Marriage concerns....please help


#1

My husband and I have been married nearly 10 years, and did not get married in the Catholic Church at the time.

I have reverted back to the Church :D and have recently been asking my husband if we could have it recognised by the Church. He is not keen. So I have been praying for the situation to change.

Now, I am actually having concerns about our marriage. He doesn't mind me going to Church, but doesn't want me to join the church groups or go on the weekend retreat with the parish this coming July, which I would love to do. I am becoming very upset by this. I thought he was open minded and accepting of me becoming Catholic again, but something has changed and I am unsure why. All I want to do is to get to know Our Lord again. I think I have become a better person these last few months. I just don't understand why he can't see this. :confused:

So, my question, I guess is, if (and only if) things go bad between us, would I actually be able to marry again in the Catholic Church next time, if there's a next time? Or would a divorce be against Church rules even though we were never married within the Church?

Maybe I am thinking too far ahead, but I just really hope someone can answer my tricky question.

Thank you in advance.


#2

I urge you NOT to allow your thinking to go in this direction. You married your husband under one set of conditions, and you have changed the conditions. I know that you are a better person for going back to the Church but it’s not fair for you to be considering divorce at this point.

Of course your husband does not want you to participate more at church. He has lost a part of you that he was not in competition for (how he sees it) and you want to spend even more time away from him? He does not want to join you yet he probably also doesn’t want to be seen as a bad person because he isn’t there with you.

I tell you these things because I have lived with this situation for almost 20 years. My husband and I are both cradle Catholics and were both very lapsed when we met, dated, shacked up and then got married by a JP. When I got pregnant with our first son, I was very ill and very worried about the baby, and I started praying (funny how that happens). After he was born, I was a transformed person and went back to the Church. Hubby was stunned, but did the best he could and participated as much as he could. No ministries though. No other church activities. Nothing religious with the kids.

But since it was MY reversion that changed things in the marriage, I did not think it was fair for me to pressure him or God forbid, for me to leave him. I don’t know why God led me back to my faith when we had a good marriage of agreement about religion - it must be my cross to bear, maybe for my previous sin history. I have not led my husband back to Christ. And so far, the Holy Spirit hasn’t reached him either. All in God’s time, not mine. It is challenging for both of us. I know my husband doesn’t think the new me is an improvement - he wants the old me back. I think I’m not a very good example of spirituality because he sees no reason to return to God but then how much can I really do?

Anyway, enough about me. Don’t think about leaving your husband. Live each day the best way you can, as a faithful Catholic, pray for your husband, and don’t pressure him in any way. Maybe you will affect your husband - there are women here whose husbands have converted or reverted so not everyone is like me.

Hang in there, and pray to Mary!


#3

Thank you ‘The Real Juliane’. That was a great response.

Yes, we are very similar you and I. We ‘shacked up’ too. I sinned a lot, and was actually calling myself Pagan when we married. So yes, he would think I have changed a lot since we married.

Maybe I am being a bit selfish wanting to join the extra Church groups. I did say to him I would only attend Mass once a fortnight (but would love to go every week). This was so we could still have ‘family time’ on a Sunday every 2nd week. He seemed happy with this ‘balance’. Now, I must be asking a bit too much for him to handle.

I don’t force anything on him, but do wish he could find God again. We had both decided to bring our Children up as Catholics, so they were both Baptised and attend Catholic school, so this is a positive step. :slight_smile:

I will pray.

Thanks again for your advise, think I did need to hear it. Especially that first sentance.:wink:


#4

I agree… don’t let your thoughts go in that direction…

I encourage you to get to know St. Monica (google her!)… she prayed her entire life for the conversion of her husband (who converted a year before he died) and for her son, St. Augustine… she’s VERY powerful!


#5

You'd be surprised how many people are in a similar situation. My husband and I are both cradle Catholics, but he stopped practicing shortly afte we were married. He has come back for awhile here and there. I don't know why he is no practicing nowt, and discussing anything about the Church sets him off, so there is no discussion. I teach in the parish school of religion. The last time he got loud and walked off was when I told him I was researching an issue for my class because our books are old, some things have changed since they were published, and one of my students told me her father disagreed with what I had taught. My husband said he agreed with the student's father, that it wasn't right for the church to tell people what to do in that situation. BTW the vatican site I found said that what I taught was in fact correct.

