Are you a single Catholic? Meet Your Match Today [close]

Divorce & Annulments

When tragedy, such as divorce strikes, it often begins a new thought process churning inside you. Because you know how wrong divorce is, your failed marriage can prompt you to start wondering why it happened to you when it wasn’t anything you ever wanted. This can lead to a cycle of exponential cynicism in which you begin questioning everything you believe in; a sort of re-evaluation of your entire value system. If the one thing that was supposed to last a lifetime didn’t, what else do I believe is true and it really isn’t?

That question and more are tough questions to ask and are both good for you and dangerous. They’re good for you because you are embarking on a growth process. Asking questions and taking a closer look at what you believe can have a great impact on your spiritual life. It can help you achieve a higher level of understanding as well as a deeper relationship with God when doing so with the guidance of prayer and spiritual direction.

The danger comes when you consider these questions only in light of the cynicism that comes with being hurt. The evil one loves to lead people to despair and he knows divorce is prime time for making this happen. But the Holy Spirit seeks to inspire you with the wisdom that comes from carrying a very heavy cross. Are you open to the wisdom He wants to share with you?

Contrary to popular thought, “Life is not just a box of chocolates!” We are not like feathers randomly floating in the wind that land wherever and have no connection to anything. Those ideas are a quaint, but erroneous way of addressing the surprises of life. But, if you believe in the goodness of God, “Abba,” and His desire to lead you and help you, that old adage falls apart like a house of cards. God wants you to have confidence in Him, even when you can’t begin to understand what’s happened. He wants you to give Him the opportunity to show you how great His love is for you.

But how do I know He hears my prayers? you may be asking yourself. Is God ashamed of me because I’m divorced? Is that why it seems my prayers are unanswered?

Scripture assures us many times that God hears our prayers and answers them always (Matthew 7:7, Ephesians 6:18, Mark 11:24, Psalm 145:18-19 for example). But there’s a difference between giving us what we want, and giving us what we need. Sometimes, what we need is what He gives us. But he’ll never turn a deaf ear to our prayers, even when we find ourselves in the midst of or recovering from a divorce. God has a special love for those who suffer.

I recently heard a priest on the radio talk about being at an interfaith conference and how every time he referred to God as “God the Father” or “our heavenly Father” members of another faith became agitated by that title and asked him to stop referring to God in such an intimate way. The priest explained to them how God wants to have that intimate relationship with each of us; like a child asleep on her mother’s lap.

No matter how bad the circumstances in your life are, you should approach God with all your difficult questions and challenging situations just as a trusting child approaches his father. For when we are suffering, it is even more true that “Abba”, your Father, will give you what you need. He is waiting for your permission to help you; He is seeking that open heart that welcomes Him in and allows Him to work. Are you open to allowing God to help you?

When Christ was beginning His passion and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, He walked into the garden, knelt down by the rock and cried, “Abba” (cf. Mark 14:36). He knows how you suffer! He knows how your divorce has boggled your mind, made you doubt His love for you, and feel like you will never feel happy again. In this, your suffering and passion, approach God with confidence and affection, believing He hears you and will help you.

Count on my prayers for you and feel free to send me your questions and comments at asklisa@catholicmatch.com.

 

(This post has been read 1,299 times)

6 Comments

  1. Douglas-984666 August 1, 2013

    It really bothers me when I hear the phrase “the marriage ended” – the truth in almost every case is that someone ended it. It’s not just a tragedy that strikes out of nowhere and that no one can help – it in an injustice that one spouse willingly, knowingly, and intentionally commits against the other. When I first came into the Church, I was taught that marriage is a commitment for life and is thus indissoluble and permanent, but then I see people getting divorced (or “annulled”) left and right and then getting “remarried.”

    “Bible-believing” Evangelicals have the highest divorce rate, and Roman Catholics are not far behind.

    • Ruth-947500 August 1, 2013

      I think you need to look at each case individually. I am the one who filed divorce between my ex and I, but my ex checked out _years_ before, if he ever really showed up….I just couldn’t sustain the relationship by myself. I could have stayed in the relationship, but it wasn’t a marriage–defined as a relationship where both spouses help the other to get to Heaven–not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, my staying was hurting both of us more than it was helping–in staying, I was encouraging and sustaining my ex’s bad behavior, and letting him emotionally abuse me.

      I was also taught that marriage is for life, and that is why I stayed in my failed marriage as long as I did (almost 11 years), in spite of the fact that I carry a lot of scars from him. While I don’t have a declaration of nullity yet, I am in the process. I am really thankful for the process. It required that I look in depth at my marriage and why I married my ex in the first place: it has helped me to heal from some wounds, as well as to recognize places where I need to seek healing. Remember that the tribunal isn’t negating the words of Jesus, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” –the annulment process is examining and asking the question, “Did God join this couple together in the first place?” What this means is that, while there was a marriage _legally_, in God’s eyes, there WAS NO MARRIAGE if an annulment is granted. For me, if the Tribunal declares my failed marriage valid, I’m not going to try to get back with my ex–it makes more sense to live as a single person than to return to a toxic and abusive relationship. And, that is exactly what I expect to do–live as a single person the rest of my life.

      Also, based on my own experiences, I have a lot of respect for people who have taken the time and gone through the annulment process–it acts as a mirror to examine and sift through the pain of the divorce. It is a means of grace for God to be able to shed His light on the places that were previously hidden from Him. The process assists the Lord to continue the healing work that all of us need.

      Are there too many divorces in this country? Absolutely–mostly because, as a culture, we do not understand the nature of Marriage or what qualities we should be seeking in the people that we marry. Until we can find a way to both support couples after their choice and teach them what marriage is before their choice, we will continue to have these issues, but there are some bright spots on the landscape, and that is encouraging.

  2. Jeffrey-976998 August 1, 2013

    Though there are many, one of the greatest treasures of constant prayer during this time is receiving the ability to forgive. Forgiveness is the most difficult, and at the same time most necessary thing to come out of this better than you went in.

    What makes forgiving so extraordinarily difficult is that it must happen over and over again. It is not a one time thing, as new offenses can continue to come at you for a very long time. 70X7 is woefully insufficient. Keeping up this level of charity toward one, who likely knows you well enough to cut very deeply, is absolutely impossible without a constant flow of Grace.

    The good news is that you will not only heal faster, but more thoroughly. You will have the peace of knowing that you did everything you could possibly do. If you did it well, you can come out free of most, if not all regret. Pray for this first and always, and the rest will come easier with God’s help.

  3. Anne-993442 August 1, 2013

    I agree with Jeffery. Forgiveness has to be constant. It cannot be just one event, or one issue. You came together into a Union. A Union made by God, and we must continuously work at it. Satan constantly tries to tear apart the family, as Jesus came from the holiest of families with St. joseph the guardian, and his Holy Mother Mary. To invoke the Holy Family Daily is a must for any family to survive this day in age.
    If the marriage is dissolved, the healing can start. Parents will always be parents to the children. That must not be affected by how the adults have acted or what has happened due to their actions. A family doesn’t have to always be the “textbook” family. Families can be made up of many different names.
    To fully understand your partner before the Marriage, is a very good start.

Post a comment

To post your comment please login:

-OR-