Threats to Marriage

Distraught Couple

Marriage today faces a number of threats. Divorce, redefinition, and infidelity undermine the status and special importance of marriage in a society.


Divorce threatens marriage by destroying the permanency of marriage. Marriage, as defined by the Catholic Church, is a life-long union of a man and women through the sacrament of matrimony. Divorce undermines that marriage is a commitment before God until the end of one’s life to love and support one’s spouse.

Catholics are not permitted to divorce so long as the marriage is sacramental. A sacramental marriage cannot be undone by human beings. What God has brought together no man shall break. Conditions for a sacramental marriage.

Homosexual Unions

Same-sex marriage is a threat because it seeks to equivocate something that is inherently opposite of marriage.

What is even scarier is that the general public’s understanding of marriage as being based purely on feelings and one’s attraction means that genuine opinion about the traditional definition of marriage is considered hate speech or civil discrimination.

The Catholic Church believes in clearly defined purpose for marriage that is simply more than a relationship status. Marriage is a commitment to God, one’s spouse, and one’s children (if the couple is capable of bearing children). Its purpose is to unite a male and female together to bring each other closer to God and to participate in God’s creative act through sexual union. God designed male and female to be joined together for this special purpose.

Two people, regardless of gender, are capable of having close, loving relationships with one another, but inherently a relationship between two people of the same sex cannot ever be a marriage because such a relationship inherently lacks the ability to join together in union to participate as co-creators with God.

This is why the Catholic Church must be against so called same-sex marriage because of the special purpose of marriage. To equivocate same-sex legal unions to marriage undermines marriage because it diminishes the special purpose of God’s co-creativity which is never possible in a same-sex union. Homosexual sex acts distort the true purpose and gift of sex given to us by God.


Infidelity destroys marriage because it breaks what is fundamental to the relationship: exclusivity. Infidelity can come in a number of ways. There is physical infidelity and emotional infidelity. Watching pornography is infidelity. Masturbation is infidelity; it is having sex with oneself. Becoming emotionally attached to someone else in a spousal way is infidelity. Sex is a gift to be shared with one’s spouse within the bonds of marriage; this is the proper order of sexual relations.

What is even more at the root of each of these three threats is the lack of understanding of marriage and a lack of commitment to marriage. Marriage is not about convenience. Marriage isn’t something you do because you love someone. Marriage is something to which people are called. God calls people to marriage in order to help the spouses help each other get to heaven through each other. Marriage is a particular vocation, a state of life, to which God calls people.

These things all threaten the institution of marriage and its importance to creating a safe and stable society.


  1. Lora Gaches says

    My husband is an immigrant from England. We were planning on getting married but because it took us a long time to be able to afford an immigration lawyer to get the immigration process started. My first marriage was annulled a few years beforehand and because he is a un-baptized Christian, I didn’t think that we could get married in the Church. Also, we couldn’t sign up for marriage classes as we never knew exactly when he would be able to fly to the United states. After we got the process started, he wasn’t allowed to come here until the finances visa was granted. So we planned a small Christian ceremony that we could get in order quickly as he had only 90 days in which to marry me and to get the proper papers sent to Homeland Security to change his visa status. The ceremony couldn’t be performed during the first 30 days and the last 30 days so you can see the problem of being able to schedule a wedding in the Church. When he finally got here we barely managed to get the ceremony planned. We had spoken to our parish priest and had told him about our plans and that we hoped to have our marriage blessed. He told us that there was no reason for us to get married anywhere but the Church even though the only day we could get turned out to be Holy Saturday, which we obviously couldn’t do. My husband also wanted to become a Catholic. The priest, however, was pretty rude about the entire subject. I hadn’t been a regular church goer four 6 years after separating from my abusive husband and the damage he had done even though, probably especially though we prayed a lot and we went to church every Sunday and holy days, he and his father both abused our children physically and mentally and me as well. They crushed my spirit and although i’ve never strayed from my Catholic beliefs, I couldn’t seem to see anyone but him and his large family in anyone I saw there. My new husband Mark was the one (even though he only started learning about Christianity after we met who encouraged me to go back to church. We hadn’t been married yet and I really was starving for the Sacraments of confession and Holy Communion. I went to confess my sins. truly penitent. After I finished confessing he asked me if I was getting married soon and I said yes, next weekend. He then began humiliating me, I started to cry and couldn’t stop because I thought he and us had worked this all out. Then he told me that all of my sins could not be forgiven and I left the church, inconsolable. We decided to go to a different Catholic church and I’ve been trying to become a member of that parish. I’ve gotten all of my sacramental history to the parish and we had a meeting with him. We told him that my husband wasn’t baptized and that he wanted to become Catholic. After more than a month we approached Father again and asked him if I was a member yet. He told us that before I could become a member that my husband had to take RCIA classes and then we had to reapply and the Church members would take a vote to decide whether we could be members or not.

