Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?

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DJCleo

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Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« on: November 13, 2018, 03:30:21 PM »
I know a lot of denominations are ok with divorce under certain circumstances. It just seems that there should be an easier way out for those who married in a church, but their spouse was abusive or a harmful PD.

I mean, why don't they? It's not a new problem that there are sociopaths and psychopaths and PDs who don't change and instead harm their spouses.

This is probably more of a catholic - centric question, but it frustrates me in my faith walk. I know people are people vs. God who actually is who HE is, whether or not a church represents that well.

But, it seems outlandish to me that my S would be able to have documentation of everything through a divorce court, but that couldn't be the "fast pass" to an annulment. Abuse should equal annulment.

(I rephrased this question from an earlier post)

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Julian R

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2018, 11:30:53 AM »
Hello

I have seen this post and your previous post and would like to give a reply - although at the same time I am not really qualified to do so in that I am not familiar with the Catholic church.  Perhaps because it is such a large institution it moves more slowly and is more resistant to change.

In the kind of churches i frequent attitudes to divorce have changed and become more flexible over recent decades.

Some years ago I was in a position of church leadership and was confronted by cases of marriages where the husband was abusive.  I have a high regard for scripture and for Jesus' teaching but as I wrestled with the issues I came to the conclusion that those suffering abuse needed protection and that surely some forms of abuse are as bad as adultery for which divorce is permitted.  It was a bit of a struggle to come to that position but i was able to help the persons involved in abusive marriages in I trust a sympathetic and helpful way.  Given that there was no sign of repentance or possibility of change on the part of the abusive party I did accompany some women through the whole divorce process - one even took refuge in our home during a particularly bad time.

I agree it is frustrating if on the grounds of a dogmatic interpretation of scripture people are locked into harmful and dangerous situations and all the more so if the church to whom they turn to for help seems rather to hinder and proves counter productive.  Personally, I do want to start from a position of doing all I can to reconcile and save a marriage but the sad reality is that all too often that has become impossible - perhaps especially where a PD is involved.

Perhaps this answer is not really what you are looking for...  I just hope it is better than none!

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DJCleo

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2018, 12:56:39 PM »
Hello

I have seen this post and your previous post and would like to give a reply - although at the same time I am not really qualified to do so in that I am not familiar with the Catholic church.  Perhaps because it is such a large institution it moves more slowly and is more resistant to change.

In the kind of churches i frequent attitudes to divorce have changed and become more flexible over recent decades.

Some years ago I was in a position of church leadership and was confronted by cases of marriages where the husband was abusive.  I have a high regard for scripture and for Jesus' teaching but as I wrestled with the issues I came to the conclusion that those suffering abuse needed protection and that surely some forms of abuse are as bad as adultery for which divorce is permitted.  It was a bit of a struggle to come to that position but i was able to help the persons involved in abusive marriages in I trust a sympathetic and helpful way.  Given that there was no sign of repentance or possibility of change on the part of the abusive party I did accompany some women through the whole divorce process - one even took refuge in our home during a particularly bad time.

I agree it is frustrating if on the grounds of a dogmatic interpretation of scripture people are locked into harmful and dangerous situations and all the more so if the church to whom they turn to for help seems rather to hinder and proves counter productive.  Personally, I do want to start from a position of doing all I can to reconcile and save a marriage but the sad reality is that all too often that has become impossible - perhaps especially where a PD is involved.

Perhaps this answer is not really what you are looking for...  I just hope it is better than none!


It is indeed much better than no answer at all. I'm not really expecting the "perfect" answer I guess.

I do wonder if some of those who are in charge of annulments in the catholic church are sometimes the wrong kind of people to be in those positions though. I think that some are wonderful people who are working to help others. However, it seems to me, the more I learn about the process from others in my life, the more I think that there are those in the process who are making things particularly difficult out of a desire to control others.

So, the way I see it, as a Catholic, it's very disheartening to see and think this. I think that this is not in every diocese, but the money, time, and personal safety risks that one has to take to get an annulment is unrealistic for those who were in a relationship with an abusive person.

I just wish that my sister could have gotten the annulment by just showing court documents demonstrating some of her exH's behaviors. However, she refuses, rightfully so, to put herself in further danger by going through with annulment proceedings because they have to contact the other "spouse".

Whereas there are other situations that are more normal, like a friend of mine going through the process. He has been paying a lot of money (for paperwork and whatnot to be filed and processed and the investigation), but also having to go through the process of proving there wasn't a marriage. My H and I will be witnesses to this as well and have to also fill out lengthy paperwork to give our testimony.

