Please help with marriage question

So, I am returning to the Church after 20+ years of being away. While I was away and in no way practicing or following anything about the faith, I was civilly married. My wife is not baptised and also divorced. She has no interest in becoming Catholic herself and doesn’t express interest in having the church bless the marriage. What should I do? We do have a 4 year old daughter together and she ok with getting out daughter baptised and sending her to Catholic school. I’m at a loss…please help

Talk to your pastor.

And ask your wife to do this for you and your sacramental life.


That conversation has been had and that’s why I’m here asking for advice.

1 Like

The only one who can really answer your question is the pastor at your church. None of us here on CAF can answer this for you.


Sorry but your options are limited (and difficult).

From what you have said your wife will not even attempt the annulment process and I assume her first husband is still living. The morally correct option would be to cease marital relations and then you should be able to return to the sacraments.

If her first husband has died you could look into a radical sanction.


So basically I can’t do anything in the catholic church unless she agrees to it or I have a loveless marriage?

And what was the content of that conversation and the conclusions reached as a result of it?



I’m not quite sure what information you are responding to, but nothing was said about the OP and his wife ending their marriage, so advice on an annulment on his current marriage is a bit premature.

My understanding of his question is he intends to keep the relationship with his wife intact and try to get it regularized.

If there is no impediments then a radical sanation could be pesued, which is also known as a retroactive convalidation.

That your current wife won’t do anything to provide you with the spiritual comfort and reconciliation you claim to desperately want, might you already be in a loveless marriage? I apologize if that sounds cruel and somewhat heartless, but it was my first reaction to your wife’s position.

It is our understanding that love is desiring the best for the other person. In the sacrament of matrimony, I believe that is the operative definition of love. It doesn’t seem to be your wife’s definition.

I agree with the other posters that have said talk to your pastor. Only he can give you the best advise in your situation. And as an aside, this is where I think the RCC position on “valid” marriage stinks. The he** with the idea of “valid”. What really needs to be considered is if a marriage is sacramental. My opinion only.

1 Like

You are correct that she doesn’t believe the sacramental definition because she was not brought up to think that way. We have a beautiful marriage and we are full of love for each other. She just doesn’t believe that the church needs to be involved to make our marriage “valid”.

This is all new to her because I was not at all involved with the church until recently and we have been together for almost 7 years now.

I will agree with you on the point you made about “valid” marriage.

There’s always the option of continuing to enjoy your marriage even though it isn’t properly sacramental and participating in the life of The Church to the fullest extent that you and your priest are okay with, all the while knowing that you are an imperfect person in an imperfect situation doing the best you can and that ultimately, you are dependent on God’s mercy, just like the rest of us.


OK, so… basically, you’ve asked two questions, one regarding your marriage and the other regarding your daughter.

Let’s start with the easy one: your daughter can be baptized and attend Catholic school. Your faith, your wife’s faith, and the status of your marriage in the view of the Catholic Church have no bearing whatsoever on your daughter and her sacramental life. The only thing that matters is that you would be willing to raise her in the faith, including going to Mass and learning her faith, and receiving the sacraments. Your sentence about your discussion with your wife was missing a verb, so we don’t know whether you meant “she is OK with” the baptism or “she isn’t OK with” it. (That’s why @acanonlawyer asked you what the content of that conversation was.) If she’s good with it, then go arrange for the baptism. If she’s not good with it, then baptizing your daughter “behind your wife’s back” (as it were) might not be the most healthy thing for your relationship.

With respect to your marriage, I’ll echo @1ke: talk to your pastor. The info you’ve given us isn’t sufficient to allow anyone to discuss what the possibilities are. So, talk to your pastor. He’ll ask you all the questions that will help him fully understand your situation, and then he’ll give you advice on how to proceed.

I’ll keep you in my prayers! :+1:


I apologize for the missing words. She is ok with baptizing and raising our daughter Catholic, so I intend to do so.

I will have to schedule a meeting so I know how to proceed


Even if the first marriage was a civilly performed marriage?

This is terrible, abiet catholic, advice. Keep the love alive in your marriage. Parents need to be happy and healthy if they expect their 4 year old to be, also. If the Catholic church won’t accept your current situation and allow you full communion in the church, maybe find a Protestant one that will (?). Think about what is fair to your wife and kid, for heaven’s sake. You are the one who changed, after all. They didn’t. They didn’t ask for this upheaval in their lives. You need to be responsible and look out for them.


Non-Catholics are not bound to the Catholic form of marriage. A civil marriage for non-Catholics would be presumed valid.


Neither of them (my wife or her ex-husband) are baptized nor ever part or any church.

And yes…he is still alive

I am not scandalizing anyone. I gave an honest and truthful, not to mention practical answer. To suggest a married couple live together as brother and sister when they have a young child is to suggest marital suicide. It rarely works out. At least not to the benefit of the child. It is a dysfunctional way to suggest that somebody live and it is unhealthy. On many levels. This is not the time for him to pursue membership in the Catholic church, unless the Catholic Church is going to support his situation fully (and it won’t. Most concerning is the impact this will have on his innocent child. .Again, I was just being practical and thinking of the best interest of the child .


Looks like I’ll be looking elsewhere for Christian acceptance as I will not nor will I ever stop loving my wife as my wife and start loving her as a sister.

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