Staying married leading to depression and faith frustrarion

and peace to all.
Im in an unhappy marriage where my spouse severed her tubes two years into our union ( we’ve been married 15 years ).
I told her I didn’t approve and that it was between her and God if she went ahead with it.
I didn’t divorce her because the Church says I cant and I loved her, meant my Christian vows and we both stated that if children became too big an issue to overcome , we would discuss it then.
I told her point blank , before proposing , that to marry I wanted children and she agreed.
Now , years later.
my wife is in poor health and much of my time,energy and finances are spent taking care of her.
I resent her taking the option of children away from me and I don’t even want them with her based on her actions.
I see no reason to be with her if there are no kids and feel I’ve been used and am being made a fool of all because I’ve chosen to be a good Catholic.
I’m 42 , see my happiness drifting away and can’t fathom years and years more of just sitting around looking at my wife watch television , while I feel nothing.
So let me get this straight and if anyone can help me - please do.
In order to remain in good standing with God and The Church , I just have to stay joyless for the rest of my life ?
That only by her death , am I to ever have choices in my life’s happiness again?
That just can’t be
. . .
and yes I’ve prayed


Assuming this isn’t a troll–and if you’re a genuine poster, you’ll forgive the suggestion because we see a lot of trolls around here–a few points:

–First, the Church does not forbid civil divorce for serious reasons, particularly when there may be cause for annulment. In this situation, if you sought an annulment, the marriage tribunal would be asking a number of questions, particularly about whether or not she ever meant to have children. If she intended not to have children at the time of your marriage, your marriage would be declared null–i.e., to never have existed. Even if the marriage isn’t null, if you do believe you have grave reason to divorce, so long as you remain chaste you remain a Catholic in good standing.

–That having been said, did you only marry her in order to have children? If so, that’s some seriously faulty decision-making on your part. I ask this because at no point in your post do you mention having loved your wife at any point.

–Is your wife suffering from clinical depression? You mention her sitting around and watching television. Does she have a job? Does she take care of the house? Why does she spend her time sitting around and watching television?

–Is she Catholic? Did you marry in the Church or, if she isn’t Catholic, receive a dispensation not to marry in the Church? If you didn’t, then your marriage is considered null due to lack of form.

–Have you spoken with a good priest, together or separately or both? Or gone to a good marriage counselor? Or gone on a Retrouaville retreat?

–Finally, your cross is indeed heavy, no matter what you may end up doing with it (i.e., seeking an annulment or staying). However, we as Catholics are often called to take up heavy crosses and follow Him. Considering the lives of certain of the saints may help you. If your wife has a clinical problem (depression, substance abuse, narcissism, etc, etc) then meeting with a support group may also help you. Focusing on your marriage and making it, on your part, the best that it can be may or may not help the actual situation, but cannot but help you spiritually. You “see no reason to be with her if there are no kids.” If you are validly married, then your calling in life is to help her get to Heaven. This may be through a serious wake-up call (setting boundaries and expectations and explaining that you will leave if reasonable boundaries and expectations are not kept), through wooing her back, or through loving her for the next forty years of her life. I’m a random stranger on the Internet, and can’t say for certain which path is yours, which is why you should speak to a good priest. I merely list these points in order to perhaps help you draw a few conclusions.

Well I logged on to post in this thread but I don’t think that there is anything left to say. The first reply is excellent. Your next step should be to visit a priest. You must proceed with a divorce before you can get an annulment. A member of my family went through the process. The woman eventually got the annulment and she married a family member.


He does say he loved her.

I struggle with this question, because my marriage was, in fact leading me to depression, extreme feelings of worthlessness and even self-loathing, and even at one point questioning my own sanity. Short story, lots of lies, verbal and emotional abuse, threats of physical abuse, and gas lighting going on. Three priests over the years said if I filed they would petition for annulment.

It still took me awhile to file, but one of the reasons I did (only one) was looking at my mother who, after 50 years with a father who treats her like garbage, is one of the most miserable, unhappy, critical, bitter people I’ve ever known. :frowning: I didn’t want to end up like that, in part based on Dennis Prager’s philosophy that happiness is a moral obligation (hope I worded his ideas right) because we do no good for God or anyone when we’re spewing misery into the world. I can attest to the truth of that after having to live with my mother growing up.

