Prayer, Need help, in Despair


#1

Brothers and sisters, what I am to say is probaly going to sound silly, but I need to tell someone and I feel I can say my concerns here. As of now i’m in dreadful despair. I’m afraid I’m in sin against God, but I do not know what to do. In the past I have had mind problems and I have asked them on here but always said it was for my friend, but it really was for me. For quite awhile I have been worried about “what if” my wife is not my true wife in God’s eyes? I keep asking myself what is a marriage? It’s when two people make promises to one another right? But it has to be more than that because a man and a woman cannot just say to one another “I love you and I promise I will be with you until death does us apart,” and poof that makes them married, but a priest has to ask them those questions right? A man and a woman have to be close to one another and face each other and a priest has to be standing next to them and he has to ask the man “Do you ‘so and so’ take ‘so and so’ to be your wife?” And he goes through the promises that your asked to make which is basicly to stay with the woman until death does them apart, and then he asks the same to the woman, and once she says “I do” then they are married. So the priest has to play a part in the wedding otherwise a marriage does not take place.

I mean I have had girlfriends in the past and even a fiance and my attitude towards women even before I was a Catholic was that I just wanted to be with one forever. But I never married any of them, that is a priest never asked us the promises or what a priest is suppossed to ask. But I also wonder just “what if” I did marry one? But the only woman a priest ever asked me to make promises to is the woman I am with now. But then again I can’t remember every single word the priest said to us on our wedding day, so I think what if I didn’t marry her or what if I married another woman in the past but cannot remember it?

But whenever I have sex with my wife, touch her and kiss her I feel no shame before God, I will not confess sins to God and a priest for doing these acts with her since our wedding day, her last name is mine, and I have the wedding certificate. So I must be married to her right?

Please don’t laugh or make fun of me even though this does sound very ridiculous but I need help! Medicine or phycologists does not work. I just need to be sure what a true marriage is and that my wife really is my wife in God’s eyes. I love Him above all creation but every time I tell myself things like all of this my mind finds other excuses to go against anything that would comfort me. I’ll be back.


#2

I just want to let it all go and just live my life with my wife and be happy and continue to draw closer to God. But right now I’m in tears silently all the time thinking I’m in sin. I can not focus AT ALL on prayer, the Bible, good quality time with my wife (I become easily frustrated with the littlest things) I am a living wreck and I just can not stand the depression any more. I feel like God hates me sometimes because I’m living in sin with my wife (when I tell myself just ‘what if’ she’s not my wife). I am in constant agony and despair. I do not even want to get out of bed in the morning I’m so sad. Suicidal thoughts passed through my mind BUT QUICKLY ENDED. Nothing can break this spell it seems. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me brothers and sisters. This all sounds so ridiculous but it is a heavy burden on me. If God would just tell me face to face then I KNOW I would be fine. But He hasn’t.I could so easily abandon God but for 4 years I have not. I love Him with all of my heart. Pease, help!

I’m going to go to bed now and sleep next to Melissa who is already sleeping. And yet despite everything, I feel no shame before God.


#3

If you married your wife in the Catholic Church, I assume that it was determined by the Church (with complete knowledge of any previous civil or religious marriages that you or your wife had) that any ties you had to women (or she to men) before this marriage did not constitute valid marriage. If the above is true, then, to my limited knowledge, the woman you are married to now is your wife before the Church, men, and God. If any of the above is not true, I could not say, for I don’t know anything about canon law.

I think you probably need more help than this forum can provide, especially if your depression is so acute. Have you sought any professional spiritual or medical counseling?

–Joruus


#4

I apologize about asking if you had gotten medical counsel since you said you had. I forgot about that part of the post when I was writing. But I still ask, Have you sought spiritual counsel?


#5

my dearest brother in Christ,

if i’m not mistaken, you are afraid that by loving and probably fornicating with past girlfriends you may have married them in God’s eyes. is this correct?

if you have confessed your sins to a priest and are truly sorry for them (even if you don’t remember all of them), please believe that God has forgiven you. there is no sin too big for God, and His mercy is infinite. His love is as boundless as the sea.

while your understanding is correct on one level (you do not need a priest to confer a valid marriage), you cannot do this “on accident”. you do not need a priest (as protestants don’t have priests, but have valid marriages), but you do need to enter into a binding, life-long covenential commitment by the free conscent of both of your wills. and no, an engagement doesn’t count.

please, please, please, remember that there is nothing that God cannot forgive, no sin too big, no thought too dark, and and no hole in your heart so deep His mercy and love can’t fill it.

