Badly Unequally yoked

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

I am a catholic in my twenties and have been married for about 1 year and a half. We have no children. I am married to a non believer. I have been badly suffering in my conscience for the whole duration of our marriage, as I dont think I married him for the right reasons ?

When we were engaged, he had a lot of emotional problems and his parents divorced. Prior to our marriage I tried to call it off but he broke down emotionally, which is something that occured frequently in our relationship and I always felt sorry for him and when I tried to call it off, he broke down and said he would get help, which is something he did (get on antidepressants). I wasnt confident about our marriage but thought, ok, I will support him, I will help him and we had a marriage planned, invites out, ready to go, etc. My own family life had problems/ a little coodependent and I wanted to escape. We also had sex before mariage which bound me to him further. I felt guilty and wanted to make it right ? I didnt think deeply about the implications of marrying out of my faith. I was very very anxious before marriage but too weak ? to call it off. Didnt want to hurt anyone but didnt put God first or my own needs. My husband turned out to be a depressed, antisocial (even with me) alcoholic who doesnt like my family. He does what he wants and when he wants to. I have suffered depression, isolation, job loss, despair and have changed in myself to become a bitter, resentful and more selfish person. I cant give to others because I somehow, obssess over this problem. I never experienced bad feelings of hate before. Feels like I am in hell. I question what God wants from me in this situation and why ?

We married in the Church but did not have pre marriage counselling because he didnt want to. We also had a mass for our wedding and I remember praying for him. I also was very naiive and thought/wished for the best. No one really guided me in this decision. I wanted to get married and wanted it to work.

I feel guilty to go. Maybe God wants me here now that we are married ? God wants unity. Bible also says that the believer must stay with unbeliever (1 Cor. ch 7:12) Husband wont go. Husbands father alcoholic, mother left for that reason; grandfather alcoholic etc. Husband not interested in church. Husband poor communicator/ doesnt cope with stress/little intimacy. Am concerned for his welfare if I go, will I be commiting a sin etc. What will happen to me, will I attract the same again, be able to stay single, will I be forcing him into adultry even though he is not a christian ???? I feel selfish and not loving because I dont want to be in this situation that I have chosen. Please, please help me. What do I do ? I have prayed but I drop this cross daily, if it is the one I have to carry now. I dont like myself and what I see inside. Thankyou for your responses

-- stranded (noemail@noemail.com), July 18, 2004

Answers

Dear stranded,

It sounds like you are in a very difficult situation. Please pray about this. Consider praying a novena or praying to Saint Rita, the patron of difficult marriages. From the information you shared, it sounds like your marriage was for the wrong reasons (eg. family pressure, etc.), so you may qualify for an annulment.

I suggest talking to a good priest. Find one who is faithful to the Church's teachings. Also, commit this to prayer and attend mass as much as possible. I too am going through a difficult time in my life, and I find such peace and comfort from going to mass. Visit Jesus at the Blessed Sacrament.

I will pray for you. God bless,

-- Emily ("jesusfollower7@yahoo.com), July 18, 2004.


Dear Stranded,

Many of the questions you are finding so difficult may turn out to be non-issues. The central question that must be answered is this - are you in fact validly married? If you are not, and there is no apparent chance of ever having a valid union with him, then separating is the right thing to do. Separating in the case of an invalid marriage (which is really a non-marriage) would not be a sin, would not require you to remain single, and would not place him in danger of adultery.

The determination of validity must be made by a marriage tribunal. This body will examine the circumstances of your marriage, and determine whether there were any impediments at the time of the marriage which would be obstacles to validity. If such impediments are found (and the situations you describe are very likely to qualify), an "annulment" will be granted by the Church (a formal statement that the marriage was not valid). This would free both of you to continue your lives as single persons, and both of you would be free to marry someone else should the opportunity arise. Note that an annulment would not "dissolve" your marriage, but rather would formally state that no actual marriage ever occurred.

I don't think it is fair to yourself to describe it as "the situation you have chosen". You didn't choose this. You naively hoped for something far better, even though all of the signs predicted disaster. You (both of you hopefully) should speak to your priest about seeking an annulment, before you are both further damaged by the situation you are now in.