I also believe a valid marriage is not going to destroy and tear someone apart, as my marriage was doing to me. I believe the Catholic view of marriage is that, among other things, it should be two people helping one another get to Heaven. My marriage was not doing that, no matter how much I prayed and fasted, no matter how many books I read on doing my part to make it a good marriage.

So…will a tribunal find my marriage was never valid? I don’t know. But I can say that I’m much happier and my faith is growing stronger and deeper and more vibrant since I divorced.

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This probably sounds harsh, but it seems that it took you 13 years to come to the conclusion that you didn’t want to be married to someone that had her tubes tied.

In fact, it seems more that you don’t want to have to take care of your wife. That it is taking too much of your time, energy and finances. :shrug:

I invite you and your dear wife to Retrovaille. Sometimes it is through other people that we find help for ourselves and answers to our prayers.

… a lifeline for Marriages
A program to Help Couples Heal and Renew their Marriages.
Do you feel lost, alone or bored in your marriage?
Are you frustrated, hurt or angry with your spouse?
Are you constantly fighting? Or, do you simply shut down?
Have you thought about separation or divorce?
Does talking about it only make it worse?

… Retrouvaille provides marriage help!

My ex-wife rejected the faith (after agreeing on it before marriage) and opposed any attempt I made to live it in our marriage, family or child raising. She was fierce in her opposition. This broke my heart and caused me great distress, confusion and even psychiatric problems.

My own faith almost disappeared over 10 years of marriage - especially so after she had her tubes tied in the ninth year. We had three children by then and yet this action of hers distressed me greatly - your situation is so much worse.

Fortunately, my wife eventually ran off with another man, and divorced me, so I was not left to work out how to live the faith in such a marriage. When I read your post I realised how fortunate I am.

Since then life has been reasonably good to me, but my three children have all left the faith, and present me with continual concern, in many ways.

I try to take what joys I can from life (with my hobbies, work and friends) but they are no substitute for the marriage and family that I had hoped for.

Taking joy in the Lord when life has failed us is possible, but it takes effort and continual prayer and growth in the faith.

If I have one recommendation, it would be to protect your own faith and Catholic life, regardless of what is happening at home. It will provide joy and solace.

You are in my prayers.

That was harsh because that isn’t the same vibe I got from what he wrote. His wife took his chance of having children away, which is a very serious matter. No wonder he is so unhappy. Sounds like he has a pretty darn good chance at getting an anulment.

Can you point me to where the Church teaches this?

I think a quote from Viktor Frankl is appropriate here:

*We who lived, in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

You always have a choice.

That happened 13 years ago.

But he just now decided that it has ruined his life.

And he came to that decision now that she is sick and needs his help.

What has he been doing for the past 13 years for his happiness?

If you are 42 and your wife is a similar age, she would have had a tubal ligation in her mid 20s. Most physician would never perform sterilization surgery on a women so young unless she already had several children. Did your wife have health issues then that would have made future pregnancies dangerous? ( again trying to figure out how a physician would perfrm sterilization a young nulliparous women) I guess I just find the story suspect.

Thank you so much for your concern and caring
I understand I may have expressed myself incorrectly. I married her with children in mind and could accept it as part of Gods perfection if she couldn’t have children naturally. But her unnatural and vicious attack on her own body is tragic in my eyes and against Christ.

My wife does have a job and isn’t deeply depressed.
She is just getting unnaturally weaker and coming down with multiple illness at this time.
She’s 44 and even at her optimum health,has a bitter and very mean streak,doesn’t like new things and resents young people.

She claimed Catholicism when I courted her but never follows or claims Catholicism as her faith unless other Catholics are present.

We were married in a chapel by a Catholic Bishop ( I thought ).
Then years later when I needed proof of Catholic marriage to be a sponsor in a confirmation,I found out the " so called " Bishop did not file the sacrament and may not have been able to do to possible excommunication.
There was no Internet then and I couldn’t find out info like you can now.
The priest I met with agreed there was deceptive actions involved through no fault of my own and agreed to con validate my marriage.
( NOTE : when the children issue came up , I explained circumstances were involved that took that choice away - the priest wanted to speak to my wife alone and I don’t know what she truly told him ).

