Mayday: Help needed - divorce on the cards


#1

My brothers and sisters I need your help. I desparately need your help.

My wife of 10 years has said - in so many words - that she wants a divorce. In fact what she said was that if she had a million dollars she would leave - but since she does not, and we have 5 children under eight, then she is trapped.

I think that we have a very good marriage, except in one area - religion. We were both Mormons. I say the errors of mormonism and spoke to my wife gently about them. Then I stopped speaking about them because it caused problems. I go with her to the mormon church. I do not drink, smoke, look at pornoography, flirt with other women, I devote my life to her and our children. I am not perfect, but I do not have outside activities that take me away from the home - I am not constantly on the golf course. I don't golf. I do not attend mass knowingly to her - but I do. I look after the children if she wants to go to her mormon church events.

But she says that I am an embarrassment because I "do not honor my priesthood". ie. the mormon priesthood. I do not give her mormon blessings. She says that so long as I do not believe in the mormon church then there will always be a wedge between us that other things cannot overcome - even keeping our children with their father. Sometimes she shouts at me in front of the kids and threatens me. I do not shout back or accuse. I take Gandhi's approach to confrontation - none violent. But again, I do not say this to make anyone believe I am perfect.

I love my wife and children. I know of the dangers to if we were to separate. I belive in the teachings of the Catholic church. I have made no attempt to be confirmed or join - though as my parents were episcopalian I do have a valid baptism.

What can I do. Today was a bad day for her, but she says it is always there, no matter what I do or do not do. Be an honorable mormon priest or you are not good enough.

What can I do?

Please your prayer, your advice.

God bless,

Hal.


#2

I think first and foremost you need to be honest. If you are going to Mass you are going to Mass. Yes it may drive a wedge but I think to tell your wife I love you, I know you don't like this, but I would rather be honest about it then lie to you. I in turn will respect where and how you choose to worship.

Then remember - as you are doing that you are the only copy of the Bible, Gospel, and Catechism that she will see. Live it well.

Pray for your marriage.

I did not remember reading but were you a baptized Catholic, do you have hopes of converting, what exactly is your status in the Catholic Church?

God bless you.


#3

My dear brother in Christ, I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

God bless

jesus g


#4

[quote="joanofarc2008, post:2, topic:250463"]
I think first and foremost you need to be honest. If you are going to Mass you are going to Mass. Yes it may drive a wedge but I think to tell your wife I love you, I know you don't like this, but I would rather be honest about it then lie to you. I in turn will respect where and how you choose to worship.

Then remember - as you are doing that you are the only copy of the Bible, Gospel, and Catechism that she will see. Live it well.

Pray for your marriage.

I did not remember reading but were you a baptized Catholic, do you have hopes of converting, what exactly is your status in the Catholic Church?

God bless you.

[/quote]

Christened Episcopalian as a baby. Never baptized Catholic. Baptized and ordained mormon. Your advice rings true but I have always been frightened to take such advice. That's the coward in me. Finding the Catholic church and its teachings was such a joy to me, but it is a heartache as well. However, I would not at anytime wish not to have found the truth or indeed my wife.

More prayer, more faith, more patience, more courage. I am probably lacking in all.

God Bless,

Hal.


#5

Hal,

I feel so bad for you. The best thing is really to be honest, and strong. Don't let her bully or intimidate you into thinking you are doing the wrong thing. Mother Church is always there for us. Seek counsel with a priest, even if you are not yet "fully" Catholic. They always help you if you seek their counsel. To become a Catholic you have to go through RCIA.
Pray and meditate on the Gospel of St. John Chapters 13 to 16. I find them really helpful.
Try also to listen to what your wife wants that you can comply with. Love her even if she's not expecting you to do something for her. Surprise her in a gentle way. Show her that you are still in love with her and that you love for for all the work she puts in your children.
Show her that a difference in cult doesn't mean that you can't make the marriage work.