-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), July 18, 2004.


stranded,

there is nothing i can add to paul m's answer in regards to validity of marraige and annulments. i agree, you should see your priest. what i want to address is a dangerous problem inherent in your situation, one that lies in your court that YOU have the power to change:

I have suffered depression, isolation, job loss, despair and have changed in myself to become a bitter, resentful and more selfish person. I cant give to others because I somehow, obssess over this problem. I never experienced bad feelings of hate before.

virtue is not dependant on outside factors. the source of your virtue is yourself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, not your marraige, and not your husband's attitude. Even when Christ was whipped and crucified He did not become hateful... He prayed for His tormentor's forgiveness. as a christian, you will walk some particularly hard roads in your life, you will have to work with or endure people whom you dont like, or who have bad attitudes towards you. what is important for you is that you remain stoically comitted to christian virtue. realize that you are empowered and it is your choice, not situational.

i think the first step to feeling better, in your situation, is to realize this fact, and regain your original life attitudes.

-- paul h (dontsendmemail@notanaddress.com), July 19, 2004.


Reading your posting was like looking into a mirror of my own life...only my husband and I have been married for 15 yrs and not married in a church. We have/had all the same problems you describe going through, EVERYTHING...substance abuse, depression meds, antisocial, nonbeliever, hates my family, premarital sex, breaking it off,..etc etc. (Are you SURE you really arent me??) I CAN tell you that this is NOT going to get any better, and you will spend your life praying for this man. He will not change. You have an advantage over my situation though, your marriage is still young and you have the opportunity to help yourself before it goes on and on and the hopelessness of a non-christian marriage takes over your very being. (We did not have children because of his personality and his NON-beliefs) I will not tell you to leave this person because only you have that answer in your heart (and so did/do I). I think one of the reasons I was attracted to my husband was because he was an 'underdog' ...misunderstood, blah blah blah...I too, wonder if God wants me to be his salvation. His ridiculous blasphamous beliefs of life put a craw in our relationship but it only makes me steadfast in my own beliefs. And every Sunday, when I come home from church, I bring him the 'word of God'....does it help change anything? No. But this week, I was angry and did not share the word with him. Believe it or not, he ASKED what the message was, (and of course, even tho I was mad, I could not, WOULD not ever deny a person who wants to hear) So, perhaps in his tiny grinch of a heart, there is a yearning to be the type of person he needs to be. And so, after 15 yrs, I am still here. Miserable, lonely, isolated and in the same situation as you are....think about the future before the future is here. God Bless You in your struggles and I will pray for you both

-- Ima Catholic (not@home.net), July 19, 2004.

Dear Stranded,

Emily, had some great advice in seeking comfort in mass and the Blessed Sacrament. I can relate to your etraordinary pain.

In my heartbreak and difficult times, I discovered the power of the Holy Spirit as Paul's excellent post describes. The Holy Spirit has gifts galore -for those who ask and seek. He will change YOU, comfort you, and guide you to get to the place where you need to be. Ask for Him to start changing YOU.

You can also pray to clearly understand God's will for your life. He will, indeed, tell you His will if you listen and give yourself over to His will. The trust factor involved can be very difficult - but it is what Jesus asks of us. And you may even find yourself doing things that are not of your will - but of God's design.

He does have a super great plan for your life, but you may have to wait and spend much time in prayer - not just a quick bedtime prayer. I'm talking serious quiet time, time before the Blessed Sacrament, novena after novena after novena to St. Rita, St. Anthony, St. Padre Pio or whomever you favor. Frequent mass, confession, rosary, Devine Mercy Chaplet...

Don't have time for all this? Ask the Holy Spirit to help with the time. I found the more I prayed, the better time management skills I acquired. Really, it's true. God seemed to multiply my time like the loaves and fish miracle.

Stranded, it is now time to kick it into gear. Every time you start feeling self -pity, depression, fear, etc, ask the Holy Spirit to take it away for you. He will.

Ask God for strength, help, guidance and mercy mercy and more mercy. God will tell you whether to stay in the marriage, seek annullment or whatever he needs for you to do. God may be using this situation in your life to get you to where He wants you to be, in terms of faith. Unfortunately, God uses the times of brokenness as our wake- up call to seek God out. He has been using the brokenness in my life to get my flame of red hot faith burning.

