Marriage Question

A couple gets a married in Vegas, neither are catholic. Years later they divorce. The wife remarries. Now 20 years later decides to become catholic. Now she refuses to have sex with her husband that she’s been married to for 20 years claiming it’s because the church says so.
I want to know if this is true. Why would any religion tell a couple they couldn’t have sex after being married so long

I am not an expert, but I have a hunch. (I’m not sure I agree with the argument, to begin with.) Why would this woman feel this way? That’s a big gap in the story.

The Catholic Church views marriage as a covenant – period. A covenant is not a contract. In a covenant, people give themselves to each other. Jesus says that what God has joined together, no man should put asunder.

So, perhaps she view her second marriage really as an adulterous one, and thus invalid. Depending on the judgement of a Catholic marriage tribunal or a bishop, they may want to have the first marriage examined as to whether it was itself valid.

This might be the sketch of an answer, but these situations are always more complicated than is stated here.

The wife says she was told this by a deacon at the church.

I’ve told the husband that I think it’s baloney. All of this was done before she became Catholic. I don’t think they would make her jump through hoops like this. They have issues. I think it’s just another excuse for her not to have relations with her husband for whatever reason

Two non-Catholics marrying in Vegas is a valid marriage. The Church views this as a valid marriage unless and until it is proved otherwise. The couple obtained a civil divorce but that doesn’t end the marriage.

This all should have been addressed before she came into the Church. Usually, in such cases, the first marriage is looked at to see if it was valid and an annulment can be sought before the person is welcomed into the Church.

It sounds like someone dropped the ball with this woman’s preparation. Perhaps she is just finding this out now.

The Church isn’t telling her not to have sex with her husband. But the deacon likely affirmed that her current marriage is invalid and that she is considered still married to her first husband. Now that she knows, assuming that this wasn’t brought up in RCIA, one way to keep receiving the Sacraments is to live with her second husband as “brother and sister” at least until the first marriage is investigated in an annulment process.

While I am sure there is a lot more information than is posted here and more even than the husband may have shared with you, it isn’t “baloney”. It’s a sad situation that many people who are divorced and remarried find themselves in. There are no easy answers but resolution is not hopeless.


The bottom line is that the Catholic Church regards marriages between non-Catholics as valid, therefore she would need a decree of nullity before her present marriage could be convalidated and would be expected to live with her current husband as brother and sister until such time. Not “baloney” at all.

Christ clearly taught that divorce and remarriage is adultery. If the woman believes that her first marriage might not have been valid, she should speak to her pastor about appealing to the diocesan marriage tribunal for a decree of nullity.

I believe they would have to assess whether this was a marriage or not … whether it was valid, because if it’s not valid, than they technically wouldn’t be married.

If there was no marriage in the eye’s of the Church at Vegas, than they also wouldn’t have divorced as there was nothing to separate. They only separated a legal contract they entered into at Vegas.

Does the Church know whether this was a valid marriage or not?

I believe If you think about it, if the first marriage was not considered a valid marriage, it would be considered she was fornicating with that gentleman and I believe the second marriage would need to be reviewed to make sure it was legitamate, because if it’s not she would still be fornicating, and I believe the Church cannot say “go ahead and sleep with your partner” when it doesn’t know whether by doing so she will be fornicating or not.

But I believe that is just the thing, the Church doesn’t know whether they have been validly married, so I believe it cannot tell her that it is okay to sleep with her partner when it doesn’t know whether by doing so she will be fornicating or not.

What if they believe marriage is simply a word used to describe a couple living together and sleeping with one another?

I hope I have helped

Thank you for reading

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