Charity is the most important thing right now. =)


#6

[quote="Prince_Hal, post:4, topic:250463"]
Christened Episcopalian as a baby. Never baptized Catholic. Baptized and ordained mormon. Your advice rings true but I have always been frightened to take such advice. That's the coward in me. Finding the Catholic church and its teachings was such a joy to me, but it is a heartache as well. However, I would not at anytime wish not to have found the truth or indeed my wife.

More prayer, more faith, more patience, more courage. I am probably lacking in all.

God Bless,

Hal.

[/quote]

It is OK. Small steps - as long you recognize it you can work towards it. I would at least recommend opening dialogue with the pastor at the Church where you are attending Mass as this is a complicated situation. You are a good man. Remember we all share the Baptismal Sacrament - so we are all baptized in Christ - for now find joy in that while you continue your own path and work through the rest. God bless you.


#7

Prince Hal, I think the best you can do is try to please God first and your wife only second to that. Yes, divorce may be in the cards, but there's frankly nothing you can do about that. If the price of avoiding divorce is going against what you have learned, namely that Jesus Christ established one Church only which happens to be the Catholic Church under the leadership of Peter's successor the Pope, contrary to it being the LDS Church under the leadership of the Prophet, again if the price of avoiding divorce is denying this truth that you have already discovered through God's grace, I will say that's a price too high to pay. If the price of pleasing your wife is that you should displease God in the process, that's a price not worth paying. You should have a correct order of priorities in your life, and the correct order of priorities is this: please God first, and your wife only second to that. And yes, you will please God by joining the one true and real Church established by Christ on the Rock that's Peter and his successors the Popes.

Remember the case of St. Thomas More who said that he was the King's good servant, but God's first. All he had to do was renounce the Catholic Church and the Pope, and his King would have felt pleased with him. But as much as St. Thomas More wanted to serve and please his King, he knew he wasn't at liberty to do that at the expense of renouncing God's design for his Church, and this design meant staying in communion with Rome and the Pope, not with the schismatic King and Archbishop of Canterbury.

In a similar way, you are being called to decision, and there's no way around it. Will you be in communion with Rome and the Pope, or with Salt Lake City and the LDS Prophet?

Do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe your wife will divorce you, but rest assured, God will give you the necessary strength to deal with everything that's coming your way. But then again, maybe God will touch your wife's heart, and she will stay with you. Maybe she will even follow you and convert to Catholicism. You don't know at this point, and God has not revealed the future to you. However, there's one thing that God apparently has revealed to you, and that's the truth of the Catholic Church. So, follow that truth, and leave the rest up to God's mercy, God's strength, and God's wisdom. Remember, you are not alone in this conundrum. God is with you through all this.

I have been through something remotely similar, being in love with a Russian Orthodox woman. In my case, the question was this: should I be in communion with Moscow or with Rome? The Pope or the Patriarch of Moscow? I chose Rome, and I did it with a heavy heart, but I knew I was doing the right thing. But my situation was much easier than yours, granted, because we didn't have children. Yet, loosing her was a painful experience. In the end, though, I made it through with God's grace. I'm sure you will make it through, too, even if it means divorce - but it's not sure your wife will divorce you. You don't know at this point. Just do the right thing, one step at a time, and trust God that he won't abandon you through all of this. You are also in my prayers.


#8

[quote="Joseph_L_Varga, post:7, topic:250463"]
Prince Hal, I think the best you can do is try to please God first and your wife only second to that. Yes, divorce may be in the cards, but there's frankly nothing you can do about that. If the price of avoiding divorce is going against what you have learned, namely that Jesus Christ established one Church only which happens to be the Catholic Church under the leadership of Peter's successor the Pope, contrary to it being the LDS Church under the leadership of the Prophet, again if the price of avoiding divorce is denying this truth that you have already discovered through God's grace, I will say that's a price too high to pay. If the price of pleasing your wife is that you should displease God in the process, that's a price not worth paying. You should have a correct order of priorities in your life, and the correct order of priorities is this: please God first, and your wife only second to that. And yes, you will please God by joining the one true and real Church established by Christ on the Rock that's Peter and his successors the Popes.

