Living as Brother and sister now what?


Hello Forum,
I have been looking and looking for advice for my situation but it seems to stop short of what comes next.

About two months ago, i figured out that I am an adulteress by being married to someone who was married once before. He had promised to get an annulment years ago and I just by faith figured he would. It never really dawned on me that I was a sinner. I am slow I guess. This year, i came to realize I really needed reconciliation and through the crooked path God made it straight for me.

Since then I have visited a priest and deacon and realized we needed to live as brother and sister. It has made things miserable around here. He sees it as a splitting of hairs as he is not Catholic. I can no longer live in sin. He is depressed and the kids think I am not working on our marriage. As we are avoiding one another…I just don’t know how to act.

I realize here it would only be suggestions but often good ones, sometimes aweful, but I figured I would see. The brother and sister thing has been coming for a long time. I reverted 9+ years ago and knew immediately that something had to be changed in our intimacy, the entire catholic outlook is different than protestant. LIke the perspective is inside out.

Anyway…anyone have suggestion. Our children and MIL only know there are problems. I don’t think it is something they could understand…eventhough the adultery thing is straight from the bible.

Thank you in advance


My prayers for your difficult situation. Are you in contact with a good priest, on a regular basis?

My suggestion for you right now would be for you to get a good priest to give you spiritual direction at least once a month, and to discuss these issues with him in person, and in privacy. I am not talking about marriage counseling, but spiritual counseling for you.

Barring that, if I were in your situation, I would want to make a point of going to Confession at least once a week, even if I didn’t have anything particularly serious to confess, in order to heap up the graces of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


Can he not get a declaration of nullity for his first marriage? It might take a little while but the process shouldn’t be all that difficult.


Make an appt with Father, bring home the paperwork so he can begin the process.

Pray, pray pray!


Not sure what to say actually… It’s commendable that you have had this revelation after 9 years but what else is going on? Intimacy is crucial to a marriage, and his faith (I’m assuming protestant) is ok with divorce and apparently so were you for a long time.

Then all of a sudden you cut him off and tell him you two are living in sin because you “found out” something you should have known all along… am I correct so far?

Have you talked with him about getting an annulment from his first marriage or did you just tell him you too would stop having sex? Are you coaching him through the process and helping him understand? Have you told him in the past you thought it might come to this… or again did you just spring this on him?

Personally, and this isn’t in line with the thinking of the Church probably but I think you need to let it go until you two together can work on this. Are you truly committing a mortal sin? maybe… maybe not. You weren’t for years because you didn’t KNOW it was a sin and thus it can’t be mortal. At this point he obviously dosen’t believe that and you guys do have a duty to one another.

I would definitely talk with a Priest ASAP AND I would talk with him you two try to figure something out rather than just saying I found out the Church says something is wrong so leave me alone. Truthfully I don’t believe that is what Christ had in mind.

The Bible tells us about two people coming together as one flesh, each being responsible for the other… not using the teachings of the Church to tear a marriage apart.

Yea, I’ll get flamed for this suggestion but you didn’t know for years and to me it sounds like you are using this teaching to stir things up or your truly don’t understand it (ie I couldn’t go on living in sin… you weren’t because you didn’t know). As I said, talk with a Priest, your Husband and you guys pray about this and trust God with what He wants you to do… but make sure you are using this “teaching” to punish him for something or as a power play.



Thanks for the quick responses. Some of them too quick, indeed.

This isn’t about punishment, but how to deal with it now that it is. Thank you for the encouragement.

The point is that there have been problems all along because when you exchange vows that are invalid, there are many graces that are not given. There is no way to explain the entire thing in a forum like this, I just need suggestion for how to deal with it now that it is a part of our lives.

I am looking at making an appointment with a Catholic Counselor and the local priest.

Reconciliation with God’s church can cause division. That is biblical. Now what?

I have seen a trusted priest but since I have not seen one in twenty years it was crucial to meet with one filled with the holy spirit. He gave his advice and prayers. He is not exactly local. So now I am looking at reconciliation with the local trusted priest and it will take an appointment for this one.

Thank you for your prayers.


Oh, and it is not about annulment paperwork, that is something he understands and is working on.

It is just that I realized the reason why I am not able to receive communion and reconciliation. It is about my growth as a Catholic Christian.

we have the paperwork and our deacon has recently retired from the tribunal and is helping him.


Hello Mamaslo, The only thing I can say to you about your sad circumstance is that you will have to wait for the annulment, If you wish to receive the sacraments in the mean time you must abstain from the marriage embrace. If hubby cannot agree with that, continue to be faithful in your Mass attendance, and prayer life and trust that God will see you through it all.God bless you both. :)Carlan


I’d also suggest, mamaslo, that you do all you can to resolve this situation as soon as possible, and be as considerate as you can be to your husband and children in the mean time. If I understand you correctly, they didn’t ask for any of this and they probably feel somewhat baffled and frustrated by your behavior. I hope that, when you’re willing to take him back, your husband still wants to come back to you, and doesn’t harbor any bitterness.


Have you introduced your children to Catholicism? Get them into CCD classes, read books and watch videos, help them learn the Faith.

Make certain that they grow up knowing what the Church teaches.


Dearest Mamslo -

As my spiritual director says when I don things that are tough for the flesh but good for the spirit, “in the name of Jesus, thank you.”

You mentioned your husband feels you are splitting hairs and that your mother in law and kids know there’s a “problem”. Consider this period in your marriage as an opportunity to cleanse it of the stain of not living in a state of grace. You may also consider this an opportunity to evengelive those around you (husband, MIL and kids) as to the goodness of our holy faith and the infinite goodness and wisdom of God.

As others have said, pray mightily and pray without ceasing. Right now Satan will use every opportunity to create division and he will even attempt to magnify any of those past probles in your marriage that you alluded to. With prayer, faith and trust, however, you will be able to look back on this period as a strengthening.

Pray to the Holy Spirit – He will guide you. Listen in your heart to His whispering and He will give you all the advice, strength and help you and your family need.

Peace and love to you.


Thank you so much for your encouragement. You hit the nail on the head. Joe’s post the enemy really used that one. I looked inside at my heart and while we have issues, i am not a mean person. All along I thought it would be for my “husband’s” good. Even if he doesn’t see it right now. It is very disheartening, when I spend a lot of time in prayer, listening, in front of the blessed sacrament…to have someone say that I am punishing him. I am on a path of faith and I cannot see my next step. All along the Lord has been saying to me, “I am yours, You are mine”. Somehow the sacrifices made, will teach me how to love my neighbor better, if I don’t give in to despair. This is a very tough decision, but it cannot be any other way. It is a discernment process. I was just looking for suggestions in dealing with husband and children to maybe bring them joy or peace…and not lose faith.

Everyday I come home and it is a different scenario… I have gotten out the holy water, maybe it’s time again…and bless everyone’s rooms and beds with it.

We are all called to chastity. I am trying to live that way to be pleasing to my true husband, Jesus Christ.


Trust the whisper of the Holy Spirit and He will guide you and your family in peace and love. Similar to what we read in Psalm 19 and 1 Kgs 19:12, it will be a whisper. He is with you and in prayer we will all be with you too…

The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder’s craft.

One day to the next conveys that message; one night to the next imparts that knowledge.

There is no word or sound; no voice is heard;

Yet their report goes forth through all the earth, their message, to the ends of the world.


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