My Spouse Left Me — Am I Free to Remarry?

Dear Catholic Exchange,

I am 64 years old, my husband who I married in the Catholic Church 40 years ago, left me after 40 years of marriage for another woman. How free is he to marry in the Catholic Church and if I should so desire in the future to marry some one else and/or if he should come back home to me, what would we need to do? I am praying my heart out that he does come back to me, our family, and the true teachings and sacraments of the Catholic Church?

Very mixed up and confused. 

Please help and pray for our marriage to come alive again.

Thank you,

Mary Ann Diem

 

Dear Mary Ann,

May God bless you and give you His peace.

Simply put, a man is not free to leave his wife and attempt marriage with another woman. A married couple can separate with a view to resolving serious problems, and some have even divorced to establish a different legal status for the woman, but they may not attempt marriage with another person.

Nonetheless, some marriages were never validly brought about. "Marriage is brought about through the consent of the parties, legitimately manifested between persons who are capable according to law of giving consent (Code of Canon Law, c. 1057§1). Sometimes people enter into a union unable or unwilling to give their full consent when they exchange vows. If you or your husband were to petition a marriage tribunal for a declaration of nullity, and the marriage were determined to be invalid, you and he would be free to marry in the Catholic Church.

If your husband returns, with no annulment granted, then the focus should be on strengthening your marriage and your spiritual lives (If he obtains a divorce before returning there will be some steps to take with the state to regain your legal status as a married couple). If there is an annulment granted, then you would have to validly exchange vows before resuming life together as husband and wife.

For more information about marital status, please see Divorce and Remarriage: The Church's Perspective and The Annulment Process.

Please know that your family is in our prayers.

United in the Faith,

Eric Stoutz
Information Specialist
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952
800-MY-FAITH (800-693-2484)

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  • Guest

    Dear Mary Ann, I will pray for you. Know that Christ is your strength and your rock. I pray also your husband will give up his adultery to reconcile with you. Temptation is a terrible thing to deal with for some men, it is too strong for weaker men to overcome, that is why your husband needs the strength of Christ to help him overcome his wrongdoing In the Holy Love of God I am your brother in Christ and my name is Roy

  • Guest

    Dear Mary Ann, Please remember the words of Christ, “Any man that leaves his wife will force her to commit adultery, and any man who lies with her commits adultery”. The temptation to adultery is very strong and especially if your husband is already committing adultery. You are going to need the strength of Christ to resist falling into the arms of another man. Stay close to the church and the sacraments, Pray in adoration for God to watch closely over you and protect you. Pray that your husband stops the adultery. In the Holy Love of God I am your brother in Christ and my name is Roy

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