I'm just telling you this so that you know you have much company. Let's pray for each other

God bless us every one.


#6

[quote="Angels_Eyes, post:3, topic:233727"]
Thank you 'The Real Juliane'. That was a great response.

Yes, we are very similar you and I. We 'shacked up' too. I sinned a lot, and was actually calling myself Pagan when we married. So yes, he would think I have changed a lot since we married.

Maybe I am being a bit selfish wanting to join the extra Church groups. I did say to him I would only attend Mass once a fortnight (but would love to go every week). This was so we could still have 'family time' on a Sunday every 2nd week. He seemed happy with this 'balance'. Now, I must be asking a bit too much for him to handle.

I don't force anything on him, but do wish he could find God again. We had both decided to bring our Children up as Catholics, so they were both Baptised and attend Catholic school, so this is a positive step. :)

I will pray.

Thanks again for your advise, think I did need to hear it. Especially that first sentance.;)

[/quote]

Every soul has a price. Some souls are cheap. Some souls are expensive. The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once told a story about how he was hearing Confession one Saturday night in the cathedral. One young woman came in and said, "I'm not here to go to Confession. I just want to kill a little time." He said, "Oh, and who are you trying to fool?" She said, "My mother." He said, "Oh, I see. How much time would you like to kill?" She said, "Oh, about five minutes." He said, "Are you afraid to go to Confession?" She said, "Yes!" He said, "Well, if you will allow me to move this little curtain aside and turn the light on and look at you, I might be able to make your confession for you." She said, "What are you? Some sort of wise guy?" He said, "No, but if you allow me to look at you, I may be able to help." So, she said he could. He looked at her once and said, "You are a prostitute." She said, "Yes! But that's not all!" So, he pleaded with her to tell him the rest for fifteen minutes, but she wouldn't. She left. So, he said he gave every penitent after that the penance of saying a "rosary for the conversion of a great sinner." They all said they would except one grouchy old woman who complained that she hadn't done anything that bad to have such a big penance. After Confession was over, Bishop Sheen went over to the Blessed Sacrament and knelt down, praying for the young woman. 9:00, 10:00, 11:00... About midnight, he heard the door to the cathedral open and thought it might be one of the other priests coming to check on him or the police checking to see why the lights were still on. No. It was the young woman, in tears, coming back to finish her Confession. He said that the "price" had been paid for her soul. Some souls, though, are much more expensive and require years of prayer and penance before their hardened hearts are softened.

I would recommend you pray the Rosary daily for your husband, and offer sacrifice (fasting is great, if you can), extra Masses during the week, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, etc. And ask others to do the same. :)

God bless!


#7

You need to talk to your priest about convalidation as soon as possible. If your husband refuses to give a new exchange of consent, talk to the priest about whether or not you can have a radical sanation for the marriage.

Right now you are in an invalid marriage. You need to decide if you want to stay married or not. Don’t go on in an invalid marriage with the idea that you can divorce later since it’s invalid. If you have reservations about whether or not you can marry him validly-- then do not convalidate and instead separate.

I don’t recommend separating, I think you need to make the firm commitment to stay married. Unless there is more you are not telling us. But as long as you are having this idea that there are things wrong in the marriage-- you should talk this over with a priest.

There was someone else on here a while back with similar issues-- and they thought their marriage might be about to break up, but they convalidated anyway. Only to find themselves divorcing a short time later and then having to go through a full tribunal petition for nullity.

I guess I’m saying, fish or cut bait. You have a decision to make. Don’t cling to the invalid status of your marriage as a future out. Eithe fix it and make the committment to a valid marriage or get out now.


#8

Here's the 2 problems:

  1. You are not married, but are living like you are.

  2. If you stop living like you are married, and civilly divorce, you will likely suffer many of the pain involved with a broken marriage.

It seems that #2 has been getting the majority of the concern here...people want you to avoid the pain of a broken relationship. However I wonder if there never was a civil marriage, if people would feel the same? maybe.

One thing that might be possible.... you are having problems in your relationship because you are not validly married. There is no grace there from the sacrament, and continuing in it is causing more spiritual warfare and keeping you from freely being able to give of yourselves fully. Not that a convalidation would solve everything, but it could be an underlying issue thats creating other problems. I would however, before convalidating make sure these problems are taken care of.


