Marriage Issue


#1

Hi all; I hope this doesn't come off sounding totally ridiculous, but I am struggling with an issue concerning my marriage. My husband and I married outside the Church 21 years ago. It was a "rush" wedding due to child custody issues from my previous marriage, and I didn't have time to have my first marriage annulled (it has since been annulled though!). Neither of us were "practicing" Catholics at the time, and so we didn't think anything about being married outside the Church. Years later, I began to feel convicted of this, and so we went to our local parish to speak to a priest about it. He urged us to make this right ASAP. We were living in another state at the time, and I had serious reservations about doing a convalidation ceremony outside of my home diocese and on a date that was waaaayyyy off from our original marriage date. But since we were both technically "living in sin", we agreed and the ceremony went forth. The whole ordeal felt rushed: we didn't dress up, had no pictures, flowers, or anything nice. I am still having a hard time 4 years later dealing with the differences in marriage dates and not having my new marriage certificate show our marriage as taking place in my home diocese, which incidently, we are now back in. Is there anything I can do? Are there any "do overs"? Am I correct in assuming that my original marriage date doesn't matter anymore because in the eyes of the Church it was invalid and now I have to go by the newer date? I would just like to look back on that moment and be happy about it, not stressed out because things were not right and I'm feeling I missed out on having a beautiful, memorable wedding that every girl dreams of. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks :)


#2

[quote="DatGirl, post:1, topic:314850"]
Hi all; I hope this doesn't come off sounding totally ridiculous, but I am struggling with an issue concerning my marriage. My husband and I married outside the Church 21 years ago. It was a "rush" wedding due to child custody issues from my previous marriage, and I didn't have time to have my first marriage annulled (it has since been annulled though!). Neither of us were "practicing" Catholics at the time, and so we didn't think anything about being married outside the Church. Years later, I began to feel convicted of this, and so we went to our local parish to speak to a priest about it. He urged us to make this right ASAP. We were living in another state at the time, and I had serious reservations about doing a convalidation ceremony outside of my home diocese and on a date that was waaaayyyy off from our original marriage date. But since we were both technically "living in sin", we agreed and the ceremony went forth. The whole ordeal felt rushed: we didn't dress up, had no pictures, flowers, or anything nice. I am still having a hard time 4 years later dealing with the differences in marriage dates and not having my new marriage certificate show our marriage as taking place in my home diocese, which incidently, we are now back in. Is there anything I can do? Are there any "do overs"? Am I correct in assuming that my original marriage date doesn't matter anymore because in the eyes of the Church it was invalid and now I have to go by the newer date? I would just like to look back on that moment and be happy about it, not stressed out because things were not right and I'm feeling I missed out on having a beautiful, memorable wedding that every girl dreams of. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks :)

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#3

I am sorry I don't mean to sound unfeeling, but I think with all that has happened you might want to let things rest for a little while, relax, and enjoy your life. When you have more time, maybe you can plan a nice wedding the way you want it as apart of an anniversary celebration.

I was never the type of girl that wanted a typical wedding; however, my mother did, so I had the expensive dress, flowers, big cakes, etc. Like most women I have talked to over the years, I would love to have all that money we spent over the memories of months of stress planning the wedding and the few hours of celebration. Remember a marriage isn't about the wedding, it is about the commitment you are making before God. There is plenty of time for a wedding.


#4

Why can't you celebrate both dates? You thought you were married 21 years ago and then realized you should have your wedding blessed?

I'm confused on your comment about your home diocese? Your home diocese is where you are living at a given time. What's wrong with the convalidation taking place in the place that was home when it happened? It's not like we have to go back to our first parish to receive sacraments.


#5

I know a couple who just doubled up on their anniversaries (twice as many celebrations, at least for them - everyone else sends only one card). They hit their "50th" anniversary before their own parents. :D

The important thing is that you did get the matter resolved quickly.

You can throw the reception of your dreams for an upcoming anniversary. That would give you plenty of time to plan it.


#6

Saying that your first wedding outside the Church "doesn't matter" might be too strong. It was not the start point of a valid marriage, but it was a step in the process that led to a valid marriage, and for that reason (even if it was not what would have happened in an ideal world had you and your husband been aware of everything at that time) it can still be seen as a good thing.