i will pray for you in front of our Lord God tomorrow at mass, and will keep you in my daily prayers,
RyanL


#6

J.W.B., assuming that you have confessed your past, God has forgiven you. With God’s forgiveness, you are free to go forward, resolving to avoid falling into sin again, which you are doing by being faithful to your wife. You seem to be unable to accept that God has forgiven you, or to forgive yourself for your past. Accepting God’s forgiveness can be an enormous act of faith - it is difficult sometimes to believe that God could possibly be willing or even able to forgive us for something that we did in the past, that we now view as abhorrent, and yet, He can and does forgive us. I think that sometimes forgiveness can be hard to accept not only because we feel unworthy, but also because of what it means for the future. If we are forgiven, we can walk away from our past, but we also have to step into the future where we are no longer carrying past burdens and must attempt to fully live our lives, rather than hiding under past failures; in some ways, focussing on past errors can be a way of hiding from the fullness of life (I have no idea whether or not I am being comprehensible).

You may find it useful to speak to a priest about your concerns regarding the validity of your marriage, perhaps his reassurance could help you to let go of your concerns. Also, at some point, if you have done everything possible to assure yourself of the validty of your marriage (which I imagine would be accomplished by explaining your past fully and honestly to a priest, and seeking his opinion on the matter), you should be able to safely trust that it is valid. Someone correct me if I am wrong (but I am pretty sure that I am not), at that point, even if there was some unrecognised defect in your marriage, you would not be committing a mortal sin by continuing to live as a married couple.

You say that you wish that God would speak to you directly, unfortunately, he rarely speaks so loudly. You say that when you are with your wife, you feel that your marriage is right. After speaking to a priest about the validity of your marriage, perhaps you will need to view these two things together as evidence of God’s answer.

Finally, I believe from your post that you are pursuing medical help. I hope that you continue to do so, depression is a serious condition, and you sound as though you could do with supports at the moment. I am sure everyone reading your posts will be praying for you.


#7

Dear J.W.B.

Have your mental problems been going on since your marriage to your wife? That is, did you have these kinds of questions about what a marriage means at the time you were married by a priest? The reason I ask, is that if you were actually married before then, I can see why you would be concerned – if you’re thinking that there actually was another ceremony that you had completely forgotten about at the time.

If it has only been since the Catholic marriage that you began to doubt it, then you have presented overwhelming evidence to me, anyway (not an “expert,” but happily married) that your marriage was valid.

(continued)


#8

(continued)

But whenever I have sex with my wife, touch her and kiss her I feel no shame before God, I will not confess sins to God and a priest for doing these acts with her since our wedding day, her last name is mine, and I have the wedding certificate. So I must be married to her right?

I’d say that is pretty good evidence. Based on what you’ve said, (with the above exception that you forgot to fully disclose to the priest in advance) I would bet my last dollar on it.

Please don’t laugh or make fun of me even though this does sound very ridiculous but I need help! Medicine or phycologists does not work. I just need to be sure what a true marriage is and that my wife really is my wife in God’s eyes. I love Him above all creation but every time I tell myself things like all of this my mind finds other excuses to go against anything that would comfort me. I’ll be back.

Medicines can help with your symptoms, but like me, your illness sounds like it is more of an emotional and/or spiritual problem than a so-called “chemical imbalance.”

For myself, I resisted taking medication until I came to an understanding of what it was for. If a psychiatrist advises you to take a medication, I encourage you to ask what it is for and what effects it is expected to have that you might notice, or that others around you might notice. In my heart I knew I had no problems with my thinking, but that everyone else around me was crazy.

One poster suggested a spiritual director. A month after I was hospitalized involutarily (i.e. captured) in 2001, I met for the first time with a spiritual director who would change my life permantly and for the better. I asked him how come the doctors can’t understand a word I say, and how come they behave so stupidly around me and do things to me that are not only unnecessary, but counterproductive.

He told me the reason they don’t understand, is that they are too specialized. They do not know how to treat a whole person, and therefore they look to treat me based on the narrow field they know. One doctor knows your medical condition, another your mental, but nobody knows the whole person. The whole person has several components: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and sexual.

That doesn’t mean I’m against getting treatment; quite the contrary. Doctors can help you control your behavior so that you can continue to function, and so that you can get some sleep. I mean to trust your instincts that your problem is, in fact, spiritual, if that’s what you believe it is. I wish you could talk to my spiritual director, but he is no longer practicing. I’m sure there are good ones.

