Wife not interested in regularizing marriage

I recently received an annulment from my first marriage and now want to have my current marriage blessed. My wife, however, feels that our marriage is already valid and does not want to have it blessed. She is insistent about this. I’m not sure where to go from here. Can I receive the sacrament of marriage through the Church without my wife’s participation?

Oh, man! What a jam. You know the real status of your marriage, want it convalidated and she’s clueless. Is she Catholic?

The only thing I could recommend is to get with a good, solid priest/confessor and just lay your cards on the table. I wonder what pastoral solution an honest priest would offer? I don’t know, but it seems there are just a few options.

  1. Do what many do everyday. Just pretend everything is okee-dokee. Continue to receive the Blessed Sacrament as if nothing’s wrong, while accepting her refusal to convalidate the marriage.

  2. Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconcilliation regularly and do the best you can to live chaistly, while praying every day for your wife’s conversion.

  3. Live as Joseph and Mary, pray for her conversion regularly. Tough choice but, to receive the precious body of Christ worthily, a real option.

  4. Break it off and pray for a good Catholic girl who is, like you, free to marry.

I’m sure there are other solutions, but none can be easy. My friend, I will pray for you.

I forgot to mention that, no, you cannot receive a convalidation of marriage without your wife’s full knowlege and participation.

Invite your priest to dinner some night and discuss it.

I’m all in favor of communicating with one’s spouse. If she loves you, and she knows you don’t consider yourself married and therefor the marital act for you is a sin, she ought to consider convalidating the marriage for your conscience’s sake. Why wouldn’t she?

I would hate to force my spouse to sin in order to live a normal married life.
God bless.

Yes, convalidation without your spouse’s participation is possible, it’s called radical sanation. This is a process that is used only for serious reasons.

Here are some links to an article on radical sanation:



I urge you to talk to a priest regarding your current invalid marriage, your wife’s hostility to the faith, etc., and discuss your options regarding convalidation and possibly radical sanation.

Why is she not interested? It would seem that this is an even for more commitment, more celebration, blessings and all around a reason to say congrats and I love yous.

Why would a woman refuse that? Is she Catholic? Is she ashamed of something or afraid of someone knowing something? Is she over-stressed with other things going on?

Oh, yes, radical sanation. I stand corrected. Rare, and as you say, to be used for serious reasons. Also, very specific conditions must exist to use this form of convalidation, but this could be the answer.

But to define her consent. Wouldn’t that be the hard part? Not having any experience with radical sanation, it seems that if sufficient consent were present, a normal convalidation would be possible. It appears that the priest would have some sophisticated sleuthing to determine consent of the uncooperative person. The only thing I have trouble with is, assuming the radical sanation is granted, the uncooperative person later saying they didn’t consent, nor wanted to consent.

Another thing I find fascinating about radical sanation was that NEITHER party could know it happened. (Can. 1164) I wonder how often that happens?

Thanks for your responses. I’ll talk to my priest about the situation and ask him about radical sanation.

I’m a convert to the Catholic faith and my wife is a lapsed Catholic. Like many lapsed Catholics, her focus seems to be on the faults of the Church rather than its holiness. This keeps her from really entering into all that God has to offer us in the Church. I pray always for her to grow in faith.


Of the four options you presented, do you think all will get the O.P. into Heaven?

It seems like #1 runs the risk of mortal sin.

There’s no ‘seems’ about it, option one IS gravely sinful. Option one was a little tongue-in-cheek, but an option that appears to be often employed by those who are in irregular marriages. Option one is what a buddy of mine does. He and his ‘wife’ stride up to receive Holy communion as if everything is just hunky-dory, not a care in the world.

Would I ever recommend option one? Never, but I was hoping I presented it with just enough sarcasm to make it clear that option one, while often used, really isn’t an option at all.

The cheek of this guy just cracks me up.