May God Bless you and show you where you need to be. Now go seek Him out, Stranded.

Jennifer

-- Jennifer (jrabs@jrabs.com), July 19, 2004.



stranded,

Is anyone 'equally yoked'? Where exactly is unequal yoking in regard to your situation described in Catholic teaching?

Stranded, we are all stranded UNLESS in communion with God -God is our unity -Seek God and realize your 'stranded' status is but 'me me' flesh talking... Stranded, you seem to have all the 'victimhood' terms included in your description -- If there is a victim THEN there is a victimizer - who is victimizing you -furthermore, what does relative argument have to do with Truth... -My understanding is that we have a duty to uphold God's word no matter what -there are no excuses or relative arguments that make Truth any less true...

Do not fall into the trap of moral relativism -no matter what your husband has done or is doing -The same arguments you use could easily apply to a situation that is completely beyond your husbands control e.g. accidentally paralyzed and now comatose in a vegatative state -- The only difference between the different scenarios is intent and political correctness; both of which have nothing to do with Truth IF you are validly married -YOU are validly married --and YOU are called to follow God's word...

Regarding "I question what God wants from me in this situation and why." IF you are attempting to discern just what God and the Church teach regarding your situation 'annulment' specifically and marriage in general I would suggest you read the Catechism of the Catholic ChurchCatechism of the Catholic Church (you can search using specific words etc.) and the Speeches of the Holy Father to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

-emotions aside; your eternal life is at stake here and I would suggest you do more than just 'hope' or rely on others to get it right...

P.S. If you do decide to 'really' research the Truth yourself I would be interested to hear what you find and compare it to what I found... God Bless You.

Daniel////

-- Daniel Hawkenberry (dlm@catholic.org), July 19, 2004.


Get out of your marriage NOW before it's too late. You are young and you have no children so you can get a divorce now and put it all behind you. Then you can apply for an annulment, which is almost always granted.

I cannot tell you how many women stay in a bad marriage thinking that they can change their husband for the better. It NEVER happens. It only gets worse. When a marriage is bad from the start there is no hope.

Just think what it will be like once you have a child with this man. Then you will never be free of him even if you get a divorce. There will be issues of custody, child support, and visitation rights. You may be restricted as to where you can live or travel.

Your child may very well inherit some of his bad traits. Alcoholism does seem to run in families. And your prospects for meeting and marrying another man will be drastically diminished with a child in tow.

Don't be a martyr. Get out of this marriage NOW while you are young and free. Don't look back and please, please DON'T pity this man.

Don't talk to a priest and don't talk to a marriage counselor. The only person you should talk to is a divorce lawyer.

-- Disillusioned Catholic (skeptickk@yahoo.com), July 19, 2004.


dis and daniel,

first daniel:

its obvious she married the man because his emotional state made it compulsory to her, and not for the right reasons. besides, i thought the deal with the moderators was that you were going to give up judging the "eternal fate" of peoples souls every time annulment was discussed. i know your hurt, daniel, but it doesnt apply to EVERY case in the world.

dis:

please DON'T pity this man.

why not pity him? why not have compassion for so weak a creature? i don't agree that she should stay, granted the plausable nullity of her marraige but that does not erase the need for christian compassion.

Don't talk to a priest and don't talk to a marriage counselor. The only person you should talk to is a divorce lawyer.

why not talk to a priest? doesnt it make sense that one would seek out their moral counselor in important life decisions rather than just a money-grabbing lawyer? who are you to judge what counsel the priest would give? are you sure youre a disillusioned catholic, or are you really just a non-catholic? because i dont think i've seen you do anything but slam all things catholic so far, which seems to put you in the category of anti-catholic.

-- paul h (dontsendmemail@notanaddress.com), July 20, 2004.


Paul speaks in the Spirit. First clean mess of your life, past, present, then you see clearly to see the mess of others. Spiritual light and discerment can only come after you are strong in God. Make a thorough life confession. Then, you will see the Light! Marriage is done after much matured thinking, not on emotional feelings.

-- Leslie John (lesliemon@hotmail.com), July 20, 2004.

"My husband turned out to be a depressed, antisocial (even with me) alcoholic who doesnt like my family."

Run away.

This is the only and most significant problem you have. How do you solve this problem? Leave.