Remember the case of St. Thomas More who said that he was the King's good servant, but God's first. All he had to do was renounce the Catholic Church and the Pope, and his King would have felt pleased with him. But as much as St. Thomas More wanted to serve and please his King, he knew he wasn't at liberty to do that at the expense of renouncing God's design for his Church, and this design meant staying in communion with Rome and the Pope, not with the schismatic King and Archbishop of Canterbury.

In a similar way, you are being called to decision, and there's no way around it. Will you be in communion with Rome and the Pope, or with Salt Lake City and the LDS Prophet?

Do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe your wife will divorce you, but rest assured, God will give you the necessary strength to deal with everything that's coming your way. But then again, maybe God will touch your wife's heart, and she will stay with you. Maybe she will even follow you and convert to Catholicism. You don't know at this point, and God has not revealed the future to you. However, there's one thing that God apparently has revealed to you, and that's the truth of the Catholic Church. So, follow that truth, and leave the rest up to God's mercy, God's strength, and God's wisdom. Remember, you are not alone in this conundrum. God is with you through all this.

I have been through something remotely similar, being in love with a Russian Orthodox woman. In my case, the question was this: should I be in communion with Moscow or with Rome? The Pope or the Patriarch of Moscow? I chose Rome, and I did it with a heavy heart, but I knew I was doing the right thing. But my situation was much easier than yours, granted, because we didn't have children. Yet, loosing her was a painful experience. In the end, though, I made it through with God's grace. I'm sure you will make it through, too, even if it means divorce - but it's not sure your wife will divorce you. You don't know at this point. Just do the right thing, one step at a time, and trust God that he won't abandon you through all of this. You are also in my prayers.

[/quote]

A Moderator has already made a very gentle correction on this on another thread. This is not the first step in these matters. Any priest would say that the marriage has to be honored. There are Canon laws that deal with what happens if there is a break down over these issues but it has to be through no fault of the baptized spouse meaning that the baptized/converted spouse has to try. I know it is tough but OP you are doing the right things - please speak to the Pastor where you attend mass.


#9

[quote="joanofarc2008, post:8, topic:250463"]
A Moderator has already made a very gentle correction on this on another thread. This is not the first step in these matters. Any priest would say that the marriage has to be honored. There are Canon laws that deal with what happens if there is a break down over these issues but it has to be through no fault of the baptized spouse meaning that the baptized/converted spouse has to try. I know it is tough but OP you are doing the right things - please speak to the Pastor where you attend mass.

[/quote]

Joan, you probably misread my post as if I somehow suggested that Prince Hal should initiate divorce from his wife. That's definitely not what I suggested, and if you will read my post again more carefully, you will see that nowhere did I advise Prince Hal to divorce his wife. However I acknowledged the possibility that his wife, who is already threatening divorce, might follow up her threats by actually initiating divorce from the OP. And I also said that Prince Hal should follow the truth he discovered, and he should not be afraid to convert to the Catholic Church, regardless of whether his wife is going to divorce him in return.


#10

[quote="Joseph_L_Varga, post:9, topic:250463"]
Joan, you probably misread my post as if I somehow suggested that Prince Hal should initiate divorce from his wife. That's definitely not what I suggested, and if you will read my post again more carefully, you will see that nowhere did I advise Prince Hal to divorce his wife. However I acknowledged the possibility that his wife, who is already threatening divorce, might follow up her threats by actually initiating divorce from the OP. And I also said that Prince Hal should follow the truth he discovered, and he should not be afraid to convert to the Catholic Church, regardless of whether his wife is going to divorce him in return.

[/quote]

No I did not read that you thought he should initiate divorce but I did read that he should put conversion first when he has already stated that he was not Catholic when he married his wife. This is the exact statement written by the moderator in a very similar situation and it is just plain good advice as we share marriage as a Sacrament with other Christian faiths, as a covenant with certain non-Christian faiths, and recognize natural marriages as valid of still many others.

I just tried to find the other thread but could not. However, really what the poster needs to do is speak to his priest.