I like the idea of celebrating both (good excuse to celebrate), but I don't think it really matters if you celebrate either or both. If it helps, think of the convalidation as correcting a mistake you hadn't realized you made which transformed the relationship you started at your original wedding ceremony into a valid marriage. You made the commitment on the first date. You began living the commitment on first date. That is still an important thing, and worth celebrating - even more so now that you you've put everything right.


#7

Thanks for your replies so far and for the good ideas. I appreciate them. I realize I am being overly sensitive and focusing more on the material aspects of this as opposed to the real meaning behind it. So thanks to those of you who have helped me put this into perspective :o

Redsparklyshoes: I never thought one had to return to his/her original diocese for sacraments. The place we were "living" at the time was only temporary and wasn't considered "home". It would have been more meaningful if the ceremony was in a place I had more of a connection with....is all I was saying.


#8

[quote="DatGirl, post:7, topic:314850"]
Thanks for your replies so far and for the good ideas. I appreciate them. I realize I am being overly sensitive and focusing more on the material aspects of this as opposed to the real meaning behind it. So thanks to those of you who have helped me put this into perspective :o

Redsparklyshoes: I never thought one had to return to his/her original diocese for sacraments. The place we were "living" at the time was only temporary and wasn't considered "home". It would have been more meaningful if the ceremony was in a place I had more of a connection with....is all I was saying.

[/quote]

Sometimes, God takes us out of the familiar in order to enact a change. It is a grace. Only He knows why.


#9

Your Catholic marriage began at the moment the convalidation was granted, and there is nothing that can be done about history. It is only allowed to celebrate the marriage once.


#10

The important thing is that the sacramental graces that flow from the sacrament of marriage will now shower upon you. That happened for after convalidation. The rest is appearances only.

My wife and I had a simple convalidation as well. The graces started almost immediately afterwards. Trust me (or rather trust God!) on this.

Just let it go and focus on trust in God that you're right in His eyes and He will shower his graces upon your marriage, if you allow yourselves to be open to them.


#11

[quote="DatGirl, post:7, topic:314850"]

Redsparklyshoes: I never thought one had to return to his/her original diocese for sacraments. The place we were "living" at the time was only temporary and wasn't considered "home". It would have been more meaningful if the ceremony was in a place I had more of a connection with....is all I was saying.

[/quote]

Don't worry, the ceremony had meaning, even if you were lonely and far from "home" and those you loved.


#12

My husband and I will be having our marriage convalidated in the next few weeks (after nearly 35 years of marriage) so we will have a new anniversary date. We've decided to celebrate BOTH the dates. Our original anniversary is my Daddy's birthday and I'm hoping our new date will be on MY birthday. I would marry that man anywhere, anytime. So just relax, enjoy your life, and have an anniversary celebration on both dates.


#13

[quote="HoosMommie, post:12, topic:314850"]
My husband and I will be having our marriage convalidated in the next few weeks (after nearly 35 years of marriage) so we will have a new anniversary date. We've decided to celebrate BOTH the dates. Our original anniversary is my Daddy's birthday and I'm hoping our new date will be on MY birthday. I would marry that man anywhere, anytime. So just relax, enjoy your life, and have an anniversary celebration on both dates.

[/quote]

When my wife and I did ours, it was the 35th anniversary of our first date as university students. We figured as we got older we needed to stick to dates we can remember. :p


#14

Although an invalid matrimonial attempt could be through ignorance, it may also be with knowledge. In Familiaris Consortio of Bl. Pope John Paul II we read how those Catholics that willfully marry without approval of the Church, break the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, which is something we repent from. For that reason to celebrate the invalid attempt could be a celebration the commission of grave sin:Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."(180)

For that reason, I never inquire about the details of a Catholic's marriage.


#15

[quote="Vico, post:14, topic:314850"]
For that reason, I never inquire about the details of a Catholic's marriage.

[/quote]

I know. Sometimes I'm guilty of making uncharitable assumptions. My son's MIL is divorced and remarried and I'd assumed she was in an invalid marriage. But now she has happily informed me that her husband is entering RCIA and will be baptized. She was practically giddy as she announced it. I felt ashamed for having assumed the worst. Wish when she mentioned her divorce and remarriage I'd just said, "Oh, did you wait a long time to petition for a decree of nullity?"


#16

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