I understood right from the beginning of my new life as a single person that, in order to be happy in a new relationship, I would have to be happy just being me and being single. At the same time, I was unaware of what makes a healthy marriage and very much in denial about our problems.
It is time for all of us in the Church to stop judging the divorced.
This may seem like a rationalization, but Jesus’ statement in Matthew 19:6 (“Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate”) does not apply to all marriages.
The divorce rate is anywhere from 50 percent for first marriages to 80 percent for subsequent marriages.
Perhaps, as a result, more and more couples are choosing to live together without bothering to get married.
It is too easy for those who have never experienced the desperation and sorrow of a failed marriage to believe that “they could have done something to save it.” Let me assure you, the divorced Catholics I know (including myself) are spiritual, forgiving people who are committed to family and to the institution of marriage.
And they did all they could to save their marriages.
Non-divorced Catholics need to be careful of assumptions, to discard any trace of judgment toward the divorced.
Since I have “been there, done that” when it comes to being judgmental, I can address this issue personally.
” as though I would smack my head and say, “Gee, why didn’t I think of that? People have commented, “But you seemed like such a happy couple.” That’s what we wanted you to think; that’s what we wanted to believe.
The bottom line is this: Such questions and comments just hurt, and they are unfair.
My own Diocese of Phoenix and other dioceses around the country are revisiting their marriage requirements, lengthening preparation periods and examining couples closely, looking for trouble spots in their relationships and families of origin—indications that they may not be ready for the vocation of marriage just yet.