-- Chris Coose (ccoose@maine.rr.com), July 20, 2004.



why not pity him? why not have compassion for so weak a creature? i don't agree that she should stay, granted the plausable nullity of her marraige but that does not erase the need for christian compassion.

Because if she pities him then she will never be able to break away from him. I don't know whether or not he is deliberately manipulating her, but it's clear that she married him out of pity, against her better judgment.

why not talk to a priest? doesnt it make sense that one would seek out their moral counselor in important life decisions rather than just a money-grabbing lawyer? who are you to judge what counsel the priest would give?

She doesn't need counsel; she needs a divorce. Period.

are you sure youre a disillusioned catholic, or are you really just a non-catholic? because i dont think i've seen you do anything but slam all things catholic so far, which seems to put you in the category of anti-catholic.

I feel that the Catholic Church has let me down. I can no longer trust her priests and bishops. That's why I'm a disillusioned Catholic. But I don't think that I have singled out the Catholic Church for criticism.

The Church is to a Catholic what the Bible is to a Protestant. When the Church loses credibility in the eyes of a Catholic it's like the Bible losing credibility in the eyes of a Protestant. Everything is thrown into doubt, including his faith in the very existence of God.

-- Disillusioned Catholic (skeptickk@yahoo.com), July 20, 2004.


"She doesn't need counsel; she needs a divorce"

A: Since a divorce has no effect whatsoever on a Catholic marriage, there would be absolutely no reason to go through the stress and expense of a divorce unless there was a reasonable expectation of annulment. Dissolution of the civil contract as a prerequisite to annulment procedings is the only reason any Catholic would have for going through the motions of an otherwise meaningless divorce proceding. Since the only way she can obtain reliable information regarding the likelihood of annulment is by communication with a reliable Catholic authority, counseling with a knowledgeable Catholic priest is clearly the first step she should take in dealing with her situation.

"I feel that the Catholic Church has let me down. I can no longer trust her priests and bishops."

A: Really! And this blanket indictment of 50,000+ men is based on your experience with how many?

"The Church is to a Catholic what the Bible is to a Protestant"

A: That's right. The Church is the sole source of divine authority. Which is what Protestants try to force the Bible to be. Unfortunately, the Bible is not a source of authority, as shown by the ongoing fragmentation and doctrinal chaos among those who try to force it to assume that role.

-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), July 20, 2004.


Thanks and blessings to everyone for your advice, support and prayers. I have spoken to the priest who married us and the Archdiocese of my city. I do have grounds for an annulment. It is likely that I will get it.

However, I am still seeking the Lord, in this time and need HIS say on it, too. I want to know His will in this. I am still here but I am praying. I still feel so awful about all this and about myself. It seems a matter of time. I need to have a good confession (thanks Leslie !) and pray in front of the Blessed sacrament (thanks Emily, Jennifer). I also need the right words to say to my husband. He doesnt want counseling. It still feels tricky and I need to pray, love and forgive, forgive, forgive (thanks Paul H) even if we part. I also need healing, as there has been damage done and I need to find the comfort of the saving Lord and to put aside the self condemnation which lingers, as I feel stupid about making a big marriage decision and then falling on my face. I feel better after the post, as I feel I have been able to share my story with those, who might understand and so thankyou again for listening. Please keep me in your prayers. And I will pray for you all too. Love stranded with help on the way.

-- stranded (no email@noemail.com), July 21, 2004.


Dear Daniel,

why this quote:

"your eternal life is at stake here"

I dont understand...

-- stranded (noemail@noemail.com), July 21, 2004.


The surest way to get a drunk to move toward abstinence/recovery is to shake their world. Relieve them of the strongest elements of enablement. The just maybe.... and that is a big maybe they might shift.

So, by leaving you get OK and it is the only way that things will change enough that he might do something about his life-threatening condition.

Words from the horse's mouth.

-- Chris Coose (ccoose@maine.rr.com), July 21, 2004.



Stranded,I admire your sincerety in this and you seem to be on the right track with your relationship with God. It is good to trust in God. You can continue to seek knowledge as to what is the best solution that complies with God's will. It will help keep your mind busy too. It was pleasing for me to read how sincere you where about your past, I do hope that with time, God will relieve you of this current burden.