So, from what I hear, an annulment process can be painful, but helpful to one's growth, learning, and reflection if the person takes the time to learn from the process. It can be a good thing in the end, this process.

However, there are situations like for my sister, where I'm just angry and disappointed. I do think God knows my sister's heart and knows that she has made her best decisions possible based on what is available to her. I don't think God wants my sister to put herself in further peril.

That's where my frustration and questions lie. Does that make sense?


I think you're right, that the Catholic Church just doesn't update quickly, which can be a great thing, but in this case, harmful.

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DJCleo

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2018, 12:57:38 PM »
Maybe I should start by asking what everyone's knowledge of divorce and / or annulment in christian churches is?

Like, how does it work in other denominations?

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Julian R

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2018, 01:37:06 PM »
To answer your question - I am a member of a British evangelical church.

I am rather ignorant of the Catholic church - if  understand you right, in addition to obtaining a divorce through the civil courts, in order to terminate a marriage a Catholic has to undergo a second "legal" process within the church called an "annulment"?  Is this right?

In the churches I frequent the termination of a marriage is seen as a pastoral issue and any legal aspects of divorce are worked out in the civil courts. Annulment as a concept or pseudo legal procedure does not exist.  If a person were to seek a divorce for invalid reasons and were not to heed pastoral advice against this then the church, as a last resort, may deprive that person of certain privileges that go with church membership.  If however, a person seeks a divorce for appropriate reasons - which in my view include not only adultery but also serious abuse, then that person would receive pastoral support - but the actual legal termination of the marriage is a civil affair.

I am not saying these churches are perfect - marriage break ups are tragic and often complex - and churches all to often get things wrong when they are called upon to get involved.  Just trying to say how things work in this section of the Christian world.

May I ask what the implications are for a Catholic who has obtained a divorce in the civil courts but has not got a church annulment?  I do kind of wonder how a male and celibate priesthood can really understand how problematic and painful marriage can be!!

I understand that you are disheartened and angry - I believe that God sees that and understands also.  And I believe he is with you, on your side.  He is as concerned about injustice or dysfunction in Church institutions as much as in any other institution.

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DJCleo

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2018, 03:51:35 PM »
To answer your question - I am a member of a British evangelical church.

I am rather ignorant of the Catholic church - if  understand you right, in addition to obtaining a divorce through the civil courts, in order to terminate a marriage a Catholic has to undergo a second "legal" process within the church called an "annulment"?  Is this right?

In the churches I frequent the termination of a marriage is seen as a pastoral issue and any legal aspects of divorce are worked out in the civil courts. Annulment as a concept or pseudo legal procedure does not exist.  If a person were to seek a divorce for invalid reasons and were not to heed pastoral advice against this then the church, as a last resort, may deprive that person of certain privileges that go with church membership.  If however, a person seeks a divorce for appropriate reasons - which in my view include not only adultery but also serious abuse, then that person would receive pastoral support - but the actual legal termination of the marriage is a civil affair.

I am not saying these churches are perfect - marriage break ups are tragic and often complex - and churches all to often get things wrong when they are called upon to get involved.  Just trying to say how things work in this section of the Christian world.

May I ask what the implications are for a Catholic who has obtained a divorce in the civil courts but has not got a church annulment?  I do kind of wonder how a male and celibate priesthood can really understand how problematic and painful marriage can be!!

I understand that you are disheartened and angry - I believe that God sees that and understands also.  And I believe he is with you, on your side.  He is as concerned about injustice or dysfunction in Church institutions as much as in any other institution.


::sigh of relief:: It's often the case where we have to look at what the "church" does as a clergy and separate that out from the everyday christian, of any denomination, and look at true faith and how people are vs. all of these rules, but the rules are there for a reason as well.

In the Catholic Church, there really isn't divorce. When someone marries, they either marry A) in the Catholic Church only or B) in the Catholic Church, but it's both a civil and a church ceremony. That way, it's one stop shopping, so to speak. I did this type of church wedding, but my husband is a much better person than the person that my sister had married.

I believe that my sister has done anything and everything she could to salvage the relationship as well as what she needed to do in order to get herself back to being as whole a person as possible afterwards. She is now remarried, but in civil terms only. I applaud her for looking into the annulment process, but also making her own decision that she would not put her personal safety, emotionally and physically and mentally, back into the hands of church "people" who could make choices that would not preserve that safety.