Honestly , she puts on the suit of Catholicism only when she feels she has to.
She was baptized and my marriage was con validated by a priest.
But I think she’s been deceptive and a priest would agree.

Thank you again for caring enough to write

You are 100% entitled to sound any old way you like.
It’s the Internet and everyone can have an opinion.
It didn’t take me years to get here.
I’ve been here but the anguish is getting overwhelming.
Previously, I pray and think I’m being a good Christian by staying.
MY VOWES mean everything. If I say something,it’s in stone.
But I had to reach out to someone.
The illness thing is not the problem.
It’s that it’s causing me to have to completely re invest in this relationship when I’m really not in love with this " other person " my spouse has become
I feel like " is this Gods only plan for me "- caretaker to a spiritual swindler ?

Thank you for the prayers.
Sorry about what happened to you.
I will absolutely take your advise
Thank you again

The vows have been broken in that you set out (a) Loving your wife, (b) being there in sickness and in health, © Honouring all of your Marriage Vows, (d) wanting to fulfil God’s desire for you to bring His Children into the World until you realised that your early forties have crept up and you have looked back/reflected on not having Children that you rightfully expected would occur during your Catholic Marriage.

I would be greatly disappointed too if this had happened to me!

You have fulfilled your Catholic Marriage Vows and although I am not a Priest, this is clearly deception conducted over the years, by what you have stated and greatly unfair! However, I am not judging your Wife; just stating the situation within the Marriage is sad; given you have wanted Children.

There is still time for you to find another Catholic Wife and have a Child or Children of your own; file for divorce if you have already touched base with your Bishop and your Parish Priest.

It took years for me to discover that my Husband never ‘believed’ and one of the reasons he did not wish to attend Mass with myself and the Children. I have prayed for him to open up his Heart to God many times over the years.

I know how being on the receiving end of deception within a Marriage feels.

Wow. Ain’t that the truth. Thank you for posting this.

Ok, here’s the thing. Before this post I definitely would have agreed that there was some deception which could possibly have invalidated the marriage, but that was before I realized the full circumstances of the convalidation. I’m sorry, but at the time of the convalidation (which was your real marriage) you knew full well that your wife never intended to have children, that she did not truly follow Catholic teaching etc etc. You were already aware of all of these issues at the time of your real marriage, and yet you still made those vows. I’m sorry, but that to me sounds like you do not, in fact, have a case for annulment. In order to obtain an annulment on the basis of deception this deception has to occur at the time of the marriage, but here it looks as though it all happened prior to your marriage and that there was no such deception at the time of your actual marriage. I think you are going to have to simply accept your situation and turn to God to learn how to live out your vocation in peace and love. Go to adoration and spend time there before the Lord. Do this often and it will help you to find peace in your situation.

This answer scares me because I know myself and praying the sorrow away and just kinda hoping for the best hasn’t worked.
I see non Christians divorcing and enjoying family life.
Pictures of family trips . . . GRANDCHILDREN
and me . . .
I just have to sit miserably?
I just cannot believe that this is a fulfillment of His Devine plans.Correction : I can have believe that I may not understand the Lord’s perfection in fates , but as I really reach down deep , I am not feeling it.
I think it’s clear that I must speak with a priest and be very honest.
This will destroy our lives as we know them.But it feels like this is what God is calling me to do.

I DO NOT want to sin.
But I’m falling into spiritual crisis

Priest here I come

thank you for your response

I would suggest that you consult your pastor, not random people on the internet, regarding the validity of your marriage and whether or not any grounds are present that may indicate an invalid marriage.

Regarding seeing non-Catholics “enjoying family life”, while they may be subjectively happy they are objectively committing adultery and offending God.

Again, the Church does not say “sit miserably”. You may indeed be called to separate physically from her. Maybe not. You should talk to your pastor.

We always have a choice. If you choose to be miserable, certainly you will be.

You may be called to a happy single life if you can neither live with her nor obtain freedom to marry another.

God honors our free will choices. Sometimes those choices have unpleasant consequences.

That is an excellent path.

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