I just wanted to tell you that many priests do not know about the radical sanation. I am in the process of a radical sanation and let me tell you that I had to tell my Pastor what it was. After I explained this to him, he had me call the Marriage Tribunal at my Diocese and speak to a priest there. Then the priest sent the radical sanation petition to my Pastor. Form there, I had to ask for a copy of my baptismal certificate, and of my confirmation (the bad thing is that I was baptized in Mexico so it took 2 months to get the certificate).

When the Parish received my baptismal certificate, the pastor had to have a talk with me to find out why DH wouldn’t do a simple convalidation. You have to let him know why exactly you feel you need to have a radical sanation.

You also need to tell this to the bishop’s office (the marriage tribunal). Then, after the priest submits your paperwork to the Diocese, the Tribunal will contact you and ask you many, many questions.

I was asked why I don’t just wait to see if DH would convert to Catholicism. Also, they had me ask him if he knew his mother is now a Catholic (something MIL asked me not to say to DH). They said they wouldn’ think about my case unless we knew how DH would respond to his mother being Catholic.

I had to ask him. After I told the Tribunal his response, they said they wanted to make sure he wouldn’t object to me being Catholic (even though I had already told them). I am a catequist (I teach catechism every Sunday before Mass for 1.5 hrs) and attend a Catholic Institute, go to Mass every Sunday and days of obligation. I thought that was enough for them to see he doesn’t object, because he doesn’t. Plus, he’s very supportive and always asks how Mass, the class or anything Catholic went.

They also want to make sure he will let me raise the children Catholic, or at least let him know that I will do all in my power to raise them Catholic (whenever we decide to have children). They said he has to sign some letter regarding the children and they want to speak to him in person to make sure he wants to stay married forever.

It’s a long process. All are unique and they have to look at each and every one of them in detail. So be patient. I’m in month 4 and still have no clue of when they’ll talk to DH or if the Bishop will grant the sanation.

So, good luck, God bless, and you are in my prayers!!

Since I am in Chortle’s position, let me add that reconciliation is not an option either. He can go speak to a priest, but his sin will not be absolved until he gets his marriage covalidated or sanated.

I’m living this at the present moment. It hurts to be in this position, but we’re in it because we chose to marry outside of our faiths. Well, me at least. Since the OP is a convert, this comment doesn’t apply. But now that he is a Catholic, he should know that because he is invalidly married, he is living in sin, therefore, he cannot be absolved. :frowning: Being married outside of the CC or w/o a dispensation is committing fornication in the eyes of the CC and God (unless you abstain from marital relations, then you’d be committing no sin).

Your wife probably thinks that it’s some sort of insult to the vows already taken in another forum. Ask if she will do it privately with just two witnesses present for the sake of your conscience. Invite the priest to dinner – good idea. If she refuses to consent, seek a sanatio in radice. We have a long-married couple in our parish in similar circumstances – I think the sanatio was thirty years ago.

Speak with your pastor. There may be options for you.

Just out of curiousity, was your marriage ceremony, a Christian one, or a civil one?

(unless you abstain from marital relations, then you’d be committing no sin).

Yay! I think if you’re going to be a man about this you’ve got to be resolute in your commitment to God. You’d rather live a life of abstention than commit a mortal sin.

Just ask a priest about a sanatio in radice.

you people are the worst catholics ever…

Instead of thinking “for this man to want his technical wife enough to consider a marriage to her he must love her alot, we should help him” you decide she is entirely wrong and is a potential threat to his soul. He loves her enough that he is worried for her soul and is trying everything in his power to keep her safe, and your catholic, all loving, understanding, forgiving advice is ditch her and find yourself a nice catholic girl…

I apologise to those who suggested talking it through with a priest, or with her, but some of these answers are just…wrong

My advice, original poster, if you don’t mind me giving advice, is that you should find out why she has these reservations. If she loves you enough to have one type of marriage then yes, she should realise how much being married in the eyes of God means to you. I have much the same view as her, but if my wife was catholic and wanted enough for us to be married in her Gods eyes, I would concede.

Good luck with you relationship, and may God, of whichever denomination you hold closest to your soul, be with you.

:Edit: I realise now that this question was asked month ago. I hope you are still with her and that you have sorted things out

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