The annulment process is often shrouded in mystery. First, there is no Catholic "divorce". I used to think this was good, but sometimes people are just too far gone to be a good spouse and there's nothing to do for them. The belief is that this is a covenant between God and the two married persons. I believe that too, but I also believe that God could show me one day that my marriage is dead and to get out of there, if God forbid, my husband dramatically changed for the worse.

However, I'd have to deal with the lack of being able to go to communion until I got an annulment, unless I were to just live separately. Again, I understand that a lot of these rules and regulations have to do with making sure that people are not "putting asunder" or "separating" what God has joined, but can we be a little more authentic?

I know I won't agree 100% with everything any church does. I remain as a Catholic, but I think the rules are secondary and the faith part and relationship with God comes first.

Anyway, here comes the annulment part. For an annulment, it's basically an investigation to see if a marriage every truly was happening. That being said, it's not a divorce, per se, because they look to "make void" AKA say that a marriage never existed vs. just breaking up the marriage.

One friend, we can say "friend". Well, I watching "friend" go through a divorce in the civil court. I will be serving as a witness soon in the Catholic Church to this super slow moving investigation into his marriage to see if it was valid or not. He has no fear of his ex wife hurting him. She's gone and happily so and moved on quickly. They divorced on the most amicable terms they could and were fast about how quickly they got through everything in court. Neither one abused the other, but there were other difficulties including medications and psych ward short term, etc.

That said, there's a lengthy process. Some diocese make it fast and others make it very long. He seems to be in an extra-judgmental area where they believe annulments are happening too easily, as if the pope having mercy on people is being too liberal or "loose" with values. So, I don't doubt that they are making things drag on to make sure that they discourage others from getting annulments.

My sister has real reason to fear for her safety to her person, mind and soul and body, from her ex husband. I am actually glad that she has not gone through with the process. Someone in her ex husband's family was the one to officiate the ceremony and I think this priest let her down tremendously by not warning her about her ex husband. However, this was a family member that the rest of the family didn't tell certain information to, so perhaps he didn't know. However, this is another reason I feel angry and let down by the church on behalf of my sister. However, I know that there may have been some ways in which she should have not put with with less than she deserved before getting married that maybe could have helped, but not with a true sociopath, which I and my T believe this person to be.

So, how do you get such a marriage annulled? How do you go through the proper channels to do what the church says you should do if you fear for your safety? Part of the process is where they send out church volunteers / employees to go talk to the "wife" and "husband" and then to their families to interview them to see what they saw of the relationship to make their determinations. It most definitely is an investigation and is a type of court, but not a civil or legal one. So, this process puts the abused spouse at risk of the ex-abusive-spouse obtaining any information about the abused ex-spouse.

That's where I have a problem. I think God understands, but it's ridiculous to me that in this day and age, that we don't have a better church answer for this. Why should someone have to put their safety on the line in order to annul something like that? In order to be a "good" Catholic, you need to get a marriage annulled if you get divorced civilly. Well..? People in the catholic church act confused as if getting an annulment is easy and why do people go against church teaching and get remarried without an annulment.... Well...?

I know marriage should be for life. I know that and I hope that happens for me and my H, but I do realize that there are circumstances where divorce is best and annulments should be granted on a fast track system for those who have had to go through court to get the civil marriage dissolved - and if you can show certain evidence for court, then why not just for the church and it be dissolved based on abuse?

Again, maybe I need a canon (church law) lawyer or a more knowledgeable priest or something to talk to about this, but I ask these questions and often don't come up with real answers that are satisfying at all.

Thank you very much for engaging with me on this topic. I know it's not an easy one to discuss and probably confusing. Thank you very much!

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coyote

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2018, 05:06:12 PM »
DJcleo,
I'm gonna take a clumsy stab at this question. I am a Christian although I incorporate other philosophies, ie., Buddhism, into my life. I was raised strictly Catholic but broke with the Church in my late teens early 20's. Since then I have joined no organized religion.

IMO opinion Jesus's teaching have been severely misunderstood at best and at worst misrepresented by clergy in a grab for power. For example there is no warrant anywhere in his teachings for setting up any form of Ecclesiasticism. He did not authorize anything of the like and in fact his whole message is definitely antiecclesiaticism. All through his life he was at war with the religious officials of his country, Their pretensions to authority as representatives of God he ignored completely and showed only contempt for their rituals, rules, and ceremonies.

