Dear Father Angelo,
I have been following your website for many years, and for a long time I would like to ask some questions.
My name is…, I am 45 years old,I have been married for almost 18 years and have two beautiful children.
I met my wife at the age of 18 and she almost immediately led our relationship to be something very serious, introducing me to her parents.
This relationship involved me a lot, I spent beautiful years with her. I think I treated her well, even though we had regular sexual intercourses.
At the age of 26, two years past the tragic and sudden loss of my father, upon her pressure we got married and we started to have problems immediately.
Despite highs and lows our relationship went ahead and we had children. I was devastated by the loss of a dear friend and employee of my small business, and the one of my mother a month and a half later due to cancer
After these events my wife, who was suffering from frequent anxiety attacks, in 2011 met a mystic – or a presumed one -, and subsequently a group who brought us even closer to faith.
From that moment our problems as a couple, and her existential ones, got worse. She got hospitalized, underwent continuous visits for physical ailments, identity crisis, she got further from the family and used psychotropic drugs.
From that moment on, she and the deacon of … started assiduous (rather, constant) chat sessions talking about her alleged problems. She could not even fulfill the slightest marital duty, she couldn’t cope with ordinary activities as a housewife: cleaning, cooking, ironing, looking after children; only chats, prayers etc … This went on for months. I was informed of the involvement of…, but I never paid attention to that, neither prevented it, but I was not pleased at all seeing her in such a bad condition, losing weight and suffering a crisis.
After a few months, some members of this group of…, the… and two other ladies, stayed at my house as guests for a few days. On that occasion, I had a good impression of them. We talked, discussed and had lunch, but never a word about my wife’s psychological malaise.
Pushed by…, my wife went to the nearest exorcist, which is about 1.5 hours drive from my town.
The exorcist immediately said that she probably underwent a sorcery when she was a child and she ought to be regularly treated.
In addition, a frantic search started at home in order to find objects that could possibly undermine this path, such as glassware received as wedding gift, earrings and other gold jewels received as a gift for my daughter on the occasion of her baptism, as well as a “parure “received as a gift from my mother for our wedding, and some paintings purchased by us, as well as books such as “Harry Potter”, and other comics whose names I do not remember now, which were given by her to unknown recipients, or burned.
I wasn’t aware of what happened.
After about 4 or 5 months, coming back from a trip she made alone to visit her friends, the exorcist and the … declared my wife free of that sorceress.
But marital and non-marital problems continued.
One day, just back from …, she told me with lucid coldness that: we made a mistake in placing importance on sex in our relationship, we weren’t even supposed to marry, because “you and I don’t share anything at all”. A coldness that shook me. The only words I was able to pronounce were: “You strongly wanted marriage, even against my will, which was to wait a little longer to understand if we were actually doing the right thing”. She replied that “living with an anxious mother with severe depression is not the best in one’s life” (her mother has suffered and still suffers from severe depressive crises, she uses psychoactive drugs and other drugs for “alleged” physical diseases).
This was followed by words such as: “I no longer feel the attraction of once, I would never make love with you if it was up to me”. Any excuse is fine to avoid intimacy.
Furthermore she is incapable of any kindness towards me, such as celebrating my birthday, or anything else that may please me such as taking a ride on the scooter, going to the beach (she says she comes just to please me) or for a walk; she hasn’t bought a gift for me for years, even a small one. I can’t ask her to clean my shoes, or take pants to the tailor, or go to the post office to pay home utilities, because she would do it months later, or not at all.
Everything I wrote above made me feel very uncomfortable, which led to continuous arguments, adultery and impure acts on my side. I have a strong desire to break up the family and build a new life .
At the beginning I spoke with…, to make him understand the discomfort I felt, but nothing changed. I spoke with priests who have urged me not to give up, to try to help her in the kitchen or shopping, but after years – believe me – I feel totally empty. I realize that I go on living to please a person who has no mercy on me, often accuses me of not being able to do my job well, hurting me badly, blaming me because I send her to the post office and make her waste a lot of time, and other more serious things that I won’t tell, which leads to furious arguments that I regret having with her.
As a good Catholic, I’m not happy at all with this situation. This has led me into a serious crisis for years, affecting my work and my usually jovial mood – and is consuming me inside.