    Is this how it’s supposed to be? I don’t understand why we have to fight to be a member of the Church. Even if he’s an UN_baptized Christian, from all the research I’ve done, we should still be able to have our marriage blessed. He is currently taking online RCIA classes that seem to be much more difficult than ones given at church. He’s starting to wonder if he’s doing the right thing. Should he work that hard to become a member of a church that doesn’t seem very interested in him or us? People have asked us why we keep bothering with it, that we would be welcomed into any other denomination without having to feel like we weren’t good enough to be a part of the Catholic church. Here’s the thing though, I am Catholic, I love the beauty of the Church, the history, the Sacraments. I don’t want to be anything other than Catholic. I can’t even go to confession as I’ve been told my sins can’t be forgiven so there isn’t really much point. I don’t understand why the Church is making this so difficult. Am I wasting my time? Is my husband? I’m trying not to lose what hoped I have left but I am in desperate need of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

    • Melissa says

      Acts 2:47… Please read this..and quite seriously , read the whole chapter. The Lord ads to His Church, not son worldly man. We must hear the gospel, believe it, repent of our sins, confess Christ and be baptized for the remission of our Church can claim authority to change this nor can they refuse you or your husband if you sincerely want to be a baptized member…if they claim they have that authority then they have just called the Lord All Mighty a liar…please consider another faith. I’ve read enough of the catholic rules and regulations and their claim.that the Bible, Gods word, is insufficient…this is pure blasphemy

    • IKECHUKWU says

      Dear Lora Gaches, I sincerely admire your resolve, and conviction in the Catholic Faith. Forget about what others like Melissa here would tell you, keep pushing to get your much desired Catholic sacramental wedding. Sometimes God desires to see us insist on what we want before He grants it. You have to go back to your local parish priest and persist in humility in what you want, and you’ll see that the LORD would grant your heart’s desire. And don’t forget to keep praying; also book MASSES for this intention. THANK YOU.

      • Melissa says

        Yep…lead them astray by pushing that catholic rules garbage…unbelievable that people will choose a man inscribed books and church to worship over the Lord..nuts…pure cult and nuts

        • Melissa says

          To claim the Bible is insufficient and some worldly man had to come up with another book to fulfill Gods law is nothing short of say you people should be ashamed but the more I learn and study about this garbage the more disgusting you and this religion, if you can give it such a title, becomes…Gods word insufficient to anything, much less a dress- wearing man..unbelievable!!

  2. Sally says

    I got married in the Catholic Church when I was 20 years old. We divorced 2 yearrs later. I later remarried in a civil marriage and never had the 1st marriage annulled. After 25 years of marriage, my 2nd husband passed away. Now I’m seeing my first husband again and we are discussing remarrying. Can I receive sacraments again now and after remarrying the first husband? He is divorced from his second wife but it was not a Catholic wedding.

  3. Josephine Harkay says

    I understand that Catholics now are permitted to get a civil divorce even after a sacramental marriage. They cannot remarry while the former spouse is alive.

  4. Haley says

    Hi, I’m a catholic woman married for only 4 months to a non-Catholic man. We had a catholic wedding and did the marriage preparation, but all of a sudden (due to some recent arguing) my husband seems to have changed his mind about me and our marriage. He says that we can’t be happy together as a couple of we can’t be happy as individuals. I believe that because we made vows we need to do everything in our power to work on our relationship. He has even looked into divorce. Besides praying for guidance, strength and hoping he will see the light, what more can I do?