#11

[quote="Joseph_L_Varga, post:7, topic:250463"]
Prince Hal, I think the best you can do is try to please God first and your wife only second to that. Yes, divorce may be in the cards, but there's frankly nothing you can do about that. If the price of avoiding divorce is going against what you have learned, namely that Jesus Christ established one Church only which happens to be the Catholic Church under the leadership of Peter's successor the Pope, contrary to it being the LDS Church under the leadership of the Prophet, again if the price of avoiding divorce is denying this truth that you have already discovered through God's grace, I will say that's a price too high to pay. If the price of pleasing your wife is that you should displease God in the process, that's a price not worth paying. You should have a correct order of priorities in your life, and the correct order of priorities is this: please God first, and your wife only second to that. And yes, you will please God by joining the one true and real Church established by Christ on the Rock that's Peter and his successors the Popes.

Remember the case of St. Thomas More who said that he was the King's good servant, but God's first. All he had to do was renounce the Catholic Church and the Pope, and his King would have felt pleased with him. But as much as St. Thomas More wanted to serve and please his King, he knew he wasn't at liberty to do that at the expense of renouncing God's design for his Church, and this design meant staying in communion with Rome and the Pope, not with the schismatic King and Archbishop of Canterbury.

In a similar way, you are being called to decision, and there's no way around it. Will you be in communion with Rome and the Pope, or with Salt Lake City and the LDS Prophet?

Do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe your wife will divorce you, but rest assured, God will give you the necessary strength to deal with everything that's coming your way. But then again, maybe God will touch your wife's heart, and she will stay with you. Maybe she will even follow you and convert to Catholicism. You don't know at this point, and God has not revealed the future to you. However, there's one thing that God apparently has revealed to you, and that's the truth of the Catholic Church. So, follow that truth, and leave the rest up to God's mercy, God's strength, and God's wisdom. Remember, you are not alone in this conundrum. God is with you through all this.

I have been through something remotely similar, being in love with a Russian Orthodox woman. In my case, the question was this: should I be in communion with Moscow or with Rome? The Pope or the Patriarch of Moscow? I chose Rome, and I did it with a heavy heart, but I knew I was doing the right thing. But my situation was much easier than yours, granted, because we didn't have children. Yet, loosing her was a painful experience. In the end, though, I made it through with God's grace. I'm sure you will make it through, too, even if it means divorce - but it's not sure your wife will divorce you. You don't know at this point. Just do the right thing, one step at a time, and trust God that he won't abandon you through all of this. You are also in my prayers.

[/quote]

Normally, I would agree with much of what you have written here. But, the fact that she is Mormon creates some special problems. There are a two questions that are pertinent here:

Does the OP live in Utah with is family?
Are his wife and her family from Utah?

If the answer to those questions is yes, he needs to be cautious. Mormonism is basically the state religion in Utah. If they live there and his wife decides to leave him over this issue, his access to his kids could be severely restricted. He needs to consult a non-Mormon attorney who is familiar with the inner workings of that church (particularly so if he is in Utah). Right now, I would advise him to thread lightly until he has his legal ducks in a row!


#12

[quote="joanofarc2008, post:2, topic:250463"]
I think first and foremost you need to be honest. If you are going to Mass you are going to Mass. Yes it may drive a wedge but I think to tell your wife I love you, I know you don't like this, but I would rather be honest about it then lie to you. I in turn will respect where and how you choose to worship.

Then remember - as you are doing that you are the only copy of the Bible, Gospel, and Catechism that she will see. Live it well.

Pray for your marriage.

I did not remember reading but were you a baptized Catholic, do you have hopes of converting, what exactly is your status in the Catholic Church?

God bless you.

[/quote]

Honesty is important. Also, consider marriage counseling. Many couples deal with different religions.

A good counselor may be able to show you guys how to work through this.

You are in my prayers.


#13

To the OP: You are in my prayers. What a heartache for you.

Remember: “We ought to put God before man.”

