The Vocation of Marriage


This is my first time posting here. I am curious as to see what type of response I might get to a question I have in regards to the vocation of marriage. I am married for 15 years and have had to deal with ongoing infidelity for the past 15 months. We have pretty much utilized every possible life line to save our marriage yet he still returns to this woman in times of weakness or sin. We have had continuous counseling and spiritual direction from our priest. My question is when is it okay to accept that a spouse has a problem which he or she needs to fix and separation is necessary. I guess I would like to know if there is anyone who has been through this in their marriage and how they decided to go or continue to stay in a marriage that continues to have infidelity issues. I feel like I have done everything I truly can to help save my marriage and when it comes to the infidelity I am powerless over it, aside from fervent prayers. It has affected my mental health. I want to do the right thing for my vocation and my family but when is enough, enough? I basically have a priest telling me to stick by him and my vocation and be his anchor otherwise he will fall prey to the sin again. My family is telling me to leave. I feel as though I am being torn in two. To make matters worse we have four children. My husband has cut off his relationship for the fourth and what he says is the final time but I have heard this all before. I am wondering if I am enabling him to continue this behavior by staying and being his anchor. Who is supposed to be my anchor during all of this? I am so confused and need any and all advice I can get. I am going to be going on a silent retreat for Lent next weekend and hope that God gives me some sort of clarity there. I appreciate any and all thoughts, suggestions, and insights into this issue.
God Bless,


I’m very sorry for your situation, and sorry that I don’t have any advice for you. :frowning: I can’t imagine the struggle you are dealing with.

I just wanted to make sure you knew that I am praying for you AND for your husband.

Oh, and friends at CAF make pretty good anchors sometimes. :wink:

God bless you.


I’m so sorry you are in this position. :frowning: My heart goes out to you! I’ve had to ask myself that question too (when is it enough). I can tell you that my husband of 15 years had an affair stemming from a porn addiction. He was remorseful, stopped the affair, started counseling and he became a different person over a few months. I forgave him and then, unintentionally, became pregnant (we had 4 kids at the time).
He fell back into his addiction a month later and resumed the affair a month and a half after that. I found out immediately and felt the marriage was over. I wanted out so badly after having lived with an active addict for 15 yrs. that I called the other woman and told her she could have him, that he was her problem now. Apparently, after that phone call my husband and this woman broke it off. I was happy for myself to be getting out of such a disconnected marriage and, on the other hand, distressed for my kids. I felt that in order for me to be happy, my kids would have to suffer. It was absolute torture and I really thought I might have a breakdown. I decided that I would sign us up for a Retrovaille weekend and when that was over, if I saw no change, I would separate. I felt that after Retrovaille I could honestly tell my children that I had done all I could to keep our family intact and I felt secure knowing that I wouldn’t later be laying awake at night thinking "if only I had done so and so… maybe it could have worked."
My husband had a very emotional experience that weekend and I can say that my husband’s willingness to continue with the communication style they teach there kept me in the marriage until my husband really found the courage to change his behaviour by attending Sexaholics Anonymous meetings a year later. He is a different and better man now and both of us have hope.

Kmommyx4, you need to ask yourself if (1) you are willing to risk exposure to STDs from an continuously unfaithful man and (2) are you willing to gamble with your children’s future marriages by passively condoning his infidelity. Besides the fact that his soul is in danger and he apparently needs to be really shaken up to get that thru his head.
God bless you. I pray God gives you the strength and wisdom to get thru this whatever you decide.


Well I wanted to say thank you to the replies thus far. First I want to say that we did do the Retrovaille Weekend and I felt that was the best answer at the time but he continued to the affair and that was a burned up bridge. :confused: I was still committed to the marriage and more than willing to give it my all again but of course it happened again. He did mention that he thought maybe he had a sexual addiction. He is seeing a Catholic Counselor on his own now to address this and all other problems. I want my marriage to be saved but what if you can not save the other person from themselves. The other person really has to do it on their own. At least that is the conclusion I am starting to come to through all of this. No matter what I have done, said or tried to emphasize to him about how much I love him and want our marriage it was ultimately up to him to go back to this woman over and over again. I feel so powerless in all of this that I think I do need to let him go and see if and how he comes back to me as a different man. I am torn about my kids as they are truly the ones who will suffer from this in the end. I want to protect them from all of this but do not know how much longer I can exist in all of this mess. Thanks so much for all the replies thus far. It means so much to know that there are other people out there who have been through this and can offer support or advice.
God Bless,


My heart truly goes out to you. I was with my ex for 11 years, and the entire time he had an addiction which I will not detail here, but it was of a sexual nature. I know what it means to live with betrayal and lies, it rips your heart out. We were never able to have children, and so I decided to end it, and was granted a declaration of nullity.

I am not saying this is the answer for you. If I had children I don’t think I could have left. But staying is indeed its own hell, and this I totally understand.

I will pray for you - I’m sorry I don’t have any answers. Pray for acceptance of God’s will - even a will you may not like. He knows your heart and will help you through this.



You have no obligation to expose yourself to STDs and I don’t think I would be able to sleep with a woman knowing she slept with someone else too. Okay, because I wouldn’t doesn’t mean there’s no obligation but I can tell you basing on canon law that after infidelity, you have the right to refuse to sleep with him.

Let me give you the link: Here, at Vatican’s own site

Mental health of children may be a just cause for separation as well, though I wouldn’t take it on me to say when, in what cases, etc.

Has he cut off all the means of contact with that woman? Phone numbers, e-mail addresses, postal addresses, whatever? I don’t think they have any need to stay friends or any realistic possibility of staying just that (not like I’m such a wise person to know for sure). Besides, cutting it all off completely with burning all bridges should be easier to take than further days and months of temptation. If more painful in the one sweep it takes.

Did the affair with that woman start before or after marriage?


One thing I will say here is that divorce does not necessarily ruin a child’s life. My parents were divorced when I was quite young and today I have a fairly decent relationship with both of them and am a happy, fairly successful person.

To be honest, I don’t have much patience with grown people who moan that all the problems in their lives were caused by their parent’s divorce. It’s more often the fact that their problems are caused by their own lack of industriousness and effort.


I’m so sorry for your pain, It sounds like you have done everything you can and you do need an anchor your right, no one should have to suffer like this. You deserve happiness and it’s what God wants for you.

I will keep you in my prayers :frowning:


For the record - I have extremely good relationships with both my parents, we are very close, I am quite happy, and quite successful. I don’t moan about the problems in my life, and I do not blame anything on my parent’s divorce. And trust me, there has been no “lack of industriousness and effort” in my life - I’ve been able to attain what I have totally on my own and with no assistance. I stated my personal experience to show that I have some basis of speaking on the topic, and don’t come at this from some place of inexperience.

Bravo to you that the breaking up of your family left you totally unscathed and so happy go lucky about the experience! I’m so very happy to hear that.

Now, if we can please continue on with discussing the topic at hand instead of offering commentary on the posts of others…



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