  5. Carol wilson says

    Me and my partner are both Catholics and would like to marry in a Catholic Church, my partner was married in a registry office to an ex partner but was divorced 34years ago, would we be allowed to marry in Catholic Church

  6. Henry Menendez says

    Hi Jon,
    I’m a great believer in a higher power… As of right now I’m going through some hard times in my Marriage. I have 2 beautiful girls and a great home. Recently my Wife of 15 years starting telling me that she feels confused. the she loves me but she is not intimately in love with me. I consider myself a great husband & Father and protector of my house.. Don’t know what to do.. But yet i have lots of faith that God will put his hands on this matter and help my situation..

    • Sustainer says

      I would suggest prayer. Pray in secret, not to be seen by your wife. However, also pray at the dinner table, where you can thank God that she is in your life. Let Jesus take hold of you, so that nothing but love can be expressed. In this love you will take interest in her, ask her about her day, do thoughtful things for her, and so forth…

      This task is your responsibility as a husband, but if you give your actions and your mind to Jesus, he will work through you. Do not be ashamed of Jesus in your home, speak of him openly so that he may work through her as well.

  7. Maria says

    Hi, John. Please give me guidance on this. I am just a simple wife with simplea dreams- to have a faithful and loving husband and an intact family. I have been all alone through my childhood years since I am just a “love child” who grew up with my grandparents. Because of this, I strive hard to finish college with flying colors bearing in mind to help my future family succeed and for them not to experience what I have been through. I married my 1st long time boyfriend of 6 years and had 4 kids. It wasn’t an easy journey since I marry him. I learnt how irresponsible he is and he’ s very inconsistent with me in all matters -whether its’ all about money or trust. I decided to keep the marriage since I value family and marriage itself.. But honestly, I wasn’t happy with what he was doing. He left. me when I gave birth with my 3rd child so he can work overseas. I thought he can give us a good. future but it didn’t happen. I manage to work hard while he was away and took care of the kids at the same time, with an on and off baby sitter from time to time which makes it more.difficult since I only rely to myself. He seems not to care with what. we’ve been going through, even forgotten his child’ s.bday and no constant communication fr him. When suddenly I found out he was cheating on me throughout those years. I demanded him to come home ans fix this. He asked for a marriage counselor which. I did find one for him. We both went to the counseling process and thought everything will go smoothly. I have forgiven him. And gave birth with my 4th child. I’am about to give birth when he left again for an overseas job. This time – he secretly find ways to leave for a lame reason- to sustain our family.
    BUT I thought we already made our promise in front of the counselor that. he will just work in the country and no one will leave..In short, I was really made at him and did not him for few months. But then when about to give birth, my heart kinda melt again and we went ok. I let do what he ought to do overseas as long as he will provide our kid’s needs. As time passes by, he went to his old habut of being inconsistent. again and again. We fought about everything- money, lack of time. to communicate and him ignoring us. This is where I felt numb about him. I decided to plan my life without him this time. When suddenly, someone came and let me feel that I deserved to be loved. It was really a complicated relationship that lasted. for 2 1/2 yrs. I was hapoy with this guy and thinking of a long life with him. I got pregnant with this guy and never regret it when my husband decide to come home. In short, he asked for a last chance to keep our family still. I gave in to his request, after all, he’s still the father of my. kids and married to him. He took ownership of my last baby and claimed it as “his”. I have no problem with him since he loved my other baby so much. However, after 6 months I can see ourselves fighting again with the same “unfinished issue with his attitude” again. Also we never have a personal connection and marital contact for 2 yrs now. accdg, to him this is not a regular family that’s why.. It makes me feel unloved and empty with our relationship. makes me feel. we are just 2 adults living in 1 house performing our duties with our kids. I dont feel like I have a “real partner in life”. Do u think.this is normal? I feel bitter wih. him and even ignoring him with what he’s showing me. I sacrificed a lot for love, for him but seems like I’ m not really lucky when it comes to having a happy and successful married life.

