Is interior compulsion grounds for annulment?

If one person married another against their better judgement, and from interior compulsion (The fear of saying "no, I don't want to marry you.") and no exterior compulsion, is the act considered "free"?

i.e.

If I was told "I never wanted to marry you, I only did so because my self-esteem was low and I felt I had no choice, and I didn't want to cause a scene", would that be a valid marriage? Or would there be a defect of intent, or a psychological defect?

or "From the day I stood in front of the altar I knew I was making a mistake, I just did it because it was expected. I regret it every day."

Is this grounds for an annulment?

How would you prove that in an annulment tribunal?

While not an expert, I'm pretty sure that "I wish I hadn't" is not grounds for an annulment.

[quote="Fide_Roma, post:1, topic:228046"]
If one person married another against their better judgement, and from interior compulsion (The fear of saying "no, I don't want to marry you.") and no exterior compulsion, is the act considered "free"?

i.e.

If I was told "I never wanted to marry you, I only did so because my self-esteem was low and I felt I had no choice, and I didn't want to cause a scene", would that be a valid marriage? Or would there be a defect of intent, or a psychological defect?

or "From the day I stood in front of the altar I knew I was making a mistake, I just did it because it was expected. I regret it every day."

Is this grounds for an annulment?

How would you prove that in an annulment tribunal?

[/quote]

If this is anything like a serious question - you need to contact a priest or someone versed in this area and talk it over. No one here is qualified to answer the question.

Assuming you are strictly speaking hypothetically here, I will give a strictly hypothetical answer....
There is a slim chance that this might be seen as a legitimate defect but as you say it would be difficult to prove....In such a case, much would depend on the witness testimony. Did you tell this to someone else before the marraige?

The more important thing would be the reasons behind the "interior compulsion". In your first example of "low self esteem" one might make a case for not being mature enough to enter into a valid marriage. The actual ages of the those involved at the time of the wedding may factor into this as well as how long they had known each other and/or been engaged etc. The second example is far more problematic since many people have what amounts to "cold feet" on their wedding day....

All of the above is, of course, just my personal opinion based on what I learned during my own annulment process which had certain similarities to the above, but also had differences.

Peace
James

As JRKH pointed out, no one here is qualified to answer the question.

That said, I will offer this advice to anyone looking for an excuse to end their marriage. (This may or may not apply to you.)

Unless there is physical abuse going on, stop looking for a way out.

Pray to God for help in making your marriage work.
Pray to Mary for Her intercessions.
Pray to Joesph for help and prayers.

Then get to it. Love your spouse. Love isn't a feeling, it is a verb. Do things that show your spouse you love them. Forgive them when needed. Help them, pray for them, spend time with them doing the things they want to do. Love them.

In many cases, this is not easy.

In some it is almost impossible.

In all cases, with God's help, you can make it work.

I am not looking for a way to end my marriage, that’s impossible. A marriage cannot end. :wink:

I am WONDERING if these things that are said to me by my wife may or may not affect the legitimacy of it.

Last thing I want is to rend what has been joined by God. But if she never gave her full consent, or appeared to do so only grudgingly and without external coercion, is her consent free?

Well - since we now know that your question is not purely hypothetical, we can clearly say that you need to speak to someone with experience in this area…

Again, merely offering my opinion and on the very limited information you have provided, if there was no external coersion then her consent was free…However, there are also things that might have effected her ability to make a mature and informed commitment.
One might be as simple as age…Different people mature differently and if she had self esteem problems, that could have prevented her from making a fully informed decision.
Another might be that she never looked at marriage as a lifelong commitment…Has she always considered that divorce was an acceptable option?

Now you can take this for what it’s worth - it is merely my gut feeling - but if she were to file for divorce and then, after the divorce was final, you filed for annulment and she, on her questionaire, stated that she did not give full consent at the time of the marriage (for whatever reason), I believe the tribunal would look favorably on you.
Again all of this is pure speculation -

Peace
James

Fide Roma,

“Compulsion” is a strong term and generally means that a person was not making a free choice. A person can’t marry without actually choosing to do so. In the words of M. Pompedda, former dean of the Roman Rota:

“Besides the critical knowledge, discretion entails, moreover, internal freedom of the will in making the choice. In other words, an internal freedom is then present when the person, and particularly the one who is marrying, has the capacity for self-determination from within; this certainly does not require the absence of every kind of impulse which arises from the personality, the past life, the circumstances, education, habit and the dispositions of moral law; indeed, freedom can exist very well together with internal impulses of this kind, but it requires the capacity to resist them. Therefore, impulses can be present even in a person who still enjoys sufficient discretion; but then the internal freedom begins to be deficient when the person loses the capacity for resisting them, and while making the decision, that is, while choosing, begins to act out of those impulses and not out of his/her own will.” In such a case, the person is not consenting to marriage.

As far as proof: the person would have had to tell people about this lack of freedom consistently, before and after the wedding. The person would have to be shown to be someone who was susceptible to this internal coercion. Even though this is primarily an internal issue, there still has to be external factors that are significant enough to have been a true motivation to do what she did not want to do.

As others have said, it is best to personally speak to someone versed in these matters…as well as someone who can give “pastoral” advice.

Dan

Here is what you do need to know in your situation:

  1. All marriage bonds made in the Church between Catholics (I am assuming for now this is the case) are presumed valid

  2. No case can be investigated until the marital bond has been completely severed with no hope of reconciliation (civil divorce)

  3. At such time if a decree of nullity is not granted neither one of you will be free to marry again.

I would strongly suggest you go to some counseling immediately with your pastor and a trained Catholic counselor.

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