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Divorce & Annulments

Real Reasons Why People Avoid The Annulment Process
Greg went through a horrible divorce eight years ago. His wife left him and their children and it was devastating to the entire family. Greg worked hard to help himself and his children heal and part of that was getting involved in social activities so they would not feel so isolated. He joined a single parents’ group at his parish where there were lots of activities for the kids and the parents. They began feeling comfortable, being accepted by others who had walked in their shoes.
 
Greg struck up a friendship with one of the single moms there, and within a month, they were involved in a whirlwind romance. Neither one of them had gone through the annulment process, but they were both so convinced of their love for each other they decided the annulment process was too long and they didn’t want to wait. Many of their friends strongly cautioned them against continuing their relationship without seeking an annulment, but the idea of not being with each other 24/7 was out of the question. So their plan was to get married, move their families into the same home and after they were settled, go through the annulment process and have their marriage convalidated at a later date.
 
The sad part is less than a year later, Greg and his new wife divorced. They had both been so blinded by their emotions they couldn’t think logically. Now, they and their children had to endure another divorce and more devastation. This, my friends, is a true story and one of many. This is why it’s so important to go through the annulment process before you date.
 
In other articles I’ve written, we’ve discussed the technical side of the annulment process and now, I’d like to talk about the emotive side of the annulment process.
 
There are still so many people who won’t consider doing this and even those who just completely ignore it altogether. Some of the top reasons (and actually the most honest reasons) people have given for not going through the annulment process are:
 
  • I don’t want to have to revisit the pain of what happened
  • It takes too long
  • I don’t care what the Church says, I’m going to be happy on my terms
 
I Don’t Want To Revisit The Pain: This is a perspective I understand very well because that’s exactly how I felt as I was filing my first round of paperwork. I had perpetual indigestion in the days it took me to fill out my questionnaire and talk to my witnesses about theirs. But I realized something as I mailed my paperwork back and began the process of waiting; no one had ever asked me those significantly important questions. I was suddenly grateful and sad at the same time. I was grateful because I had an entirely different perspective on what happened. I was able to accept the truth about everything. Where else would I get that kind of healing? Then, I was sad for all the people who never get the chance to experience healing and growth like that because they refuse to go through the process. All I can do is keep trying to convince people it’s a good thing.

It Takes Too Long!: I’ve known many people who end up in unhappy second marriages because they weren’t interested in taking the time for the annulment process. According to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, fifty percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second and 74 percent of third marriages end in divorce. Read more here.
 
I contend that the primary reason this happens is because one or both spouses have not properly healed from their divorces and have not worked to improve the areas in their own lives that contributed to the demise of their first marriages. Assuming nothing is going awry with the tribunal, ex-spouse, or anything else that might get in the way, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to wait for the process to be complete before jumping into a new relationship. As a matter of fact, it should be most people’s preference.
 
I don’t care what the Church says, I’m going to be happy on my terms: Well, okay. I guess we can see where that will get you based on the information above. This mentality probably played a role in the breakdown of your first marriage so the question here is, do you really want to go through another divorce?
 
I hope you will take these points to heart if indeed you are dating or have plans to remarry without going through the annulment process. There is so much good and so much happiness that can be yours by taking the right steps before you get involved with someone else. As always, you can send me your comments or questions at asklisa@catholicmatch.com.
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9 Comments

  1. Stephen-725391 July 2, 2012

    Lisa,

    I like what you say and it makes a tremendous amount of good sense. Why then has the Church so politicized it and made it so decisive and so contentious among Catholics?

    I am approaching 1 year in the process and having accepted that this is the way to clean up the ‘paper work’, I have been able to reflect on what I see (some say I’m bitter, jaded, etc. so be it and it’s their loss) going on which this ‘annulment process’ and I am dismayed. Maybe it’s the Archdiocese (that all do it differently, that is a BIG issue as I see it). Who knows? The other biggie is “Why weren’t those questions that are being asked in the annulment paper work ASKED by the Church before it performed the ceremony since they claim to be representing the THIRD LEG of the contract of marriage?”

    I’m praying that the bureaucrats at the Tribunal give me the paperwork I need to get on with my life.

    You are doing a great service for the men and women caught up in this mess.

    God Bless

    Stephen

    • Katherine-868943 July 16, 2012

      Some of these stories are making me so nervous – I was married to an agnostic, and we are going on the assumption that he will not respond to any of the paperwork. The civil divorce was a nightmare anyway, and I’ve been formally divorced over a year and separated longer than that. Had there been premarital counseling in the church I married in, this whole mess might not have happened. When you’re very young, you don’t realize how careful you need to be, and now I’m afraid I’m overcautious. Good luck to all of us, I will say some extra prayers today.

  2. Roxanne-480791 July 2, 2012

    I would urge participating in the process. The civil process looks at very few things- the Church takes a holisitic approach that brings peace! When I got my decree- I cried for joy and felt that finally someone had really listened and understood!

  3. Alice-788574 July 3, 2012

    I just received the annulment on June 26th. My birthday was June 27. My emotions are mixed because I truly wanted a good marriage. It’s letting go of a fantasy. But I am glad the Church has granted recognition of something I already knew. Now life can move on.

    • Elizabeth-753085 July 8, 2012

      Thanks Alice for your comment..I feel closer to beginning the Annulment process and you echo my thoughts and feelings! Thanks! good to know I am not the only one with these feelings. God bless!

  4. Stephen-872912 July 3, 2012

    enjoyed the article. Thank you.

  5. Mark-874440 July 5, 2012

    Great article. I was definitely in the camp of “takes too long”. Now four years later I realize how long the healing takes. The time for reflection has also helped me realize and take accountability for my mistakes. Being willing to accept where your opportunities for improvement are and really find forgiveness for the pain you and your kids went through does not happen fast. I’m not saying that the tribunal does not have any opportunities for improvement but I now realize the wisdom of being more patient.

  6. Jay-865188 July 11, 2012

    I tried for four years to recieve an annulment thru our diocese, but with the other person involved, she never answered any mail, or cared to talk to representitives from diocese. She quit being a practicing catholic and gave little if any cooperation to this issue. So needless to say after all the trials I had to endure I recieved a letter from diocese stating they had exhausted thier efforts and I could not pursue the annulment. This has left me a little bitter, and wish the diocese would have just used my friends and families reports tey filled out.

  7. Margaret-649755 February 12, 2014

    If you received the sacrament of marriage you are “bound to a husband as long as he lives.” “A wife must not separate from her husband if she does she must remain unmarried” It’s in the bible. How can we go against the word?

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