    • Sustainer says

      I’m so sorry to hear how difficult this is for you. I can’t imagine that I’d be as strong as you have been. But I think this man is also very strong in his own ways, and I’m pleased that he is still there with you.

      Simple solution: Have a nightly bible study with your husband. Before going to sleep, hold his hands and say the lords prayer. Based on what I read above, this may be quite effective for you. I think you both love each other, but you both suffer from an absense of Jesus deep in your hearts. Never make the prideful mistake of thinking you are strong with Jesus, always be humble and recognize how neglectful you are in Jesus. In doing this, your love of Jesus shows, and your entire life turns around for the better.

      Lets go a little deeper though. You need to let Jesus guide you. You mentioned you don’t feel lucky, but why would Jesus need luck? You also mentioned that you feel bitter, but does Jesus feel bitter with you for your sins? Imitate Jesus, let him carry your stress.

      Good luck! I’m very confident your going to do just fine. You’ve been through so much already!

  8. Maria says

    Hi John. Hope all is well. My husband and I are both catholic and got married in Catholic Church. We have been deprecated for almost three years now. I believe I was mentally abused by him. I didn’t agree on his way to discipline my children from previous relationship. We got into a lot of arguments because if that. He would make me do things I didn’t want to do. He would put me down he would say I was fat and that I didn’t make enough money even though I would bring in $5000 a month. He would make me feel so guilty of everything that went wrong. We had planned a trip to his hometown and one day all of a sudden he said to me, you know what I am thinking of canceling out trip and I said why? His response was I think you gained a lot of weight and I don’t want my family and friends to see you that way because they know how I am. I couldn’t believe what he was saying to me. He made me feel so bad. Years went by but nothing ever changed he promise me so many things but never follow through. His mom was diagnose with cancer so he went to see her while he was away I had a few friends come over and I had too much to drink and u thought I was unfaithful to him. He found out and things just went even more downhill after that. He forgave me we went to church together and confession things got a little better but still he would make me feel so guilty and so little not worthy of his love and attention. Also during all of this he had mention to me that he wanted to join a swingers club I didn’t even know what that was but then he explained and he said that would probably bring the spark back into our life. Out of fear of disappointing him I agreed to go with him. It was awful then he was unfaithful to me with 2 of my friends. That’s when I couldn’t take it any more and decided to leave him. I would like to get an annulment because I believe he mentally abuse me since the beginning and he used my kids to get to my heart pretending he was a good father when in reality he wasn’t. Do you think the church will grant me the annulment? Please help me. God bless you

    • Jon says

      Hi Maria. Yes, I would certainly hope that the Church would grant you an annulment. It sounds like your husband is mentally abusive and tries many ways to have power over you. This is not a healthy marriage. God bless you in your journey.

    • Sustainer says

      It sounds like your husband is lost, and God needs you to find a way to bring him back to him. This may be the most important task God has for you. Divorce is a path of convenience, but the path of God can be extraordinarily difficult. Embrace your suffering as trials given to you by God, and you will be rewarded greatly, even if you fail. Be a spiritual warrior for God.

  9. Karen says

    We chose for our third child to send him to a catholic school because he was a year younger than most at public school.
    Wanting to learn about Catholics we decided to visit the church attended rcia
    And became Catholics. Due to things happening in the school and to other children we pulled our son out and placed him in public. He is much happier and things are going well. Here is where we are in limbo due to the horrific circumstances our child suffered we left the Catholic Church and returned to a baptist one in our town because we felt the interaction with kids from his new school was important but we my husband and I were so unhappy at the baptist church not liking any of it. We enjoyed being catholic and learning & understanding the catholic faith now our child is 11 and hates and is so against returning to the Catholic Church there is a new priest who is fantastic!! We are the parents but making a child do something he is so afraid of terrifies us as well.

    • Sustainer says

      I feel like your son may benefit from this lesson: There is a difference between being a Catholic and calling yourself a Catholic.