What Jesus insisted on was a certain spirit in one's conduct. He taught "principles" knowing that when the spirit is right the details will take care of themselves. So all of the "sacraments" as the Catholic Church calls them is not what Jesus taught. IMHO these "sacraments" and their other rules and rituals, are another orthodoxy imposed on us by the church to maintain control and keep us in line. I mean am I really going to Hell for eating meat on Friday or not tithing my 20%???

So, even though I am an ordained minister and perform marriages, I would never assume to have the power to tell someone, especially someone in a abusive situation, they have to stay married "because God, (or the church, or I), says so". We don't need emissaries, representative, priest, pastors or whatever, to mediate our relationship with God. That is between Him and I.
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DJCleo

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2018, 05:36:58 PM »
DJcleo,
I'm gonna take a clumsy stab at this question. I am a Christian although I incorporate other philosophies, ie., Buddhism, into my life. I was raised strictly Catholic but broke with the Church in my late teens early 20's. Since then I have joined no organized religion.

IMO opinion Jesus's teaching have been severely misunderstood at best and at worst misrepresented by clergy in a grab for power. For example there is no warrant anywhere in his teachings for setting up any form of Ecclesiasticism. He did not authorize anything of the like and in fact his whole message is definitely antiecclesiaticism. All through his life he was at war with the religious officials of his country, Their pretensions to authority as representatives of God he ignored completely and showed only contempt for their rituals, rules, and ceremonies.

What Jesus insisted on was a certain spirit in one's conduct. He taught "principles" knowing that when the spirit is right the details will take care of themselves. So all of the "sacraments" as the Catholic Church calls them is not what Jesus taught. IMHO these "sacraments" and their other rules and rituals, are another orthodoxy imposed on us by the church to maintain control and keep us in line. I mean am I really going to Hell for eating meat on Friday or not tithing my 20%???

So, even though I am an ordained minister and perform marriages, I would never assume to have the power to tell someone, especially someone in a abusive situation, they have to stay married "because God, (or the church, or I), says so". We don't need emissaries, representative, priest, pastors or whatever, to mediate our relationship with God. That is between Him and I.

I do agree with you Coyote. For my own reasons,  I do still participate in the organized religion and go to church, but I also make sure that I know I'm right with God and no one else can really tell me I'm not. In the car this morning I was thinking about this particular question (this annulment thing) in regards to my sister and praying. I did feel that God nudged me and told me to let it go and that my sister did the right thing. On many levels, I've known this, but it helped me let it go. Do I know this for certainty? No, but this is how I think God works best and it's a faith answer to a faith question... my sister did what she could to salvage a relationship with an evil man. I don't use that term evil lightly, but he was so harmful to her in all ways possible on purpose.

My relationship with God was helped even further to be something that isn't just rules as I was in college and had to learn what my faith was to me, for myself, and for no one else. So, it helped through interactions in campus bible studies and whatnot with various multidenominational faith groups. Ultimately, I learned the same thing again that I had somewhat known my whole life: that the rules are there, but they're more FOR US than we are for them. Just as the sabbath is FOR man and not MAN for the sabbath, as Jesus said. I had good parents who taught me about faith in GOD first and then also about the corruption and other problems in churches being from fallen man. They never hid any of the problems of the church and separated quite clearly for me what was church (man) and what was God. I tell you this because I am so fortunate. My H was not and still has baggage from a sect of pre-destination fire/brimstone believers. I try to help my H see grace instead where he sometimes still sees the harmful thoughts of "God is mad at me because of my failings", which considering my husband is a good man, his "failings" are not so terrible and God is not punishing him for being a frail person, as we all are.

Thank you again Coyote. I think I still have to continue to seek answers from God and not necessarily man, but man can help sometimes. I do agree that there are those who have scooped up "positions" of power and authority within all of our church (meaning all denominations to some degree have this) and that there are many in the Catholic Church who are pharisees. It's fairly plain to see, as I've deal with a great deal personally who act like they're a moral authority, but they're just some other person who likes to judge others. It's quite unfortunate.

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openskyblue

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2018, 07:12:59 PM »
Judaism has always had a pretty direct approach to divorce, mostly because marriage is not just viewed as a religious thing, but also part of a (literal) social contract between a husband and wife. When you marry, both parties must sign a ketubah, a marriage contract. Originally, the ketubah was an instrument to protect women and listed the conditions that are imposed by the Torah upon the husband, such as providing his wife with food, clothing, and conjugal rights (for both husband and wife). Through the ketubah, the husband guarantees to pay a certain sum in the event of divorce, and cements the inheritance rights of the heirs, in case he dies before his wife.  If the marriage is not working for either party, it is the marriage contract that has been broken. Even though under Jewish law it is the husband who can grant a divorce, a wife is permitted to demand a divorce.

