Here is my situation, and I hope someone can clear this up. I was married in a civil ceremony and did not have my marriage validated for 9 years, so I know during that time, the Church did not recognize my marriage. We then had our marriage validated and were in a blessed union for 5 years before my wife left and we divorced. I petitioned and was granted an annulment. My question is, the state sayds my marriage of 14 years is over and the Church doesn’t recognize the first 9 years, as well as saying what looked like a marriage the last 5 years was not. When someone asks me whether I was married, how do I answer?
There is a distinction between the way secular society views your situation and what the Church recognizes. Secularly you were married for 14 years, however, since your marriage was declared null by the Church, you were never married as far as the Church is concerned. This situation is faced by anyone who’s gotten an annulment through the Church.
How do you respond to questions about this? You might say something like, “I thought I was validly married but came to find out that I wasn’t. The marriage was recognized civilly but not by the Church.”