how the military trains people. They take wide-eyed recruits and by drilling and practicing over and over they become strong brave soldiers. They behave like soldiers, they march like soldiers, they dress like soldiers, and so they become soldiers.

That works with relationships. Treat him as if you like him. Stop the unkindness. You will like yourself more and in turn you won’t feel guilty, which causes people oddly enough to behave worse toward the people they hurt. Apologize for hurting him. Start doing him favors. Behave as if you like him. Smile at him. It will change how you view HIM. That will affect how he views you.

  1. Make a point of having fun together. Shared jokes, shared laughter, shared fun make a huge difference.

  2. Write down a list of ten things you like about him. Read it to yourself every day. In two weeks show him that list. He needs to see it. He may surprise you with his own list. If you can’t think of ten things, write as many as you can. If you practice steps 1 to 3, you may find in a few days you can think of more things about him you like.

  3. Remember he is a child of God. Treat him with the dignity he deserves. You are the face of Christ and the Catholic Church to him. You can be the person who helps him to embrace it, or you can be the reason he turns away from it in disgust someday and uses you as his excuse of “what Catholics are like.” Why do you all of a sudden find his not being Catholic difficult to deal with? Is it an excuse to pull away from him? Is your faith becoming more important to you?

  4. Remember you’re under stress from other things like living overseas and being newlyweds. Don’t take it out on each other.

  5. Keep a diary. You may find over the months that things are getting better and you only realize it by writing things down and measuring it. Put away all talk of leaving for at least half a year and then come back and analyze what you should do. It may be much clearer then. Give him time to adjust to things. You have had six years at least of knowing him. If you don’t want to divorce, your other choice isn’t living in misery. It could be fixing what you have.

  6. Sit down and ask him to help you draw up a plan of things you can do to fix it. You may be surprised by his suggestions. Or they may clarify what you need to do next in regards to staying or leaving. Men like measurable benchmarks. Military guys are good at having a concrete plan of action to pursue. But right now you both seem to be viewing each other as the enemy. Find a way to negotiate a ceasefire so you can build a coalition there. :wink:

  7. If you turn down the volume and ratchet down the hostilities and he continues to be argumentative and hurtful, that will give you a clue whether the problem is more him than you. If you plan to live with him for the rest of your life, you have to find a way to do it so you’re not both miserable. You take the first step. He seems tenacious and not a quitter. Lots of men do quit and leave families. You need to pull the dagger out with all the words you said and patch up that wound. Think about it… this is a man who knew he loved you more than you loved him. He saw so much value in you that he married you even though he knew you didn’t love him unconditionally. What are you looking for in a man that such devotion isn’t enough for you? Have you ever been in love with someone? Are you confusing this with the butterflies that go with infatuation? Do you expect bells and whistles?

Please pursue this with a chaplain. Do whatever it takes to save it. That way if it doesn’t work, you will KNOW you tried everything. Good luck. :thumbsup:


#17

I didn’t see anyone reference the Red Cross. They deal with a lot of serious and emotional situations and they may be able to point you in the right direction. You may also want to get yourself checked out. Is there any medical reason for your change of heart over him?

Yes, there is a negative reprocussion for some forms of counceling. When applying for certain possitions the applicant has to report any treatment for mental health including counceling but normally grief and marriage counceling not involving violence are normally excluded.

With the activities in Iraq our forces are stressed and our support systems are stressed. It could be that they just didn’t have time and were hoping to reduce their work load. You may find people are more responsive if you see them in person instead of calling them on the phone.

I have only been on this forum a little while but there seem to be a lot of sympathetic “ears” here.


#18

Neither one of us want divorce

Please forgive my abruptness, but whether either of you want a divorce seems to not be the question. Instead the question seems more aptly to be, “do I want to stay married to a man who carries a gun, threatens to use it on himself to coerce me and consistently refuses counselling?”

At least, please prayerfully consider the above description of your marriage might constitute grave reason to use NFP to avoid pregnancy.

Sydney, you suspect the marriage is probably not sacramental. I second your suspicion.


#19

Well, the story leading up to the marraige and the next two years seem alot like my story. I am, first off, disgusted that the army is so worthless at helping you, its a disgrace.

My happiness in my marriage seems directly opposite of my expectations. Some people think the fairy tales are something to be had. Truth is alot harder to swallow. There are no true fairy tales, everything is going to be harder than it looks, and falling in love is not the last thing you need to do to make a marriage work. I love my wife dearly, but without commitment, patience, understanding, support, and good communication even the best of loves will fail in the end.

we will see our 6 year anniversary soon, and we look back and laugh all the time how we acted just a few short years ago. Boy the things we have learned by sticking to it. I cannot wait to see whats in store for our 50th anniversary, I bet we will still fight (er, debate)sometimes. lol


#20

www.retrouvaille.org

You need it. Desperately.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.