#9

I’m in a similar situation. We were married for 3 years before I returned to the Catholic Church. I did have my marriage convalidated and at the time my husband didn’t have much to say about it. Since then I have been told, repeatedly, how much he resents having agreed to the convalidation and how he wishes he had never gone through with it.

It’s now 5 years later and our marriage is not going well at all. I go to Mass on Sundays and I on one weekend retreat each year which he tolerates. I have tried to explain how important my faith is to me but it falls on deaf ears.

As other posters mentioned, I am the one who changed the rules of our marriage. I brought God into the marriage and my husband wants no part of God. Religion has put a lot of distance between us and we no longer discuss it all because we are both tired of arguing.

If you have concerns about your marriage lasting a convalidation will only complicate things because then if you decide to leave you will have to file for a declaration of nullity.


#10

'The Real Juliane - what a great response.

1 Cor 7:16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband; or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Love your husband, focus on your marriage, and talk about your faith with friends - don't be in-your-face to your husband and then become a stumbling block.

In our marriage, it was my husband who hung in there until I came around. I'm so grateful he did!

I don't know if you like to read, but Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas is an excellent book. It is not Catholic, but I highly recommend it. "What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy" is the descriptor. :thumbsup:


#11

The issue here is that she is not married and doesn’t have a husband.


#12

:confused: Umm last I heard not all marriages that are instaneously considered invalid when not performed in a Catholic church. She would have to apply for an annulment IF things go bad. And she’d not be guarnteed to get one. She does have a serious impediment, but she is not (as one poster suggested) anywhere near shacking up. At this point it’s speculation. If she was an unbeliever (baptized but not confirmed), as was her husband, even a JP wedding can be considered valid under the right circumstances.

What is more concerning right now is the abusive tendencey he is displaying considering letting his wife have some time.


#13

Um…no, she would not have to apply for an annulment. It’s lack of form. She is not validly married, at all. She was baptized Catholic and was not married in the church, it is not valid.


#14

[quote="agapewolf, post:8, topic:233727"]

It seems that #2 has been getting the majority of the concern here...people want you to avoid the pain of a broken relationship. However I wonder if there never was a civil marriage, if people would feel the same? maybe.

[/quote]

There are young children involved who deserve a mother and father raising them in a loving household. So, yes, if they weren't married I would encourage them to get married. Since they are not validly married, that's what a convalidation or radical sanation does.

The only caution I have is that if she believes there are impediments that would lead to an invalid convalidation she should separate instead. If there are serious problems in the marriage that cannot be overcome with counseling, then she needs to think twice before convalidating.


#15

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:12, topic:233727"]
Umm last I heard not all marriages that are instaneously considered invalid when not performed in a Catholic church.

[/quote]

This is not true when there is a lack of form. Such unions are per se invalid. They do not go before a tribunal and no decree of nullity is issues. There is no presumption of validity in this case because the canon is clear that the marriage is invalid.

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:12, topic:233727"]
She would have to apply for an annulment IF things go bad.

[/quote]

Not in the case of invalid form.

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:12, topic:233727"]
And she'd not be guarnteed to get one. She does have a serious impediment, but she is not (as one poster suggested) anywhere near shacking up. At this point it's speculation.

[/quote]

It is not speculation. It is a clear fact.

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:12, topic:233727"]
If she was an unbeliever (baptized but not confirmed), as was her husband, even a JP wedding can be considered valid under the right circumstances.

[/quote]

Not if one party is a Catholic.


#16

Thanks for that Emily. :slight_smile:
Saint Monica sounds like she was an amazing and strong woman. I will research her more. I actually have purchased a book recently called: The Confessions of Saint Augustine, I am sure this book will have a lot about her in it.:slight_smile:


#17

[quote="Scoobyshme, post:6, topic:233727"]
Every soul has a price. Some souls are cheap. Some souls are expensive. The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once told a story about how he was hearing Confession one Saturday night in the cathedral. One young woman came in and said, "I'm not here to go to Confession. I just want to kill a little time." He said, "Oh, and who are you trying to fool?" She said, "My mother." He said, "Oh, I see. How much time would you like to kill?" She said, "Oh, about five minutes." He said, "Are you afraid to go to Confession?" She said, "Yes!" He said, "Well, if you will allow me to move this little curtain aside and turn the light on and look at you, I might be able to make your confession for you." She said, "What are you? Some sort of wise guy?" He said, "No, but if you allow me to look at you, I may be able to help." So, she said he could. He looked at her once and said, "You are a prostitute." She said, "Yes! But that's not all!" So, he pleaded with her to tell him the rest for fifteen minutes, but she wouldn't. She left. So, he said he gave every penitent after that the penance of saying a "rosary for the conversion of a great sinner." They all said they would except one grouchy old woman who complained that she hadn't done anything that bad to have such a big penance. After Confession was over, Bishop Sheen went over to the Blessed Sacrament and knelt down, praying for the young woman. 9:00, 10:00, 11:00... About midnight, he heard the door to the cathedral open and thought it might be one of the other priests coming to check on him or the police checking to see why the lights were still on. No. It was the young woman, in tears, coming back to finish her Confession. He said that the "price" had been paid for her soul. Some souls, though, are much more expensive and require years of prayer and penance before their hardened hearts are softened.

I would recommend you pray the Rosary daily for your husband, and offer sacrifice (fasting is great, if you can), extra Masses during the week, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, etc. And ask others to do the same. :)

God bless!

[/quote]

Loved the story Scooby, thank you. I have a feeling my husband has an expensive soul. ;)
I never forget to remind myself that this is his life and his journey through life, and I have never tried to convert him at all. He is happy to bring the children up Catholic though and this I am very thankful for. He was a cradle Catholic, and attended Church every Sunday as a boy, and I do think there is still a spark there. I will pray that God can help this to become brighter again, and continue to pray the Rosary. Thank you. :)


#18

To all of these wonderful posts, thank you all.

So much good advice. :slight_smile: I cannot thank you enough, I was really starting to feel unsure about a lot of things.

I would like to stay married. I do not want to be a statistic, the 1 in 3 (or is it 2 now?) marriages that end in divorce.

Often I think that God intending for me and my husband to be together for a reason. I really feel that we both have things to learn out of our marriage, and maybe my lesson will be the most difficult, and will involve me learning to be a stronger woman, both spiritually and mentally to be able to get thru the harder times. I guess this is just marriage.

He does sometimes say degrading and hurtful things to me, and is often confused as to why I decided to find God again after being Pagan and a Spiritualist. For some reason he finds this harder. He never said anything when I was practising the other religions. God threatens him somehow. I don’t really understand it. :confused:

I like what one ‘poster’ wrote, saying that maybe if we were to have it validated in the Church, the marriage would actually improve. This is true and I would love to think this could happen, but sadly to my husband he is saying it is only a piece of paper for him to sign, he doesn’t understand why it means so much to me. I said to him it does and if he could just sign it, that’s all I want for our 10 year anniversary (on the 5th of May this year). We just spoke about this a few days ago. I don’t want to push him though, and so probably won’t mention it again :frowning:

Life would be so much easier if I had a spiritual husband, but as another ‘poster’ said, and I agree, this is probably my cross to bear too.

Thank you all again. It’s so nice to know I am not alone through this, others are in the same situation, and maybe my husband will find that ‘spark’ in him again soon. :slight_smile:


#19

The St Monica Prayer is great. I say it for all my kids and husband.

My husband was very negative when I embraced the Church. It has been 7 months and he is slowly coming around. He has never gone to a daily mass before but went to Ash Wednesday mass with me. It is my birthday today and he bought me a gift at a Catholic store. He is even talking of joining the Knights of Columbus.

I have been praying and praying and praying. Everyday :slight_smile: It seems to be working. :smiley:

Don’t give up.


#20

[quote="cviolette, post:19, topic:233727"]
The St Monica Prayer is great. I say it for all my kids and husband.

My husband was very negative when I embraced the Church. It has been 7 months and he is slowly coming around. He has never gone to a daily mass before but went to Ash Wednesday mass with me. It is my birthday today and he bought me a gift at a Catholic store. He is even talking of joining the Knights of Columbus.

I have been praying and praying and praying. Everyday :) It seems to be working. :D

Don't give up.

[/quote]

Happy Birthday!!!!!!! What a special gift he must have given you. To walk into a Catholic store to purchase it, must have been a big step for him. That is so good. You must be thrilled too that he attend mass with you on Ash Wednesday. Can't imagine my husband doing that for a very long time, but I will pray for it.

Wow, the power of prayer. It does sound like God has answered your prayers. That is amazing! You have given me hope. :)

Thank you.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.