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A place to learn, mingle, and share

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

If you had the opportunity as a divorced person to talk to a gathering of engaged couples, what would you tell them? These people would not all be Catholic, but they would be Americans. They would be steeped in the dominant culture's idea that marriages can be thrown away; that it's OK to live together before marriage without a commitment; etc., etc. The couples would be paying for a 5 week group, 2 hours each night. You would be the presenter one of those nights. You would be able to talk for a total of 40 minutes, followed by discussion facilitated by a licensed therapist.

I am seeking concrete suggestions. Thank you, everyone.

May 02 new

I would tell them to find their best friend, or someone where there is mutual adoration. There should be butterflies and excitement at this point in their life.

I would tell them to keep searching until there dream person is the one across from them. Someone that says or does things to make them feel like the most important person in the world.

The facts are, living together does not help anything. The statistics show that it does not decrease your divorce rate.


The person you are marrying should know that your values are really important, and not just accept them. They should help you keep them a part of your life and not ask you to compromise them even if they do not share them. If you tell them your values and they do not disagree, don't assume they share that value.


If you have something that bothers you....think a dozen times about why, and if you have to ask your friends if you concerns are significant-then they are.


Find someone who thinks your dreams and goals in life are really important, and is willing to sacrifice to help you achieve them and you feel the same about theirs.


Actions speak louder than words. If you are planning on having children, look at how they treat other people's kids, etc. If you ask, "what if ____ happens, " and they don't want to think about it, be concerned.


Love is not enough, you also need respect, willingness to give and more.


If they have been married before, look at the facts, and if necessary, find out information from others.

May 02 new
I think this is a very good post, but answering it, as a divorced person, is hard; I don't feel qualified, having a failed marriage, to give much advice, and I don't want to be bitter.

I will say that its important to find a person who is truly good, kind and strong in their values and determination. Other things about a person can change over time; but the inner core remains the same. Both people want to do more than just remain married, but to grow together and find ways to make their marriage stronger as years go by' Not as simple as it sounds.
May 02 new

Thank you, Mary and Monica. Both of your posts make very important points. One of the things that I did not do as an engaged person is have what I consider to be Crucial Conversations. So it came as a total surprise to me that my ex-husband didn't think that moving in the first 5 years of marriage was expected. I certainly expacted to do that, whereas he had grown up in a military family and was firmly opposed to moving. One Crucial Conversation that we did have was that our children would attend Catholic school as long as possible, and we did that.

May 02 new
(Quote) Monica-291280 said: I think this is a very good post, but answering it, as a divorced person, is hard; I don't feel qualified, ha...
(Quote) Monica-291280 said: I think this is a very good post, but answering it, as a divorced person, is hard; I don't feel qualified, having a failed marriage, to give much advice, and I don't want to be bitter.



I will say that its important to find a person who is truly good, kind and strong in their values and determination. Other things about a person can change over time; but the inner core remains the same. Both people want to do more than just remain married, but to grow together and find ways to make their marriage stronger as years go by' Not as simple as it sounds.
--hide--


I agree to a point, Monica. If the person we marry has a strong desire to be with God for eternity, then we are marrying someone trying to become a saint. Prayer together, regular Confession, Holy Communion, a day to day faithful effort to practice the virtues and a willingness to honestly communicate would make for a lifelong, holy marriage--I would think.

A therapist friend told me the biggest challenge in a marriage is for each to identify in themselves and their spouse the amount of private space and the amount of togetherness desired. Failure to know, discuss and honor this is usually the beginning of issues. One begins to feel neglected or claustrophobic but doesn't want to speak up or the spouse doesn't hear. Perceptions of each other then begin to degenerate, very gradually. Resentment builds etc. etc. So, if she is accurate (and she has counseled many couples for many years so I like hearing what she has to say), prayer, the Sacraments and truly communicating should make for a good marriage however...

... there is always the one variable. We are human.

