Not everyone who gets divorced intends to remarry, but in my personal experience, I did. I definitely had the desire to marry again because I had always believed my vocation was to marriage.
The questions that arise from being civilly divorced, yet confident you are called to be married, can be somewhat mind-boggling. “How do I know if this is what God wants?” was, for me, the big one. I knew what I wanted, but how could I be certain that it matched what God wanted for me?
Many Catholics today find themselves in this exact position and wrestle with this same question and more.
Is jumping back into the dating scene the right thing to do?
Do you just sit tight, trust God and wait for someone to walk into your life?
How do I even know where I stand with the Church?
If you are asking these same questions, I’d like to offer you some tips on how to discern the answers to these critical questions. Here are some definitive steps you can take that will help:
1. The Best Starting Point: Offer Reconciliation
It may seem impossible to imagine reconciling with your ex-spouse, but in my opinion, it’s definitely a risk worth taking. I took this leap of faith myself, and although my invitation to reconcile was declined, I have never regretted taking that risk. I believe it was the right thing for me to do, and I encourage anyone who was not living in an abusive or dangerous marriage relationship to consider taking this same step.
Attempting to reconcile with your divorced spouse may seem impossible, but it is a risk worth taking. Click To Tweet
By giving God a chance to work in your spouse’s heart, and through your willingness to risk loving even when it requires swallowing your pride, the graces you’ve received as a married couple have the opportunity to produce good fruit.
Of course, it takes the free will of both spouses to cooperate with those graces, and that doesn’t always happen, but just think of what could happen if you both did… Just opening this door can lead to something totally new. And if that happened, you’d be one step closer to knowing that dating and finding someone new should be put on hold.
What if you are not in a position to ask your ex-spouse for reconciliation? Maybe your ex-spouse is already remarried, or maybe the circumstances that led to the separation dictate that it really is not possible to reconcile. Okay, that happens. But if there is even a slight chance, why not throw the option out there? If it is accepted, there is hope. If it is declined, you will never look back and wonder what if?
2. Go Through The Annulment Process
All marriages are considered to be valid/sacramental unless proven otherwise by the annulment process. So in my case as an example, although I had a civil divorce decree and my union with my ex-spouse was dissolved in the eyes of the state, the Church still considered me to be married. Only the annulment process could determine whether a valid/sacramental bond existed between my ex-spouse and me and only receiving a decree of nullity could free me to date and marry again. This holds true for all divorced Catholics.
So, by going through the annulment process and receiving a formal declaration that states you are either bound to your ex-spouse until death or you are free to marry, you have a clear direction to head in.
3. Test Your Call
It’s a good idea to leave no stone unturned when you’re making a decision that will affect the rest of your life, so why not investigate the religious life?
Discerning remarriage after divorce? Check out religious life just in case. Click To Tweet
I personally did this by going on a retreat with a community of consecrated women, and also making an appointment to speak to the nuns at a local convent. Even though I didn’t feel called to this way of life, I wanted to look into it with an open mind. I wanted to give it a fair chance just in case I was missing something God was trying to tell me. In the end, it reinforced my confidence in being called to marriage.
4. Pray About It
Discernment always requires conversation with God, and you can feel confident that he will lead you in the right direction. The key is to be open to whatever he has in store for you.
I encourage you to take these steps if you are considering marriage in the future. No one wants to go through another divorce, and taking action on these recommendations will help to ensure the best possible scenario for marrying again.