      Explanation: If your son was bullied, it is essential that he understands to separate sinful actions from the Catholic faith, which is a faith of love. If, however, your son would prefer to be Baptist, this is a decision that he makes with God. You must only guide your son, do not force Catholicism on him. We must remember that Catholicism is secondary to Christ, and the Baptist road leads him to Christ as well.

  10. Austyn says

    Dear Jon my fiancé has a problem with me being catholic and is questioning if 2 people who believe differently can be together is there something I can say to this to comfort her?

    • says

      Hi Austyn. I think your fiancé raises good questions. I went through this myself while I was still dating and ultimately decided that I could not marry someone who does not believe as I do; there would be an unhealthy tension in my life. However, I do know some Catholics who married non-Catholics, who faithfully attend Mass and the sacraments, raise their children Catholic and everything turns out just fine. However, in particular you mention that your fiancé “has a problem with [you] being catholic.” If she is unable to accept you and your faith as you are, then your future marriage might not bode well.

  11. Zachary says

    I find I am willing to compromise and let heterosexuals keep the word marriage if I can get a civil union federally recognized with the same benefits and ability to see my same sex spouse if they get sick and so on. I am not opposed to compromise since I know marriage has a meaning that includes procreation to Catholics. The big issue is when people seek to block even Civil Unions from being recognized and other general rights as well (against being fired, bullied, and so on). When this occurs I take it as an attack on my life since that is what it is; an attempt to force me to stay alone and isolated in hopes that I will get depressed enough to take my own life or die young.

    I do understand that drive, tactically. I know that by being “out” even if chaste there is a danger kids and adults may question important precepts of the Church and I could serve as a vaccine against the faith, so to speak. In a day when many are leaving the Church, the Church can’t afford not to dislike and isolate us, lest we drag more friends and family away from the faith in their empathy for us. That said, while I understand I will not simply roll over and die for the Church, either. Thus, we find ourselves at an impasse.

    • bji says

      Nowhere in Church teaching is it ever justified to harass, assault or to abuse ANYONE FOR ANY REASON. The homosexual behaviors are a sin and an abomination in God’s sight. His laws say so. We are supposed to strive to rise above our sins, not demand societal praise and support for them. By the way, suicide is also a sin! To accuse the Church of wanting people to do this amounts to slander, libel and defamation – and “hate speech”! (saying that about Mohammed and Islam would get you killed!) Just because others do not agree with your desires and demands does not make such behavior OK, or make them “haters”. If we start allowing the state and popular culture to redefine what constitutes marriage to make you happy, where does it end? What if two twelve year olds decide it is their “right” to demand to marry and go to court? What if Muslim men want to marry 4 women and have sex slaves, too? Should we also be forced to tolerate that ? God’s word says, “a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his WIFE,” not his boyfriend or “husband”. Same principal for gals, too! The truth does not change because the calendar does.

      • Brittany says

        So much bigotry (homophobia) and ignorance (about Islam). I came here looking for reasons to consider coming back to the church. This has cemented that it is still the same hateful organization I left ten years ago.

      • Luisa more says

        Amen! So true! Thank you for your wise words! It’s hard as a Catholic Christian to make homosexual people understand you don’t hate them you just want to live in accordance to Gods word

      • J Dudley says

        I understand how the Church can clip one quote from Leviticus and call it law while there are many, many, many other instances where slaves are ok, where the subjugation of women is ok, where violence is ok. Cherry picking at its worst and most obvious. And Jesus never explicitly discusses homosexuality. And to say that marriage is special because it is procreative as said in the article is completely contradicted by couples who cant conceive. Are they “less” married than people with children? And what about older couples? My parents are in their 70s, are they no longer married because they arent in their child bearing years? There are so many good and loving messages in the Church teachings, it just makes me so sad that this is also one of them when it lacks both logic and love.

  12. Spastino 1 says

    if I get married in a Lutheran Church and I am Roman Catholic and my wife is Lutheran and was married before and don’t want to lose her annulment from her first marriage would my kids be able to be baptised catholic?if I get married in a Lutheran Church and I am Roman Catholic and my wife is Lutheran and was married before and don’t want to lose her annulment from her first marriage would my kids be able to be baptised catholic?

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