Are you having a lot of loss of sleep? If so, a psychiatrist might want to give you some medicine to help with that. If you don’t get enough sleep, it’s very difficult to battle the spiritual and emotional wounds.

Know this, though, and I speak from personal experience. The Holy Spirit can and will heal you, and the journey through the healing process is a trip you’d never have imagined but is filled with wonder. Keep an open mind, keep hope, and keep posting.

Meanwhile, what does Melissa know and think about all this? As you are healing, she can act as your “observer” and tell you what changes – subtle or not – you have made in your behavior and demeanor. Also, do you have any children, and if so, is there any sign this is having an adverse effect on them?

Also you might want to start a journal, even before seeing a spiritual advisor. Write down questions, observations, feelings, and other things in a notebook (even though I like to type more than write I used pen and paper for mine). It’s amazing to look back a few weeks or even months and see how you looked at things then. It also makes a nice way for you to see the changes you make as you go along.

You are welcome to send me a PM about this if you’d like. Of course I cannot diagnose you long distance (especially since I am an electrical engineer and not a doctor) but if your illness is anything at all like mine, this will pass and better days are ahead of you. Not only will life remain worth living, it will become wonderful and beautiful. You can help others become less anxious because you can understand where they are, just like Christ can understand our worldly pains because He walked in our shoes, and have the knowing that there is an escape. Yes, there are still many evils in the world but we can walk through them with the peace of Christ. That these things will come to pass is my hope and my prayer for you.

Peace,
Alan


#9

JWB,

I’m not in a position to give advice or any practical help, but from the keyboard I am headed over to the doorknob where my Rosary hangs. I will be saying one for you and for your wife starting in about one minute.

And for some reason, I feel that I should tell you that thinking about something is absolutely different from doing it. If that makes sense, use it; if it doesn’t, ignore it.

  • Liberian

#10

Dear JWB, it sounds like you are going through a form of mental anguish at the moment (I do apologise in advance if I have misunderstood the nature of your post), but please be assured of my prayers also. I too have experienced a form of mental anguish over recent years, and if I hadn’t, I sometimes wonder if I would have returned to Our Lord and His church. From my personal experience, I found medical counsel to be useful in the first instance, including counselling. Since returning to the Church, I have found the sacraments to be very healing, particularly the Eucharist and Confession. I have also found great consolation in the Rosary, and invoking the intercession of Our Lady. I have found the following Marian novena to be amazing in times of crisis, and if you feel up to it, the link is below:-

ourladyofgoodsuccess.com/web-w-frames-3-4-2005/aaa.htm

There is some background information about Our Lady under that title through the following link below:-

michaeljournal.org/goodsuccess.htm

I have also found that the following scripture passage continues to blow my mind:-

Psa 34:18

[list]
*]The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. (NRSV)
*]The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope. (TEV)
[/list]
I hope the above is helpful, and please feel free to send me a private message. In the meantime, I shall keep you in my prayers.


#11

Sorry, the novena link should read:

ourladyofgoodsuccess.com/web-w-frames-3-4-2005/aaa.htm


#12

For some reason the link isn’t working, so I shall paste the novena below:-

Novena to Our Lady of Good Success (Jan 24-Feb 2)

  • Hail Mary Most Holy, Beloved Daughter of God the Father

  • Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, grant thy good success to this request (name request)
    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be… Saint Michael, pray for us. **

  • Hail Mary Most Holy, Admirable Mother of God the Son** Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, grant thy good success to this request **(name request)** ... *Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...* Saint Gabriel, pray for us. **
  • Hail Mary Most Holy, Most Faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost** Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, grant thy good success to this request **(name request)** ... *Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...* Saint Raphael, pray for us. **
  • Hail Mary Most Holy, Temple and Sacrarium of the Most Holy Trinity.** St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, pray for us. [list]Our Lady of Good Success, thou who art the all-powerful intercessor before the Most Holy Trinity, deign to hear and answer my request - so long as it contributes to the salvation of my soul and the glory and exaltation of Holy Mother Church. *Salve Regina…(Hail holy Queen...)* [/list](taken from the following link: [dailycatholic.org/issue/2002Jan/jan24txt.htm]("http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/2002Jan/jan24txt.htm")

  • #13

    Thank you all so much for your prayers and concerns for me. And thanks for telling me I can write a private message if I wish, that really means alot to me. Today was an ok day, not so tough like recently. The problem with me is that I seem to always want to explain everything in words down to the last core. I’ve decided that regardless of what memories I have from the past, the relationships I have had with other women, or what ever has happened to me, I’ve decided to ignore it all.