I would like genuine advice from you. I also thought about the marriage annulment – but she disagrees, scolded I don’t know by whom – or to simply divorce, but it would be against God’s teaching and those taught by my deceased parents.
1. I’m sorry for the situation you are experiencing.
I hope that children at least give you consolation and support you to continue fulfilling your duty as a father.
Their good is among your most serious and sweet tasks.
2. Coming to your wife: yes, she is sick.
Though, this sickness cannot affect the validity of the marriage.
To be it invalid you should prove that, when you gave her marital consent, she had problems which made her unable to fulfill her duties as a wife and a mother.
But this is not the case, because you tell me that you have spent wonderful years with her.
3. I do not know the impact of going to what you define as “presumed mystic”. As you know, the Church in no way encourages such practices. Nor do I want to say a word about the exorcists you contacted. But one thing is certain: for some time – if you allow me to use religious language without any negative meaning – you have been living from the joyful to the sorrowful mysteries.
This happens to everyone.
Also because our Lord explicitly said: “If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross every day and follow me” (Lk 9:23).
4. I would not insist on the so-called marital debt, because this is not the reason why Jesus Christ created and redeemed us. Marital debt is certainly an important component of married life. But ultimately it is only a means. And it must be accepted that sometimes, for some reasons beyond the personal will, this can cease.
Many people have to renounce it because of illness or other reasons .
I understand how much more difficult it is to accept it when there are no real and compelling reasons, as in your case.
I have always been impressed with the realism of a document of the Magisterium of the Church, saying that “in fact, situations occur in one way or another for periods of shorter or longer duration, in which heroic acts of virtue are indispensable” (Pontifical council for the family, Human Sexuality: Truth and Meaning, 19).
5. What I want to tell you does not go in the line of finding some reason to check the possibility of a declaration of nullity, separation or, worse, divorce.
Instead, I tell you to remain faithful to what you promised at the altar on your wedding day, when you gave your word: that you would remain faithful to your bride in good times as in bad ones.
6. I tell you to do so first of all for the sake of your children, whose serenity deserves you to swallow one bitter morsel after another.
Love is also made of this.
Only one day, and perhaps only in Heaven, will your children understand how much it cost their father to love them and seek above all else their serenity.
And they will ask the Eternal Father to glorify you even more.
7. But above all, I tell you to carry your cross together with Jesus Christ “because we must enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations” (Acts 14:22).
Tribulations force us to spend more time in prayer, to seek God as our help and as the only supreme reality of our life.
They force us to keep in mind the higher reasons of the present life, which is not an end in itself, but is the preparation of another life.
And to remember that this life is not the time of the award or the crown, but the time in which one deserves the award and the crown.
8. Carry the cross with love together with Our Lord for the supernatural good of your children, your wife, your parents and many other people who need your love united with that of Christ crucified, to have the strength of conversion and be able to save yourself.
Do not forget what Our Lady said at Fatima: that many people go to hell because there is no one who prays and sacrifices for them.
Recite the Rosary with your wife and also with your children, if possible.
9. I am sure that, by letting Jesus Christ enter your family with his saving omnipotence and Our Lady as well, who is the bitter enemy of the one who comes to bring disorder and division, many problems will be solved.
10. Finally I would like to underline a detail of your email, so that our visitors do not think that silence about certain things is fine. I refer to the engagement experience in which you say that you “had beautiful years with her … even though we had regular sexual intercourses”.
This last aspect – as you know – is not according to the will of God, because it changes the intimate meaning of those acts and, by igniting the emotion, it prevents a more serene evaluation of people and circumstances.
11. Dear, you have opened your heart to me, a heart that now is bleeding bitter tears and is going through painful times, of which at present you do not see the end.
I opened my heart to you trying to tell you what the Lord would like you to do in the present moment.
In a word, I have the impression that the Lord is asking you to do the good Cyrene with him.
This cross could end sooner than expected and you will find yourself facing a new stage, the one comparable to the glorious mysteries of the life of Christ, which can be lived in already in this life to some extent.
I gladly accompany you with my prayer so that the Lord may always keep your family united.
I bless you and I wish you well.