-- The Opinion (noemail@noemail.net), July 21, 2004.

You know, what frightens me most is what will happen to him if he doesnt do anything to help himself - but just have more freedom to drink. I wont be in his way to stop him - then. I guess I am a coodependent and I will need to trust him to God - when and if God gives me the OK to go. And I am praying - praying hard. Because I will want to make the right choice this time and feel confident. My guts just want to go now but I want to go with the Lord with me, in the right time.

I do care about his welfare and faith development but I need to also care about my own survival too. I have also been diagnosed with a neurological illness as well as suffering from depression/anxiety - but im ok - not in need of any specific meds yet - thank God. Unfortunately my husband considers me a nagger at times, if I want to share or talk or get close and he cant cope when i'm down or sick etc. Its so hard. I just pray that he will be honest and admit that he wasnt ready for the commitment of marriage - which he wasnt. You know, I knew all this before we got married, when this started the day after we got married on the plane to our honey moon. I knew it wouldnt work ?? Somehow, I knew - but thought, no no I cant go home and tell everyone its off now (but I probably should have then - see how weak I am !!!)

And then, I am a big believer in miracles and in Gods mercy and in the lives of saints like St. Rita and St. Monica. But I am not sure I am that good yet. I believe that Gods will guide me and be my saviour in this bad situation

thanks again and God bless all

-- stranded (noemail@noemail.com), July 21, 2004.


woops - 'that God will guide me' - not Gods sorry, a typo

-- stranded (noemail @noemail.com), July 21, 2004.

Dear Stranded,

You sound very strong. I admire how you are thinking this through rationally and making God an integral part of your decision. He wants to be.

You mentioned that you felt you were "not that good yet". As compared to the Saints? Who is? Don't let that discourage you. Give God your time and attention, make him be your very best friend by confiding in him, seek him out and he will shower you with blessings. You sound like you are on the right path to working this out.

God does provide miracles in some instances to deliver us from a situation. I will pray you receive a miracle. But for the most part, God delivers us through a situation. It is the painful "going through" that enables us to grow and spiritually mature. If God always granted miracles, we would never grow in faith. We would always just expect like spoiled children...the Good Lord realizes we won't get there on our own when all things come easy. He uses our brokenness to bring us back to Him.

And don't get discouraged when you do "drop your cross" on a day. Each day you will get stronger in faith. Just pick up the next day. The devil will throw thoughs of doubt and confusion into your head to throw you off track and make you feel guilty/depressed. Don't listen to the noise and emotions in your head- instead listen to that small quiet voice in your heart. That will be God talking. God talks from the heart - as He is pure love.

How about a book..."Battlefield of the Mind" or " Beauty for Ashes" both by Joyce Meyers? Good stuff when you are confused, hurt, emotionally down.

You are on your way. Just think...you don't know what's going to happen, but you are talking to/believing in the One who does. That is powerful stuff!

My prayers are for you in this trial.

Jennifer

-- Jennifer (jrabs@jrabs.com), July 21, 2004.


If there is a basis for an annulment, the strongest would probably be based on the fact that the husband is a non-believer. All the rest, although regretable, is very borderline based on the facts given above. I base this assessment on Rotal jurisprudence and not the creative thinking, external to canon law, that one ordinarily encounters in the U.S.

Stranded,

At the very least you need a chance to clear your head. Put some space between you and he for a while. He should respect you enough to allow this. If he tries to manipulate you in response, point out to him that this signifies his disrespect (but don't mention this also shows his emotional infantilism...he needs to figure that out himself.)

-- Pat Delaney (pat@patdelaney.net), July 22, 2004.


"Dear Daniel, why this quote:

"your eternal life is at stake here"

I dont understand..."

stranded,

-simply put -we all possess free will and there are consequences for decisions made -decisions that we are each individually responsible for and accountable for at judgement. There is no excuse, no blame or relative argument that allows a free pass into eternal life...

Specific Truth regarding Catholic teaching on divorce and annulment is available and easily obtained within the links provided and ultimately it is up to you alone to choose to seek it out and educate yourself.

