Supporting friend through (invalid) marriage troubles


Hello, friends,

I have a dilemma. A friend of mine is having some major marriage problems and may well be on the brink of divorce. She is a long-lapsed Catholic, currently attending a Methodist church, and this is her third marriage. #1 was in the Catholic Church, #2 wasn’t but ex-h died in a car crash after the divorce, and #3 was in a non-denominational church. This friend knew me before I converted to the Catholic faith, and she wasn’t too thrilled about it but she accepted it. I’m wondering how to be a friend to her through this, knowing that she may soon be ending a marriage which wasn’t valid to begin with in the eyes of the Church which she has abandoned. Religious issues aside, this current marriage is a mess and both parties would probably be better off going their separate ways. Knowing this, and knowing it is an invalid marriage anyway, I am secretly somewhat glad that it might come to an end. But I am truly sorry to see her hurting in the way that she is. She has a lot of hostility toward the Church, so I don’t see this as a time to encourage her to return to the Sacraments if they split up; I can only offer my good example at this point. So I listen in a non-judgmental way and I pray for her, but does anyone have any other ideas on how to deal with this situation? Do I encourage her to try to make things work anyway and hope that she eventually makes her situation right with the Church, do I encourage her to leave, knowing that she will probably go out and find hubby #4 if she does, or do I just shut up and pray?

Thanks in advance, and happy new year!


Lead with the heart, Carrie, the rest will follow.


Wow, what a lot of questions.

She’s still married (invalid, got it), but the marriage is a bad one and you think she’d be better off divorced from this man. She has to make her own choices.

As for her faith and returning to the sacraments, pray, pray, pray, and make sacrifices. Let God work in her heart. Don’t be worried about husband #4. Just keep praying, and trust that God will open your mouth with the words she needs to hear, words that may be as simple as “I care” or “How can I help you?”

God bless you and your friend.



Thanks for your responses. I guess that part of my feelings stem from the fact that I led a pretty messed-up life myself before my conversion. I also am twice-divorced (had the first one annulled but haven’t gotten around to #2 yet), but I have chosen to give up dating and to live a life of chastity. I have found so many blessings in living my life God’s way according to the Church’s teachings, realizing that doing things “my way” only led to misery. I’m hoping that this crisis in her marriage will be a wake-up call for her and an opportunity for her to be able to reconcile with the Church, but I guess all I can do is to pray and to set a good example, reminding her of how much better my life is today than before, when I was wallowing in sin and telling myself it was OK and “fun.”

Wishing all of you a blessed New Year,


I think that youshould just tell her where you stand, Continue to pray for her and love her and be there for her as a good friend should be.


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