Reconciliation- marriage issue


#1

First time poster but long term reader. Thank you to all who contribute!

I have recently returned to full communion into the church, and really pleased to say that my wife is looking to become baptised. She had some bad experiences with the church as a child, but she is really enjoying going to mass and feels much better.

We had a chat about confession and I mentioned that I went recently to ‘make things right’ in reconciliation. We had moved in together before marriage- I didn’t mention this as a sin particularly, but I had a confession in the priests house where I told my life as a story- I wanted him to see my journey coming back to God.
My wife took this to mean that I considered our life before somehow ‘wrong’ and that I was being hypocritical- living that life, knowing it was wrong. Moreover she felt hurt and said she felt like it would ‘look’ as though she had forced me into this living arrangement. I said this wasn’t true- It was my choice- and I was responsible for my actions. I also explained that the priest doesn’t judge- and that my actions were my own, anyway.

My view on everything is that God steered me around this path. I wasn’t well catachised, and I did fall away from the church. However I maintained that I would only be with one woman, and that is how it remained until marriage.

I had a real conversion event recently and a profound experience of God. I felt Him telling me to come back, and also to bring my wife. Certain events have happened which have led to all of this falling into place.

I have heard and read that God can bring us back in a way ‘around the houses’. I don’t feel I did ‘wrong’ before. Because my wife had to move for work when we were younger, I followed her to look after her. This wouldn’t have happened if I had been against living together and I’m not sure I could have been strong enough, anyway, to maintain a brother-sister relationship. I believe God knew this and allowed this, so that we could be together and in the position we are now- both of us coming to him in faith. Our life is much more stable than it was, and we are firmly putting down roots and building a future and this includes being completely open to children.

I’m not quite sure, though, how to explain this to my wife without her getting the wrong idea- that I was somehow ashamed of being with her or for my actions. I see it more that I am acknowledging there was an absence of God in my life, and the sacrament of reconciliation was my going through the door, back into the fullness of Christian life.


#2

First of all, welcome back to the Church!
What a glorious time to return now under our wonderful Papa Francis time as Pope.
I hope the both of you settle within our magnificent church and that you both learn to appriciate her as a break from a otherwise stressful secular society.

My advise is to go to mass as oftnen as you can, even mass druing the weekdays as its so helpful for ones spiritual life.

Anyways, if I got it right you didn’t know how to separate sins from no sins so you desided to just share you’re life with the priest an leave it to him do decide, Im I right?

Why did your wife react to this?
I mean if you go to confession it’s really about YOU and GOD, no one else really so for her to feel bad and be offended by your confession you simply must hav told her about it afterwards am I right?

Also, remember that as Catholics we do not believe in predestination.
It’s not like some of us are ment to live a sinful life until they are converted at their deathbed and other are called to be devout Catholics from their birth.
We are responsible for our everyday choices, so therefor it isn’t right that you where ment to live in sin until now in order to come back to God with your wife.
Everyday God call on us to return to him or to stay with him and sometimes we hear his voice calling on us other times we don’t.
I think it depends how much we’re listening actually.

So if you have lived an entire life away from the church you have missed God calling you everyday until now and therefor you should confess sins commited before you returned now.
If you’re not sorry for it yet, I recommend you to hold of confession until its sincere.
There is no point in confession if ones not truely sorry about it.

Anyway, once again welcome Home brother!

Yours in Jesus and Mary

  • MarianCatholic

#3

Just to clarify- I acknowledged those things are wrong- and I was very sorry to be away from God during this time, above all.

The point I wanted to make was that I believe that my path through life has led to this point where we are at now- which is very blessed. I don’t think we could have been at this point unless I was living the way I was living. So, I don’t regret that period as such but see it as part of God’s plan.


#4

Well, God is always working everything to the good, no matter how much we mess up. I think it’s very presumptions to declare that everything you’ve done in the past is part of God’s plan. I wouldn’t be here today without having fallen deep into mortal sin - was that part of God’s plan? I wouldn’t presume to say so. We won’t know until we see Him face to face.

In the meantime, you need to pray for a spirit of repentance. Living together before marriage was a grave sin - period.

As far as what your wife thinks, that’s a tricky situation. I don’t really know what to tell you. You seem to feel that it is a foregone conclusion that she will be brought along with you into the church. I hope that’s the case, but it doesn’t seem like a sure thing at this point. All you can do it be honest with her. Don’t try to spin it. A sin is a sin - you can’t control what her reaction is going to be to hearing that news, and, frankly, it’s not your responsibility.

I’m sorry if my words sound harsh. I don’t mean to be, it just seems to me from your post that you have quite a ways to go in your own spiritual journey before you are able to bring your wife along (if ever).


#5

Thanks for the reply. I think I phrased my question poorly which has led to the last response which did come across harsh- but I think I see your angle.

I am not justifying away my actions as not sinful. I raised all of these matters in the form of a timeline/story to my confessor, which he said was perfectly acceptable. Clearly I only raised those areas which are contrary to church teaching.

What I tried to explain to my wife is that I cannot agree with her that I was a hypocrite or that she had ‘forced’ me against my will. I was naive about teaching, and poorly catechised.
Had I not moved down with her, I think she would have really struggled by herself. If I had the thought to remain where I was, I’m not sure I could have lived with that, as we were deeply in love and wholly committed to one another.

My point was that, I think, I have been ‘allowed’ by Gods grace to live that life which ultimately led to my recent profound experience, in which I was, in no uncertain terms, given the courage to speak to my wife, to grow the seeds which were already in her, and to come forward and open up the church to her.
I believed I needed to seek reconciliation for straying; and formally re-enter the church and into communion with God in this way.
As such I can be a more positive role model to my wife from this point, and since the beginning of Lent, I feel a wisdom and understanding of the faith like which I have never experienced before.

I believe these circumstances were ‘meant to be’. I do not agree with pre-destination- I am Catholic, not Calvinist, but I do believe God can ‘allow’ someone to go a certain way, then bring them back. Certainly by the light of my actions in the past, I see church teaching in a much more positive light.


#6

Of course he lets us go a certain way - He gave us free will. I just want to make sure you understand that, regardless of how much you think that living together brought you to where you are today, it was a sin. You need to be clear on that. Don’t get me wrong, what is happening in your life is wonderful, and it is clearly the work of the Holy Spirit. But your words make it sound like you do not yet embrace the teachings of the church as infallible - or, at least not in your case. My suggestion would be that you continue to pray about this.

As far as confession goes, I don’t think it would be a bad idea to speak to a priest again about the particular sin of living together before marriage. (Perhaps he can guide you with regard to what to say to your wife.)

By the way - I don’t think you have to feel ‘regret’ per se in order to feel repentance. Maybe this is where your wife is getting confused? Regret is kind of a useless feeling - it doesn’t change anything - what’s done is done and life has gone on. I lived with my ex-husband before marriage and we just kind of slipped into marriage. Had I done things differently (sought out a husband of faith, lived a chaste life, etc.), I might have a happy marriage today. I might have never lost my faith to being with. That’s all useless speculation because my life is what it is now - good, bad, ugly and beautiful.

Did God ‘let’ me sin? Yes - he ‘lets’ us all sin. That doesn’t mean what we chose was good for us or others, even if good did come out of it.


#7

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