If you do not know specifically what Church teaching is on the matter how can you judge whether or not any choice(s) you discern are counter to Truth? The path to salvation is filled with choices -to discern choices without checking thier validity against Church teaching is analogous to the methods employed by those lost souls lost through self interpretation of the Bible....

-emotions aside; your eternal life is at stake here and I would suggest you do more than just 'hope' or rely on others to get it right...

-- Daniel Hawkenberry (dlm@catholic.org), July 23, 2004.


thanks daniel for your response

I am certainly seeking the truth. I am also aware of the great mercy of God too, in my situation. What about forgiveness for sins ?

-- stranded (noemail@noemail.com), July 23, 2004.


stranded,

Youíve already been told by your priest and archdiocese that your marriage would most likely be annulled if the case were to be brought before a tribunal. Do you know what this means? It means that you are not married to this man. Your marriage didnít happen. Staying with this man is not an option. You must leave him, get a civil divorce, and then get an official declaration from the Church of what you have been told unofficially by the Church: you are not now and never have been married to this man.

If you want to marry him at a later date then that's up to you. But right now you are not married to him.

-- DC (skeptickk@yahoo.com), July 24, 2004.


Youíve already been told by your priest and archdiocese that your marriage would most likely be annulled if the case were to be brought before a tribunal. Do you know what this means? It means that you are not married to this man.

no bishop, priest, or 'archdiocese' can definitively declare that a marraige was null without the proper form and submission of evidence of the fact. simple statement is not enough to consider a promise made before God to be null. UNTIL such time as a declaration of nulity is made, she must ACT as though her marraige is valid.

Your marriage didnít happen. Staying with this man is not an option.

you do not have the authority to make this statement. none of us here does. we may only address the POSSIBILITY of nullity.

what is alarming to me, is the apparent hypocracy of your views. you say that the church doesnt provide moral support any more, and yet you ADVOCATE NOT going to the church for that moral support. instead of standing by your call for moral support, you instead seek to be an agent of moral disruption. credibility minus... big time.

-- paul h (dontsendmemail@notanaddress.com), July 24, 2004.


bumping for response from DC

-- paul h (dontsendmemail@notanaddress.com), August 01, 2004.

UNTIL such time as a declaration of nulity is made, she must ACT as though her marraige is valid.

I disagree. Suppose she suspected that her husband is her long lost brother? Should she continue to sleep with him?

She has good reason to believe that her marriage was not valid. But the Church will never officially rule on the case until she gets a civil divorce (or, for that matter, a civil annulment).

what is alarming to me, is the apparent hypocracy of your views. you say that the church doesnt provide moral support any more, and yet you ADVOCATE NOT going to the church for that moral support.

I don't understand your point. Obviously, there is no reason to seek moral support from the Church if she no longer provides it. But since "stranded" has already asked her priest about an annulment and has already been told that she would most likely get one, then I don't know what more she needs to make up her mind. I think that she is just too weak to break away from her husband.

instead of standing by your call for moral support, you instead seek to be an agent of moral disruption. credibility minus... big time.

You've completely lost me here. I don't know what you're referring to. Perhaps something I posted in another thread?

-- Disillusioned Catholic (skeptickk@yahoo.com), August 01, 2004.


"You are ignorant and have little to no clue as to what you are talking about concerning annulments, for I myself, have gone through the process of getting married in the Catholic church to a man that was going through a divorce and married a non catholic previously. You're dated and backward views have no bearing on the new and improved and let me add, modern views of the Catholic church. How dare you tell a woman who is planning on getting married that her "soul" is in danger of damnation? Before you speak, talk to God and Our Lady and ask for forgiveness. You are going to need it and whoever you are, I am praying for your soul that it is not "damned".

Shireen"

Shireen,

hmmm... your message was emailed but did not make it to the board so I post it for reply -- Truth does not remain in the shadows -it can withstand scrutiny unashamedly -Truth is inherent within, non temporal, and self evident to those open to it...

-my reply: My "dated and backward views" that "have no bearing on the new and improved and let me add, modern views of the Catholic church" are just Catholic teaching as dictated by the Magisterium and obediently followed by this "ignorant" soul...

I appreciate your prayers -I truly appreciate them.

God Bless.

Daniel////

-- Daniel Hawkenberry (dlm@catholic.org), August 04, 2004.


Moderation questions? read the FAQ