I’ve read countless posts here about marriage, inter-faith marriage and anullment. I know all the basic concepts and have read the details of the Catholic church’s policies and rules. After all that, however, I still have a question that I know someone here can help me with.
My wife and I have been married almost 27 years. We have raised a number of children (we now have a grand daughter as well). At no time has there been a cause for either of us to consider divorce.
I am a Reformed believer, that is to say I belong to the Presbyterian Church of America (not the big old liberal PCUSA, we are a small conservative denomination). For many years, so was my wife. Several years ago, much to my dismay, she began a journey that ended with her leaving the church and joining the Catholic Church.
I’m not here to debate or raise issues of faith, though. I’m here because there is one large issue on which we cannot agree. She claims I do not know the teaching of the Catholic Church on this, but I believe she is just not hearing me.
Since we were both unmarried and both had been baptized in a Trinitarian manner and we were married in a church, I know the Catholic church presumes our marriage valid. I’m not questioning that part.
My belief is that due to the fact that she got pregnant at 17, and we were married very quickly after that, she could - if she chose - get a decree of anullment. I know she would first have to divorce me and only then pursue the decree; I’m not even suggesting that she wants to do that. I know she does not. It just bothers me.
It’s not even a completly rational thought, I know. I’m looking down a path that she does not want ot take, but, at an emotional level, I am upset that this couse is even open to her. My church expressly forbids me to divorce her, except for adultry - again, not that I’m looking to divorce her. I am just forbidden and she is free to make a choice. It bothers me.
I’ve asked her to have our marriage blessed; even though I believe going to Mass is a sin for me, I would go and get the marriage blessed just to remove this topic from discussion. She has always refused to do this.
The real issue is how she just dismisses my feelings as irrevelant because she would never divorce me. Well, she would also never leave the Reformed faith and join the Catholic church, something we talked about early in our marriage as a thing we could not accept from each other. So, to me, every choice she has ever made is on the table.
The issue of anullment is really secondary, I know. The root cause is my fear that every choice she has ever made open for re-investigation. Still, on this one small thing I need to know. If she divorced me, she has probable grounds to believe a tribunal would rule in her favor. Getting our marriage blessed (convalidated?) would remove this possibility.
Thanks for any help.