Of course, depending on whether one is Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, Hassidic, etc. there are cultural norms that come into play when it comes to divorce under Jewish law. However, divorce has been codified for at least a thousand years through the Torah, probably longer.
Even a blind man can tell you when he is standing in the sun.  (Percy Sledge)

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DJCleo

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2018, 11:38:43 PM »
Judaism has always had a pretty direct approach to divorce, mostly because marriage is not just viewed as a religious thing, but also part of a (literal) social contract between a husband and wife. When you marry, both parties must sign a ketubah, a marriage contract. Originally, the ketubah was an instrument to protect women and listed the conditions that are imposed by the Torah upon the husband, such as providing his wife with food, clothing, and conjugal rights (for both husband and wife). Through the ketubah, the husband guarantees to pay a certain sum in the event of divorce, and cements the inheritance rights of the heirs, in case he dies before his wife.  If the marriage is not working for either party, it is the marriage contract that has been broken. Even though under Jewish law it is the husband who can grant a divorce, a wife is permitted to demand a divorce.

Of course, depending on whether one is Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, Hassidic, etc. there are cultural norms that come into play when it comes to divorce under Jewish law. However, divorce has been codified for at least a thousand years through the Torah, probably longer.

Is the ketubah customized for each couple as they marry or is it a standard one? This is fascinating that it goes back over a thousand years. How wise they were that people cannot always make things work.

What would happen if a partner were abused? I would suspect that this violates the ketubah, but I'm not sure how as you didn't mention that. I'll have to also do some of my own research.

Again, thank you for sharing. This, being the precursor to Catholicism, and having a Jewish man as the head of the church, so to speak, you'd think that they would have kept more of this concept around.  :doh:

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openskyblue

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2018, 10:20:29 AM »
Ketubahís have standard language. Iíve never heard of them being customized, but thatís an interesting idea.

Its too bad there concept of making a social contract isnít part of marriage culture. People put a lot of thought into the wedding vows and reception, but not the parameters of what they will and will not accept or tolerate in marriage. I think prenups get a bad rap. I really wish my ex and I had had some clear talks about finances and attitudes towards money before we were married.
Even a blind man can tell you when he is standing in the sun.  (Percy Sledge)

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DJCleo

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2018, 05:07:39 PM »
Ketubahís have standard language. Iíve never heard of them being customized, but thatís an interesting idea.

Its too bad there concept of making a social contract isnít part of marriage culture. People put a lot of thought into the wedding vows and reception, but not the parameters of what they will and will not accept or tolerate in marriage. I think prenups get a bad rap. I really wish my ex and I had had some clear talks about finances and attitudes towards money before we were married.

I agree. I think that it makes sense to say youíll love someone unconditionally, but the reality is that love is a verb and it means that we need to love ourselves too. It also has limitations.

Just this week I had to have a frank talk with my husband about his emotions running the show and how this would not be tolerated. There was a little more to it than that, but if you act like no one will ever leave even under repeated patterns of harmful behavior, then youíre just staying put as a victim, which I donít think is supposed to be the way it is at all. The Catholic view is that youíd separate until the other party is safe to live with. But if you donít see consequences, some people donít change.

It saves my marriage when I enforce boundaries and when my husband does as well. Itís a great, uncomfortable, but beautiful thing.

Why a church would say absolutely that a spouse shouldnít be a victim of abuse, but doesnít have a way to quickly and easily break that up if abuse can be shown, just seems like abuse in its own right. I would have tons of others upset if I said that, but I think everyone here can handle this thought as well as challenge it if needed.

A ketubah just seems wise. Each party knowing that divorce could happen based on specific circumstances. Not that it would 100% have to be followed through upon if the couple found a way back from certain things, but that would be their choice.

It bothers me so much that my sister would still be bound in the church on paper to such an abusive malevolent person. She cannot marry again in the church so she married again civilly only. I think thatís best for her, and Iím proud that she didnít give in and allow herself further harm as best she can. Abuse isnít new. Why shouldnít an organization like the church able to deal with this? Am I asking the impossible? I know I am not, if the ketubah exists, then there should be better ways in churches too.

That said, I 100% agree that most times so much work goes into the wedding, but little is said about the marriage. My husband and I did anything we could to prepare for marriage. Thereís a specific retreat we went on that helped us have these hard conversations, and we did the other pre Cana as well, which is a one day workshop, but itís barely a drop in the bucket in terms of marriage prep. Thereís so much work to get out of a Catholic marriage (annulment), but not much to get into it except wedding day plans.