You will be spiritually rewarded for your fidelity to the Church. We experienced alienation from friends and family, ridicule, estrangement, and anger. Yet when we discovered the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, what could we do but follow Christ?
Has it been hard? Yes, but we had no choice. Spiritually we have been showered with blessings, knowing we are where we ought to be. Family-wise, it is hard to endure the snubs and criticism. I believe this is where we will convert our family. “A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger.” They are already showing signs of softening.
Do what you must do for your own salvation. Do not forget that you are the spiritual head of your household, but do it gently. Show your wife love as you have been doing. If she cannot handle your conversion, that will be something to face in the future as it happens. Don’t borrow trouble until it happens!
We will be praying for you, brother. I will add you to my rosary.:signofcross:


#14

Thank you everyone. This is so "gut wrenchingly" disappointing, sad, tragic, horrifying. I have to admit that it is hard not to lash out at the LDS church for creating such an environment where my wife feels that she has to honor the church even at the cost of leaving her husband. She has already been told by church leaders and LDS friends - none of whom have talked to me, that she will receive great blessings if it comes to a divorce (not that they are openly counselling her to divorce however). There will be a righteous priesthood holder, one who honors his priesthood, to whom she will be given in the next life, perhaps even in this. Until that time, they say, Christ suffered as He saw His disciples fall away - is she (my wife) greater than He (Christ). I think that she is a hero anyway, but not in the way she is being hailed (poor wife with a man who dishonors his priesthood).

Anyway thank you for the advice. Some advice is very stark and straight to the point - but I recognize the truth and sense in it.

Thank you everyone,

God Bless,

Richard.


#15

[quote="joanofarc2008, post:6, topic:250463"]
It is OK. Small steps - as long you recognize it you can work towards it. I would at least recommend opening dialogue with the pastor at the Church where you are attending Mass as this is a complicated situation. You are a good man. Remember we all share the Baptismal Sacrament - so we are all baptized in Christ - for now find joy in that while you continue your own path and work through the rest. God bless you.

[/quote]

First of all, all my prayers to the OP, and I recommend seeing a priest. One possible correction on this post. I do not know if "Christened Episcopalian " means baptized. I also do not know if this just applies to the OP and not his wife. Assuming the OP was baptized as an Episcolalian but his wife has always been Mormon (she was baptized only as a mormon), then you do not share the Baptismal Sacrament. This may be a complicating factor, but the Catholic Church does not recogonize Morman baptisms, ie it does not recognize Mormons as Christians.

Under my assumptions: the OP is a baptized Christian, his wife is not.


#16

IMHO, the children come first. The husband and wife must put their differences aside in order to raise their children in a stable, loving environment. It's never easy, but it must be done.


#17

What is a mormon blessing to the wife? How different is it from a Christian one…? The theology might be way different but I don’t know enough about her faith to know. So I ask the questions…


#18

I never said his wife was baptized - he said the OP was. If the OP has been baptized in a Christian Church then he is baptized as they share our Sacrament. The OP is in a natural marriage that is presumed valid until challenged. That was my point and it is regardless of baptism and where it was done - that was my second point.


#19

Hello,

The Truth will set you free. In such an emergency, I would go talk to the Priest that you know. Jesus is obviously encouraging to make a choice. He sees all, all that you are not, not yet, and that for your spouse and children too. In such a difficult, thorny situation, you need help to have the courage to be in truth, to say the truth, to do the truth. You know yourself, and self-knowledge brings you to your knees, as Mother Teresa says. You cannot serve two Masters, pleasing your wife and Jesus. She sincerely wants to please Jesus too, but in her errors, making it a heavy, crushing cross for you and for the children the more they are aware of what is happening.

You must decide for Jesus for youself, then your wife and children may follow, and not right away either...only the Lord knows, but the question is, what is your responsability towards this calling to become Catholic?What is your response? Jesus knows the situations, the darkness in which He calls us, will we follow the Light or wait for better times...they will never come. He comes in the fullness of time, the best time, our time. We must act now, the sooner the better.

For the sake of the children, the family, you can talk to your wife about becoming Catholic without breaking up the family. Invite her to attend the RCIA just to understand what you see in the Catholic Church(of course she will suspect you want her to convert, which is normal, she wants you to convert fully to Mormonism and go to their re-education camp). Ask if she would be open to learning about the Catholic Faith as you learn so that the Wedge does not get any worse. By the same token, show you undertand her rage from her point of view(losing her status and place in the world to come, their version of it which I am aware of) with firmness in your decision to become Catholic.

