Friends' marriage is falling apart


Some background info…

My friends V (27) and her husband H (33) have been married for close to four years. Their marriage is (as far as we know) valid. They have no children, although they have been trying to conceive for three years. They both attend Mass every Sunday.

The problem…

Their marriage has had its ups and downs. Blame lying on both sides. The situation reached a crisis point at the start of the year when H announced that it was over. Crisis was averted. They sought counselling. Continued living together etc.

Things appeared to V (and to me) to be improving. Two days ago, H announced that he is really and truly done this time. He says he’s leaving and he isn’t coming back. He and his best friend have been secretly applying for rental properties together. He has not mentioned divorce this time (although he has threatened it in the past) but he has said that he’s leaving and not coming back. There is no hint of another woman or anything like that.

V is distraught, and faces the possibility of having to take on housemates so she can continue to afford to rent the marital home.

I have never been married, and I have no idea what to say or do. Obviously I want to stick to defending the marriage in everything I say and do. I am not interested in bashing H, but I don’t think V is either. She wants her marriage to work.

Does anybody know of any Catholic-friendly resources that relate to living one’s faith and honouring one’s marriage despite a (possibly permanent) separation? It really does seem that H is done, so I’m not sure how likely he is to be willing to work on a reconciliation.



I have heard that infertility can be devastating for some couples. That likely puts a lot of stress on a couple, even absent other reasons. That said, the way H is behaving is really immature and unsettling, given the facts as you’ve presented here. I would encourage them to keep pursuing counseling.

It’s possible too that there are things V is not telling you (which is probably appropriate, as long as she’s not hiding abuse or anything like that). Talking about problems in a marriage is really tricky business, which is why it’s frequently good to get professional, confidential help.

I’ll be praying for your friend and her husband.


I will bet you a ham sandwich that he is seeing someone. This is pretty much textbook (4 years and 7 years are marks when the “new” wears off and eyes begin to wander sometimes).

If your parish has access to FORMED.ORG (or they can buy a membership for about the same price as Netflix), the 2 part series “BELOVED” is very good.



I hope that you are wrong and that you’ll owe me a ham sandwich, but yes I have heard that this is typical in situations of infidelity.


Thanks for these. Sadly we’re not in North America so I’m not sure if we can use these programs. But I think our parish does have Formed.


She’s definitely not being abused.

I just don’t know where she goes from here…he doesn’t want counselling. He doesn’t want to work on their marriage. She can’t make him see a family therapist or a priest.


Even if he won’t go to counseling, she can (and probably should, really, because it’s a mess of a situation and extra support never hurt anyone.)

If he’s that adamant about not fixing things, she may want to see a lawyer, too, just to know how to best protect herself.

I’m really sorry about this.


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