My H and I had also both been in therapy for a number of years, so that helped us through marriage preparation as well. Huge.

Without all of that, we would be clueless.

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1footouttadefog

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2018, 10:16:36 PM »
I belong to an interdenominational Christian church.  We have members who are Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc etc.  A great many of our members are in second marriages due to death or divorce and many are mixed in terms of what denomination they are from and find our church a middle ground.  An example would be a Lutheran married to a Baptist or a Catholic and a Pentecostal.   

Our minister was divorced by his mentally ill PD wife after almost 20 years and this ruined him in his former denomination in terms of being a minister.  Many in our church are from similar situations.  We are like a church home for people who have been hurt and had to start over. 

I don't take divorce lightly but certainly view it differently than  I did growing up.  I now jokingly say that if your spouse be stoned for it in the old testament, then you can get divorced because of it now.  LOL  If someone was stoned for adultery for example you would not have to be married to them still, ditto other crimes and blasphemies etc.

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Hulagal79

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2018, 09:54:21 AM »
Hi DJCleo:  I'm certainly no authority on annulments, but I listen frequently to Catholic radio.

One of the things that is stressed in Catholicism is that marriage is a Sacrament and must be taken very seriously; it is a promise made before God.  When there is alleged abuse, disagreement, or such in a marriage, there must be very careful discernment to see that both parties' personal views are taken into account.  Certainly, if there is clear abuse taking place, I can't imagine why an annulment would not be granted, and why it wouldn't be granted quickly.   I think the issue/problem may be that every case is different, and very carefully considered, since marriage is a serious commitment before God.

Have you checked with Catholic Answers (www.catholic.com)?  I just went there and typed in "annulments" and many things come up.  I would also suggest Catholic Q&A radio shows, as on Ave Maria Radio or Relevant Radio (www.relevantradio.com).  Relevant has at least 3 Catholic Q&A shows; my favorite is Patrick Madrid's show.  Very thorough answers and frequently they have recommended books and other resources.  Also, the topic of annulments comes up quite frequently.

I hope this helps.  Will keep you in my prayers.  Best wishes and God bless.

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DJCleo

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2018, 10:46:22 PM »
I belong to an interdenominational Christian church.  We have members who are Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc etc.  A great many of our members are in second marriages due to death or divorce and many are mixed in terms of what denomination they are from and find our church a middle ground.  An example would be a Lutheran married to a Baptist or a Catholic and a Pentecostal.   

Our minister was divorced by his mentally ill PD wife after almost 20 years and this ruined him in his former denomination in terms of being a minister.  Many in our church are from similar situations.  We are like a church home for people who have been hurt and had to start over. 

I don't take divorce lightly but certainly view it differently than  I did growing up.  I now jokingly say that if your spouse be stoned for it in the old testament, then you can get divorced because of it now.  LOL  If someone was stoned for adultery for example you would not have to be married to them still, ditto other crimes and blasphemies etc.

I totally understand 1footouttadafog. I used to wonder why certain people never did what the church taught such as get annulments. Itís not easy. Thatís why some people do end up ďruinedĒ and have to leave their narrow minded congregations. Itís super sad. Whatever happened to church being the hospital for sinners vs a museum of saints?

I can certainly understand why there are so many in your interdenominational church. It just be confusing at times, but oh so joyful and wonderful as thereís probably a higher level of true acceptance there.

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tommom

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Re: Why don't all churches have a way "out" of toxic marriages?
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 08:21:07 PM »
DJ, this is an interesting thread. I am not a Catholic, I am a member of the Charismatic Episcopal Church which often gets a bad rap because the church can be seen as so "narrow minded" about many things (abortion, gay marriage, no female priests, etc. Very similar to the Catholic church.) However, my priest has said, in front of the church that no one should be required to live with abuse. That can include so, so much. Abandonment of many kinds comes to mind, like opensky listed. The injured party in abuse is NOT the only one responsible in a marriage, for heaven's sake,

I will say that we are so far away from understanding much of what Jesus taught and meant. I recently read a Messianic Jewish scholar who wrote -brilliantly and it was so clear when he laid it out - that we just don't understand what Jesus was saying to the Samaritan woman at the well. We need cultural information in order to understand so much of his teachings that we, as 21st Century humans, no longer have. I don't really know why some churches don't understand that abuse can be an issue...but I do know that happens.

"It is not my job to fix other people; everyone is on their own journey."