Someone who has been a great, devout Catholic their whole life could just decide one day to dump it all. The Bible is full of such stories and we all have free will. This is where I disagree a bit with your statement, Monica. Temptation can get to anyone. What's that saying? "There but for the grace of God, go I" What if my core is good but I gradually give in on little things; pretty soon I am no longer availing myself of graces and then...I totally blow it. Was I actually not good for the first 55 years of my life? Many call it mid-life crisis. Perhaps it is as simple as letting selfishness take over.

Lest I post too much here smile my bullet points for the presentation would be:

Full comprehension that without an active prayer life, together, with God as the center of the relationship, the odds are against 'til death do us part'.

A realistic view of the human condition, that is spiritually we are never at a standstill. We are either becoming holier or going downhill and downhill is always easier than uphill.

A realistic picture of crosses and trials that will likely occur during married life.

An understanding that love should be shown and spoken every day, even when one doesn't feel like it or when there is a temptation to be too busy. It comes with the vocation; just do it.
May 02 new

(Quote) Meg-920823 said: I agree to a point, Monica. If the person we marry has a strong desire to be with God for eternity...
(Quote) Meg-920823 said:

I agree to a point, Monica. If the person we marry has a strong desire to be with God for eternity, then we are marrying someone trying to become a saint. Prayer together, regular Confession, Holy Communion, a day to day faithful effort to practice the virtues and a willingness to honestly communicate would make for a lifelong, holy marriage--I would think.

A therapist friend told me the biggest challenge in a marriage is for each to identify in themselves and their spouse the amount of private space and the amount of togetherness desired. Failure to know, discuss and honor this is usually the beginning of issues. One begins to feel neglected or claustrophobic but doesn't want to speak up or the spouse doesn't hear. Perceptions of each other then begin to degenerate, very gradually. Resentment builds etc. etc. So, if she is accurate (and she has counseled many couples for many years so I like hearing what she has to say), prayer, the Sacraments and truly communicating should make for a good marriage however...

... there is always the one variable. We are human.

Someone who has been a great, devout Catholic their whole life could just decide one day to dump it all. The Bible is full of such stories and we all have free will. This is where I disagree a bit with your statement, Monica. Temptation can get to anyone. What's that saying? "There but for the grace of God, go I" What if my core is good but I gradually give in on little things; pretty soon I am no longer availing myself of graces and then...I totally blow it. Was I actually not good for the first 55 years of my life? Many call it mid-life crisis. Perhaps it is as simple as letting selfishness take over.

Lest I post too much here my bullet points for the presentation would be:

Full comprehension that without an active prayer life, together, with God as the center of the relationship, the odds are against 'til death do us part'.

A realistic view of the human condition, that is spiritually we are never at a standstill. We are either becoming holier or going downhill and downhill is always easier than uphill.

A realistic picture of crosses and trials that will likely occur during married life.

An understanding that love should be shown and spoken every day, even when one doesn't feel like it or when there is a temptation to be too busy. It comes with the vocation; just do it.
--hide--

I really like Margo's term "Crucial Conversations"

Meg's posting covers many important points.

I might add to get pre-marital counseling, to go on a Tobit weekend, Evening for the Engaged or something similar that will help you discover your likes & differences. If what you find out leads you to re-think your decision, then don't discount that & just go ahead & get married anyway. LISTEN!

If you think there are problems brewing, don't wait to go to counseling. Get help before the resentments & anger build to a point of no return (divorce!).

Get the important questions answered before the wedding. For 2nd time marriages, a good resource might be H. Norman Wright's book, 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Remarried.

May 03 new

(Quote) Carol-737878 said: Get the important questions answered before the wedding. For 2nd time marriages, a good resourc...
(Quote) Carol-737878 said: Get the important questions answered before the wedding. For 2nd time marriages, a good resource might be H. Norman Wright's book, 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Remarried.

--hide--
Thank you, Meg and Carol. Very important points. Is there a chance a man could post here? These are all female viewpoints. We need the man's perspective to help us grow and gain insight.

May 03 new
I think over the course of time have several conversations on the same topic to see if either of your positions change. If you feel like you are holding back, ask why. Ask yourself what will either of us do if something happens to the other. listen to what friends or family say about them in casual conversation. Truer words may never be spoken. If their comments don't match your observations, make a note to discuss, somehow.
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