This room is for supportive and informative discussion about divorce and/or the annulment process. All posters must have been previously divorced or annulled.
Saint Eugene De Mazenod is patron of dysfunctional families & Saint Fabiola obtained a divorce from her first husband prior to devoting her life to charitable works.
Learn More: Saint Eugene De Mazenod and Saint Fabiola
So, at what point does one just give up on ever having the family life he or she had hoped for?
Evidently my diocese is backlogged with annulments (sad enough), and I've been waiting for a very long time (about 18 months since completing the paperwork and beginning to obtain what limited affidavits I could, given that nobody knew "us"). It seems like Catholic ladies I've met in person and here won't have anything to do with a divorced man... so why even try for the annulment (likely to be granted, just taking time)?
I'm very, very frustrated with the annulment process... and feel as though, at nearly 40 and not even able to date, there is virtually no chance of someone special coming into my life. No chance for having the family I'd prayed for for years before ever pondering marriage or subsequently finding the Catholic faith. No chance for really being loved. Life was not supposed to be this way.
Add to this the heartbreak of running into so many "Catholics" at work and elsewhere who claim the faith, but don't live it. I guess, when I came into the faith last year, I knew there were some who were outliers... but I've been sheltered from them by being around guys who DO take our faith seriously.
I've had a great Catholic lady friend for a couple years... the woman who introduced me to this wonderful faith a couple years ago...but she is not planning to remarry. She has children and is content living her life for them... her decision and I support her, though it was painful to hear she would never be one I might pursue for marriage. Meanwhile, it seems as though Catholicism is made for families, and I'm excluded. Everything I'm learning and seeing (That Man Is You program attendance at my parish, and simply observing folks at mass) is of a man's role toward his family, marriage, and having children. There are lots of Catholic couples at church... and good Catholic ladies are in seemingly short supply.
The heartbreak of not having a family with children has been substantial and is actually being driven deeper as I'm reminded of being alone every time I attend mass. Still, I go. Daily, oftentimes, as my work schedule frequently allows morning mass attendance on weekdays. And, I'm active in TMIY, Christ Renews His Parish, and probably will be filling another church need by starting a new ministry soon.
I don't want to fall away from the church, but it seems like there is so little hope of ever experiencing God's grace and the miracle of fulfilling Catholic marriage. Some guys seem to recover from bad marriages, as evidenced by some of the witnesses given at the CRHP retreat I attended early this month, but it just seems like such a small possibility.
Oh, my dear friend, I'm sorry you're hurting. Know that you are not alone. Know that you are loved - by God, by your children, by your family, by friends. You are part of the Body of Christ and when one is sorrowful, all feel sorrow; when one rejoices, all rejoice. This on-line Catholic community is one place where we can feel welcome. Yes, parishes must be family centered because that is their lifeblood. As singles, we can place ourselves in the service of building up and supporting marriage and families. Sometimes though, we need to be taken care of. Michael, I would encourage you to find a silent retreat led by a good spiritual director - I've done a few, and when a person feels at the end of his rope, it can be a tremendous source of spiritual replenishment.
Do not give up. Things are still too fresh. Your faith is very new, like a quick Spring storm. Let God's grace settle in as a long, lasting rain going deep to your roots. Immerse yourself in Adoration.
You are not alone. I agree the annulment process is painful and slow. I did not feel any healing going through, the healing I received was in other areas of my life (church, friends, family and getting "me" back). Hang in there, it will happen. Maybe it is taking time so that your friend will change her mind about remarriage.
I felt the same way after my divorce, had it not been for friends encouraging me to go the annulment process I would not have done it. I was quite content to be alone with my kids.
Jesus is always with you, lean on him.
I came across this quote after I read your post, Michael:
"When we are weak, we can still be strong. When we're under the greatest stress and facing the greatest challenges, it may be the best day of our lives, for God is working to make us into the people He wants us to be." --Casey Treat
When we are living through a situation where our human self feels great sadness and disappointment, perhaps if we took the perspective that God is honing our spirit and shaping it to be more in alignment with His, we can work at accepting that sadness and disappointment as a temporary or minor condition--that the greater condition is that our lives are in His Hands and we are serving Him. As Christians, we believe this...but putting it into play in the practical can be difficult sometimes.
Michael, I would advise to educate yourself through reading the catechism.
I had a discussion about divorce with my priest and his comment was that "the Catholic church does not recognise divorce" and many people in my church shun me when I divorced. Reading the Catechism gave me a lot of in site as to what the church believes compared to what people and church authority perceive.
I was amazed to read that the church "will tolerate a divorce for the purposes of preserving and inheritance" or that a relation between a man and a woman who are not married "can be blessed by the church".
I am going through my annulment and will allow the church their right to process this annulment but if they cannot do it in a timely manner or determine that I do not qualify for an annulment do to my inability to find enough witnesses or provide evidence I know by the standard of the Catholic church that I qualify and so I will let the Lord sort it out in the end, I do not beleive God placed humans in my path to obstruct my happiness or desire for family.
If you are considering leaving the Catholic church out of frustration created by others I think you will see the love of the church in the catechism and understand it is human failure that is causing your frustration not the church.
Thank you all so much for your encouragement. I know I'm not the only one who is experiencing these feelings... it is good to hear of others going through similar things here and through some of the private messages I've received in regards to my message.
Tony, I understand your thoughts. In both parishes I've been affiliated with, I have run into acceptance regarding divorce. Indeed, other men have been blessed with second marriages within the church that are fantastic. I get hung up on the issue of what is considered "timely". I've struggled with finding witnesses, as not many saw us together due to work/school schedules, etc. We were both in a busy time in our lives.
I love the Catholic church, and it has been the single biggest blessing to me. I just don't have faith in the annulment process--namely that it allows for mistakes in judgment when choosing a spouse (I wasn't Catholic till after the divorce, she was never Catholic, and we did not receive counseling prior to marriage.) Taking things one day at a time, still. There is so much room to be a great Catholic, to contribute to so many things, and to maybe one day experience a loving Catholic marriage and possibly raising children within the Catholic faith. It just seems to far off right now.
... It just seems to far off right now...
Augh... I cannot type at this hour! Should read, "It just seems SO far off right now..."
Lack of sleep, and many hours worked today. :-)