You will still feel like a coward, weak and ready to crumble, sometimes, but what matters is your resolve and certainty, not feeling strong and in control all the time-perseverance, not feeling infallible. You can consult the program The Journey Home on EWTN, there are several episodes of Mormon Pastors who became Catholic and from other denominations and sects as well. Do it for yourself, to be faithful to what Jesus is asking of you first, then, offer all to your spouse to show, this is a point of no return. She will be forced to choose as well. She will see that you are dead serious about this. She knows you and your weaknesses too. She knows how to manipulate you and push your emotional buttons. She may threaten to seperate from you and take the children if you pursue this conversion to Catholicism and spout nasty epithets along with the word Catholic and Church. Do you really love me, Jesus asked Peter...and now you...and me.

The Lord will provide for you if you reach out and ask for help from the Priest that you know and He'll take it from there. I know of such similar cases, but what they all have in common is an act of Faith and Humility-Yes Lord, You know that I love you, You know everything...we answer with Peter-then feed my sheep, tend my sheep, feed my lambs. Feed yourself, let the Lord feed you, then feed others if you want to have the courage to be faithful. Be fed by and feed the Truth, no additives of preservatives. I'll pray for you.

Fr. Dominic La Fleur


#20

[quote="Prince_Hal, post:14, topic:250463"]
Thank you everyone. This is so "gut wrenchingly" disappointing, sad, tragic, horrifying. I have to admit that it is hard not to lash out at the LDS church for creating such an environment where my wife feels that she has to honor the church even at the cost of leaving her husband. She has already been told by church leaders and LDS friends - none of whom have talked to me, that she will receive great blessings if it comes to a divorce (not that they are openly counselling her to divorce however). There will be a righteous priesthood holder, one who honors his priesthood, to whom she will be given in the next life, perhaps even in this. Until that time, they say, Christ suffered as He saw His disciples fall away - is she (my wife) greater than He (Christ). I think that she is a hero anyway, but not in the way she is being hailed (poor wife with a man who dishonors his priesthood).

Anyway thank you for the advice. Some advice is very stark and straight to the point - but I recognize the truth and sense in it.

Thank you everyone,

God Bless,

Richard.

[/quote]

Richard, if I understand it correctly, the LDS Church leaders and friends are playing this game of trying to turn your wife against you, but at least so far, they stopped short of directly counseling your wife to divorce you. This is going to be a balancing act, and you will have to outsmart these folks who are trying to undermine your marriage.

I'm not sure what's the best strategy. I know I would quickly loose my temper and would confront these LDS Church leaders and friends head on: "So, what are you telling my wife? Are you telling her that she should leave me/divorce me? Yes or Not? Because I want to let you know, I do not appreciate you trying to undermine my marriage and trying to manipulate my wife to the point where she would initiate divorce from me. I also wanted to make this crystal clear, I love my wife and children, and there's no way I'm going to leave them. Now, you LDS folks might succeed in persuading her to the point where she will be the one leaving me, and if you do this, it's on your conscience, and you will have to answer to God for the role you played in turning my wife against me and destroying my marriage. But I, as a matter of fact, will honor my marriage and will not leave my wife and kids". I might send this as a mail to those LDS Church leaders and friends who have been giving this advice to my wife, and I would of course give a copy of the letter to my wife. After that, I would just continue accompanying my wife to all LDS Church functions, smile at these people who were undermining my marriage, and if they reacted in any way to my letter, I would try to do my very best to keep my composure (not an easy task), and tell them in a gentle, soft voice, "Do you want to discuss this issue? Let's sit down and discuss it. Because I'm truly concerned about the fact that you brought up divorce to my wife, in my absence, and you essentially interfered with my marriage in a manner that I find harmful and dangerous". I would expect that these folks would change the tune in your presence, apologizing and pretending that they never really wanted your wife to divorce you, that they never really advised her to leave you, that they truly want your marriage to stay intact, you know, yada yada yada...

I think I would try to do something like this, in this situation.


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