    Like I’ve said, I feel no shame before God when I have relations with her. But if I try to word out these problems I will never be out of this whole. I mean I’ll have memories of past relationships I have had and I’ll add an imagination to the memory and will not be able to tell if it was a memory or an imagination. And I mix up memories. Anotherwords I’ll remember a discusting disgracful time I had when I committed a sin. I called a phone sex number and I was asked what kind of fantasy I wanted to have. We’ll I said “I’ll do domination” or something like that. And so I tell myself "Oh no what if I got married to that woman over the phone, I mean I was talking and I said in a sentence the word “I” and the word “Do” when I said “I’ll do domination,” So what if the word “Domination” was not in that memory but from another time and the words “I do” were spoken by me because I was marrying a woman. After all I was about to talk to one and ended up ejackulating (if I said it right) something that happens when you are married when you have sex. And all of these mixed memories mixing up words and re-aranging words thinking “what if” and adding imaginations or thinking I forgot parts and blah blah blah!:frowning:

    I apologize for all of that imformationm but I am trying to let you all know what I go through. So I think I am just to ignore all disturbing thoughts, memories, and what if’s. I have a wedding album from my wedding with Melissa, I have the wedding certificate and believe everything the Church teaches so if I got married in the Church then she must be my wife in His eyes and yes I feel no shame before God when I’m with her. So I think I am just going to ignore it all. I have written down in a notebook what a marriage is so hopefully that helps, but I think I will just let everything go.

    Please keep praying for me my Brothers and Sisters and perhaps I will write some of you a private message. God bless all of you:)


    #14

    [quote=J.W.B.]Thank you all so much for your prayers and concerns for me. And thanks for telling me I can write a private message if I wish, that really means alot to me. Today was an ok day, not so tough like recently. The problem with me is that I seem to always want to explain everything in words down to the last core. I’ve decided that regardless of what memories I have from the past, the relationships I have had with other women, or what ever has happened to me, I’ve decided to ignore it all.

    [/quote]

    If you can’t ignore it, at least declare it has no power over you, who are in Christ Jesus and are happily married to Melissa, in the Church, by a priest. You can thank the Lord for such a wonderful wife He has given you in Melissa, and for what Christ did, and that will continue to program your inner thoughts to dispel the lies that are trying to take over.

    Like I’ve said, I feel no shame before God when I have relations with her. But if I try to word out these problems I will never be out of this whole. I mean I’ll have memories of past relationships I have had and I’ll add an imagination to the memory and will not be able to tell if it was a memory or an imagination. And I mix up memories. Anotherwords I’ll remember a discusting disgracful time I had when I committed a sin. I called a phone sex number and I was asked what kind of fantasy I wanted to have. We’ll I said “I’ll do domination” or something like that. And so I tell myself "Oh no what if I got married to that woman over the phone, I mean I was talking and I said in a sentence the word “I” and the word “Do” when I said “I’ll do domination,” So what if the word “Domination” was not in that memory but from another time and the words “I do” were spoken by me because I was marrying a woman. After all I was about to talk to one and ended up ejackulating (if I said it right) something that happens when you are married when you have sex. And all of these mixed memories mixing up words and re-aranging words thinking “what if” and adding imaginations or thinking I forgot parts and blah blah blah!:frowning:

    Oh, I know exactly what you’re talking about, I think. It’s called “loose connections.”

    It’s kind of like playing a word association game but you’re so into it that you can’t stop it or control the tangents you go on. Is that anything like what you’re talking about? I’ve had that. It can be an incredibly exciting mental exercise, but very scary.

    I wasn’t quite sure if the phone thing was a memory, or an imagination. Is that what you mean, is that you aren’t sure either at times?

    There are a lot of good people who posted in this thread who are rooting for you. It sounds like you have a strong enough grasp of reality that you are able to classify at least most of the lies, or at least the most dangerous ones. I suspect that the liar himself, the prince of darkness, is trying to break up your marriage because it was blessed and you are committed to it, but I could be totally wrong. It could be totally not about your marriage, and that could just be bait. Either way, stick to the faith, keep writing, and I’ll pray that we will be able to rejoice with you as you heal and hopefully give us your thankful testimony in future posts.

