Living through a difficult marriage


I have a friend who is having a very difficult time with his marriage. We have searched for some Catholic literature in these forums and am hoping someone might have some recommended reading, videos etc so we can have more choices to select from. As we all know, divorce isn’t in the Catholic lifestyle. However, it does happen and in his case his wife has become anti catholic. She was brought up Catholic (a holiday Catholic). She does attend a non-denominational church and there are major conflicts involved. So what is he to do? He believes in the Catholic churches teachings, attends Mass alone but also attends her services too because he’s trying to figure out how to listen to her needs but it’s driving him crazy because he feels he’s serving 2 gods and I could go on & on. Bottom line, it’s difficult for a Catholic and many Christians also to survive such a situation and/or even come face to face with going for a divorce. He has attended some Christian counseling but she won’t attend. We understand that the Catholic church can’t endorse divorce, but what is a faithful person to do when a decision has to be made against your principles or live through a “tortuous” lifestyle. In closing he needs some Catholic input on how to offer his “sufferings” to God in the middle of all of this. So if someone can recommend Catholic literature dealing with such difficulties he will investigate them. Thank you.


Has he talked to his priest? He should seek spiritual counseling for himself even if she won’t go.

I would recommend Retrouvaille but you say she won’t go to counseling so she might not go to a retreat weekend either.

The book “When Only One Converts” might be helpful-- I’ve never read it and it’s based on one spouse converting TO Catholicism and the other remaining behind in Protestantism. But, maybe it has some pointers that would help in this situation.



Just posted this to a different thread…


Are they truly married or were they married by a judge only?


I second or third the advice that your friend speak with a priest or other Catholic advisor. If he is truly suffering and it’s affecting his mental/psychological health, he may be ok to legally separate to protect himself. Or they may be able to offer him help in how to better deal with the challenges in his marriage while staying with his wife.


Thank all of you for responding. Yes they were married in the Catholic church 6 years ago. I don’t know if they went to Mass together during their 1st 5 years as I have known them for only a year right now. I agree he should talk to a priest for spiritual counseling. They did a Retrouvaille 2 years ago. He has told me it didn’t do much good. May I ask you to include my friend in your prayers when you can. I’m afraid he really is going to have a difficult time and yes he’s going to suffer from bitterness and it’s going to take him apart. I will bring up to him again that he really should speak with a priest or counselor from a spiritual point of view.


My Spirit Rejoices by Elizabeth LeSeur

It’s her secret diary her husband found after her premature death in 1914. She used her frequent illnesses and his efforts to destroy her faith as means to grow in love for him and God. He became a Christian and entered the seminary to become a Catholic priest.

It reads very similarly to St. Faustina’s diary style-wise, so it may not be for everyone.


What does his wife want to do? Does she want to stay married or leave the marriage? What is the tortuous part of their marriage? All that seems to be discussed is the differences in their church attendance, which can be confusing and divisive but certainly is not grounds for divorce.

I tend to believe that nothing is actually grounds for divorce, except perhaps adultery. If his wife is willing to live with him peacefully, then they should stay together. When people talk about “serving 2 gods,” it’s a bad sign. There is only ONE God; different people and churces worship and serve him differently, but he listens to all people who dilligently seek him - from whatever church. If the couple can see this and focus on God himself and not the venue, that should really help.


Perhaps this video would help them?


Their differences in their church attendance certainly is confusing and divisive but the issues don’t stop there. Now let’s focus on the fact that there is only one GOD, absolutely true. But everyone needs to take a stand on how they serve GOD. A Catholic is taught about GOD the Catholic way and a non denominational person is taught about GOD according to their non-denominational church but each individual needs to take a stand on living their faith. When the non-denominational church tells him that their children must receive communion their way and forego the Catholic way that’s a major issue and that’s just the beginning of more worshipping differences. Keep in mind that each partner is focusing on GOD but they are not in tune on growing together in HIS name. Also, unfortuntely adultery was also involved.
Now maybe I need to clarify something: he’s trying to save the marriage and I don’t mean in name only. At this time I believe they have an excellent chance to save their marriage and that is also why I have posted what I did.
What I’m asking for is advice on literature, videos etc to help them see themselves in GOD’s light as they struggle through these differences and he is investigating the recommendations received in these posts although she isn’t.
Both of them have asked me to come up and pray with them tomorrow and I’m going to do so and I’m asking for your prayers also. Also I am not judging either one of them but they have asked me for help and I will do so the way GOD leads me.
Finally, thanks to these threads I don’t feel alone.


Well my friends, things are looking up. My friend and his wife had a meeting with both pastors of the non denominational church yesterday for about an hour and spent the rest of the day addressing their issues with each other for an additional 7 hours. The focus was on living according to God’s will and straightening out their issues through Him. Today they are continuing on that path. They know they have hurdles to clear but they have a better perspective today on what they need to do. Thanks to the initiative of both pastors who “imposed” upon them the importance of getting together to heal their marriage problems within God’s ways they now have a chance to stop some self destructive behavior. After all we are nothing on our own, but with God all things are possible. Also both of them are pursuing the recommendations and viewing the comments all of you have submitted. Let’s pray for them.


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