Until Death Do Us Part…
The truth shines through in Scripture:
“Are you unaware, brothers (for I am speaking to people who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over one as long as one lives? Thus a married woman is bound by law to her living husband; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law in respect to her husband.” -Romans 7:1-2 NAB
In today’s culture, this is unfortunately something that is not taken too seriously today. Divorce rates are higher than they have ever been. In Hollywood, speed records are set for who can get married the fastest, and consequently, who can get divorced even faster. For me, this hits close to home.
Journey back in time, a few years before I became Catholic, and I found myself in this situation. Poor, immature choices had put me in a difficult situation. After the relationship fell apart, I eventually ended up divorced, something that was never in my master plan. But, life is what it is, and we learn to adjust.
After coming into the Church, I learned about annulments. Annulments are a process that can be hard to understand, and even harder to actually go through. So, what are they exactly? Well, they are not a divorce; they are more than that. After some thorough research, a tribunal decides whether or not the Sacrament of Matrimony actually took place. If there was a defect in the Sacrament, it is as if it never happened at all. Just like a legal annulment, it is treated as if you were never married in the first place.
What happens with the decision? Well, if the defect of the Sacrament is confirmed, you are free to marry again. If not, you cannot get married again. Period. That is why my girlfriend and I took this very cautiously. Because of our faith and trust in God’s plan, we decided that we would follow the decision given to us by the diocesan tribunal. If, for some reason, they did not grant the annulment, we would no longer date. People that we were crazy, and we are – crazy about our faith and about God. We placed ultimate trust in Him.
Now, the long wait is over. We were blessed to receive the approved annulment. What’s next? Well, it’s funny how God works. He seems to give us the right message, just a small affirmation that we’re doing the right thing, just when we need it the most. This verse just happened to be next, and coincidentally, one week from today, I will be standing at the altar. I could not feel any more blessed than I do with her today.
Are you going through an annulment? Are you divorced and looking for hope? Well, for me, it took seven years, but life is finally where it’s supposed to be. First, there was the separation. Then, there were years of financial hardship. Then, the difficult process of divorce and annulment added to the stress. Eventually, by waiting patiently, working hard, and having faith, my life began to turn itself around. Now, I am blessed with a good job, a nice home, and a beautiful, young woman that’s willing to be my bride. Some call it a second chance, but I think it’s my first chance to get it right.
No matter what happens, never give up. Life may get you down, but Christ will always be there to pick you back up.