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Divorce & Annulments

The winter after my husband left I went on retreat. I had been going on retreats for the previous four years and though I was emotionally devastated, I knew I needed a safe place to start the process of putting my life back together.

Most of that retreat weekend passed by in a blur. Truth be told, there is not much that I honestly remember from the whole first year I was a single mom. Some things are seared into my brain with complete clarity, but most things exist in a sort of foggy dream-state.

I do remember with perfect clarity, sitting in Fr. Peter’s small office with a pile of tissues on my lap explaining heatedly that I did not see the purpose of beginning the annulment process. I intended to be married for life; I did not believe that I was somehow released from this responsibility. In fact, I still wore my wedding ring, weeks after my husband moved in with his new girlfriend.

Fr. Peter let me talk. And talk. And talk some more. I believe I spent about four hours in his office that Friday afternoon. Before letting me leave, he asked me one question: “Do you trust the Church?”   

Of course I trusted the Church! I had committed to living as a practicing Catholic. If you ask my ex-husband, he’ll gladly tell you that’s one of the reasons why he left our marriage. He was absolutely right, I was not the same woman he had married. I had changed and was now a faithful Catholic. I was okay with that. He was not.

Fr. Peter explained to me: “If you trust the Church, you need to begin the annulment process and let the Church make the decision about your marriage. Whether this is a sacramental marriage or not isn’t up to you. Let the Church have her say and then you will know for certain where things stand. Otherwise, how will you know what to do?”

This truth helped me to begin the process of constructing the foundation of my new life. If you are rebuilding after a divorce and don’t know what to do about an annulment, then I encourage you to look to the healing power of the Church.

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12 Comments

  1. Candace-587406 March 3, 2013

    I feel as if this story is incomplete. I thought the author would write how she rebuilt her life after her husband left.

  2. Kathy-730470 March 3, 2013

    Candace when I read this story I thought the purpose of it was to tell others what happened to her after divorce. She is Catholic and didn’t know what to do after divorce. After talking to a priest she realized she should apply for an annulment. I can relate to this story very well. I am also divorced and did not know what to do. I also talked to my priest and applied for an annulment. I thought it was a well written story !

  3. Kate-948947 March 3, 2013

    Talk about perfect timing–I had the same qualms as the author. I chose to trust the Church and requested my petition packet earlier this week.

  4. Randy-949666 March 3, 2013

    great story oh yea its my story too

  5. Joe-864292 March 4, 2013

    And after a year, how is she doing.

    My wife passed away, some 2 years ago. She had been sick a number of years…And I am going through the “lonley time”..And want too move on..

  6. Larry-942476 March 4, 2013

    It takes time Joe

  7. Paul-930069 March 4, 2013

    Interesting topic and solution. I was intrigued by the change of the author from non-practicing to practicing Catholic after the marriage vows had been said. Perhaps a subject for another article or narrative….??

  8. Michael-931152 March 4, 2013

    This story really hits home. I had been feeling damaged after divorce and didn’t even feel divorced after it was final. I went to a group at a neighboring parish “Divorce and Beyond” It helped immensely. I don’t think I knew how angry I was until finishing that group. After it was over we talked about annulment and I am happy to say that I’m in process and never happier or more connected with my church and parish.

  9. Barbara-1014186 October 15, 2013

    I am now in the process of a divorce. My husband left me when I was diagnose with liver cancer and now that it has been 6 months he still is blindsiding me with lies and dishonesty. My heart is heavy and I am so sad. I have a 18 year terrific son and he deserves to have much more than what he has been handed. I sometimes just don’t know if I can go on. I am so tired of feeling lonely, sad, and just bad all the time. How do you get through it? I pray read the bible and I do all I can to help but nothings seems to make me fill whole. Any advice.
    I am still having to have one more surgery then I will be fine. The holidays are coming up and that is hard. I am damage and my heart is broken in a million pieces. He is living with her and is trying to make me out to be a fool and take things away from me. What do I do?

    • Jackie-1039609 December 13, 2013

      Barbara, You are in my prayers.

    • Monica-1041997 February 1, 2014

      Sometime, when all life’s lessons have been learned,
      And sun and stars forevermore have set,
      The things which our weak judgements here have spurned,
      The things so’er which we grieved with lashes wet,
      Will flash before us out of life’s dark night,
      As stars shine most in deeper tints of blue;
      And we shall see how all God’s plans are right,
      And how what seemed reproof was love most true.

      And we shall see how, while we frown and sigh,
      God’s plans go on as best for you and me;
      How, when we called, He heeded not our cry,
      Because His wisdom to the end could see.
      And e’en as prudent parents disallow
      Too much of sweet to craving babyhood,
      So God, perhaps, is keeping from us now
      Life’s sweetest things, because it seemeth good.

      And if, sometimes, commingled with life’s wine,
      We find the wormwood, and rebel and shrink,
      Be sure a wiser hand than yours or mine
      Pours out the potion for our lips to drink;
      And if some friend you love is lying low,
      Where human kisses cannot reach his face,
      Oh, do not blame the loving Father so,
      But wear your sorrow with obedient grace!

      And you shall shortly know that lengthened breath
      Is not the sweetest gift God sends His friends,
      And that, sometimes, the sable pull of death
      Conceals the fairest boon His love can send;
      If we could push ajar the gates of life,
      And stand within, and all God’s workings see,
      We could interpret all this doubt and strife,
      And for each mystery could find a key.

      But not today. Then be content, poor heart;
      God’s plans, like lilies pure and white, unfold;
      We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart,—
      Time will reveal the chalices of gold.
      And if, through patient toil, we reach the land
      Where tired feet, with sandals loosed, may rest,
      When we shall clearly see and understand,
      I think we will say, God knew the best.”

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