    In faith, hope, and love,
    Alan


    #15

    J.W.B.,

    May the peace and healing of Christ be with you! I must confess I don’t have a good handle on what could be the root of your problem, but I just wanted you to know that I will keep you in prayer.

    I am going to the ordination of two priests tomorrow (I guess more correctly two deacons who will be ordained priests) and I will offer as my intention of Mass, the resolution of your issues in regards to your marraige. I pray that it will help.

    God bless and trust in the holy name of Jesus!


    #16

    [quote=briankarman]J.W.B.,

    May the peace and healing of Christ be with you! I must confess I don’t have a good handle on what could be the root of your problem, but I just wanted you to know that I will keep you in prayer.

    I am going to the ordination of two priests tomorrow (I guess more correctly two deacons who will be ordained priests) and I will offer as my intention of Mass, the resolution of your issues in regards to your marraige. I pray that it will help.

    God bless and trust in the holy name of Jesus!
    [/quote]

    Oh, my! I have never been to an ordination but my wife has and said they were beautiful! I hope you will benefit from it greatly!

    Alan


    #17

    JWB, I will be praying for you. I encourage you to pray, talk to your wife, and talk to a priest or doctor.


    #18

    Thanks all so much. No, the phone thing was real but it was only phone sex (I am so sorry I did that and have sinned against all of you since you all are part of the body of Christ) but I’ll question myself “just what if this or that happened?” See my problem is I’m so afraid that I’m living in sin and will be cast into hell forever. It’s not only the fear of hell, but the idea that I will not be with the Lord who I love oh so much, ABOVE ALL OF CREATION! With me, when I’m on a God “high” I feel like preaching to every last soul on earth about Christ. I have also helped my wife with her faith on areas she was weak on, and I always seem to have a positive effect on people when my soul is filled with God’s Holy Spirit. But then all these disturbing thoughts enter and they drain my energy away so I cannot focus on the Lord, my wife, my family etc. I do believe that Satan knows there is something about me that the DUN angel doesn’t like and will do anything he can to take me away from God. I could be using SO MUCH MORE energy FOR the Lord in prayer, with my wife, family, and even the novel I am working on that I hope will open many people’s eyes if Lord willing I ever complete it and get it published.

    There has been times where I have almost been convinced that I am willing and continuly sinning against Christ and no matter what, I will be going to hell, and by thinking that I fall into such a dark, misreable, and sadness depresion. I have asked myself "we’ll what if I leave Melissa because I come to believe the thoughyts I have, and then she has no one to take care of her, and what if she becomes depressed and falls away from God and I come to find out that she was my wife in His eyes, I could not handle that, I would NOT want to be in heaven if I made that mistake. But then I’ll tell myself “Oh come on, you know that your not married to her in God’s eyes, you know it, it’s a fact, I have showed you all the crystal clear evidence that your not, remember these memories, that says it all.” And the memories will be real memories plus imaginations or re-aranged thoughts and blah blah blah! I horrifying!

    So I am just going to ignore all of it. But oh if I heard God’s voice and He told me I KNOW I would NEVER AGAIN be bothered by any of this. Perhaps God is speaking through you guys? Anyways I am going to go, but I am just going to ignore these thoughts and I hope by that it’ll go away because like I said, I cannot get rid of it by wording it all out, and I love God above ALL of creation, and whenever I am with Melissa, I feel no sham at ALL before God.

    Please keep praying brothers and sisters, I love you all in Christ, amen:)


    #19

    [quote=J.W.B.]So I am just going to ignore all of it. But oh if I heard God’s voice and He told me I KNOW I would NEVER AGAIN be bothered by any of this. Perhaps God is speaking through you guys? Anyways I am going to go, but I am just going to ignore these thoughts and I hope by that it’ll go away because like I said, I cannot get rid of it by wording it all out, and I love God above ALL of creation, and whenever I am with Melissa, I feel no sham at ALL before God.

    Please keep praying brothers and sisters, I love you all in Christ, amen:)
    [/quote]

    JWB,

    I will keep praying for you.

    Have you ever read C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters? They are a series of letters, supposedly from a senior demon to his junior nephew, on how best to tempt the nephew’s human patient. I found them extremely helpful in resisting temptations.

    Do stay with your wife. Whatever may be going on inside your mind and spirit, there is the practical matter of supporting her. She deserves it. And in the final analysis, whatever your concerns about possible internal mental sins, not taking care of one’s wife is a very definite and practical sin.

    • Liberian

    #20

    i’m no counsellor, but i can pray. we’re praying for you, j.w.b.


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