The Catholic Church stands for lifelong marriage. Sometimes, however, couples are not able to achieve this ideal. Marriages break apart because of a spouse’s infidelity, addiction, or mental illness.
Sometimes, the couple thought they were mature enough to make a wise decision but were blinded by infatuation or youth. There are many reasons why marriages fail. They are personal and not easy to sort through.
The Church offers a process to help divorced men and women who entered into what they thought was a valid marriage at the time. After examining the evidence, the Church may find that some essential ingredient was missing from the very beginning. This process is called an annulment. When a man or woman receives an annulment, they are free to re-marry in the Catholic Church.
The issues facing couples entering a second marriage are more complex than first marriages. Although many people who divorce have successful subsequent marriages, the divorce rate of remarriages is higher than that of first marriages. Preparation should be more comprehensive. Most dioceses offer specialized programs that include such topics as:
- Lessons learned from a divorce
- Ability not to let an idealized memory or loyalty to a deceased spouse block a new marriage
- Assessment of “baggage” (bad habits, unresolved anger or guilt, self-defeating attitudes) from the previous marriage
- Blending families, becoming instant step-parents
- Mixing finances, pre-nuptial agreements to protect inheritances
- Blending long-standing lifestyles
Contact your local Diocesan Family Life Office using the Find Catholic Marriage Support locator.
For Further Reading:
- Remarriage in the Catholic Church: A Couple’s Guide by Joseph D. Sclafani and Linda V. Sclafani