A Catholic's broken relationship with a Jehovah's Witness

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nuprin

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I am a Catholic and I’m married to a Jehovah’s Witness! I figured I’d grab your attention right from the start. This is a story…my story…and I don’t know what I’m really intending to do here. Maybe it’s to give a different perspective…maybe it’s to help educate on JW points of view…or maybe it’s even a cry for help and sympathy. Either way, this is just a story without any real advice on how to “evangelize” or “rebuttle” to a JW. First of all, I’ve been a Catholic from birth…I’m also not a very good Catholic until recently separating from my wife. But I do firmly believe everything I’ve ever been taught about the Catholic faith. About three years ago I met and had a relationship with a JW girl. Yes, we were physically intimate outside of marriage. I was going through a tough spiritual crisis in my life and was coming close to leaving the Catholic Church. However, I hadn’t been able to bring myself to leave out of fear of breaking my parents’ hearts (they’re imigrants to this country and they have sacrificed over 20 years of their time, blood, sweat and tears in giving me and my three brothers educational opportunities and spiritual guidance). So, while I was dating this girl, we were both feeling lousy because we were both doing things against our faithful practices (she was especially torn about being with a “wordly” person…or someone who isn’t a JW). So, needless to say, a year later, we were ready to make a change or a difference or to progress (or end things). On the edge of ending our relationship, we decided actually to do the one radical act that started even more trouble…we eloped. Yes, we got married in a “chapel of love” if you will. My intention was to make things better for her (see, if a JW is married to a “wordly person”, it’s ok, because the marriage…even a civil one…nullifies any her from any wrongdoing or any intention of being with a non-JW). On the other hand, I was beginning to feel very guilty about my decision even a month into the marriage. My Catholic upbringing kept ringing in my ears and before I knew it, we separated. It’s been very very difficult because I still love her very much (and I’m still very much IN LOVE with her). But evetnually, with the help of my family and spiritual guidance from a couple of priests, I was able to decide that this was wrong, for me to live with a woman whom I married outside of the Church. So now, I’m living in a different city than her, I’ve reconciled with the Church and I can again receive the sacraments. But the story doesn’t end there. What came up after my separation with her was a fact that I didn’t know about the JW faith before I married her: they cannot divorce (and remarry) for any other reason than infidelity. So, from her point of view, I’ve bascially left her without a choice to ever leave me (unless I force a divorce upon her and remarry another person…which right now is very much out of the question because, like I said, I’m still very much in love with her in a deeply personal and emotional way…she was my best friend). To make things worse, before we got married, I never informed her about the Catholic sacraments and how I can seek a divorce or separation from her if we weren’t married in the Church with the sacrament of matrimony. So, you see, I’ve bascially feel like I’ve ruined her life. And I do speak with her every now and then (again, we were best friends in love), and every time we speak, I am consumed with a guilt so tremendous that I cannot help but break down, cry, become depressed at what I’ve ultimately done to her life. I’ve been able to get back on track with my faith, but I’ve chosen to be alone and separate from her. From her point of view, I’ve taken away our relationship from her, and she probably does blame the Catholic Church for advising this “unfair” situation for her. I’m not sure where to go next with this but to keep praying and to keep moving toward a better understanding of my faith (for the first time in my life). But even in doing this and praying everyday until I cry, I can’t seem to escape my guilt and the terrible feelings of being responsible for her depression. I’ll end my story here (I’ve only given broad strokes). And please forgive me for the length. But putting this down and verbalizing it has helped me deal with this just a tiny bit. Thanks to anyone who has listened.
 
Hello nuprin,

I’m sorry for the pain you and your spouse are going through right now.

It seems that you may have been given bad advice, and if what I’m about to say is wrong maybe someone who knows about the church law better than myself can correct this.

First, the church is against divorce, annulment in your case may be an option, though I understand it is not an option for your wife.

Second, it seems that there are other options for you both.

One would be to live together, or near each other and seek guidance/counseling. You both can take marriage workshops and seek the aide of a priest to help determine if you two should remain married or seek an annulment. If the descision is one to remain married, then all it would take would be to have your marriage blessed by the church. This would in no way oblige your wife to convert, though that would be my hope for you both.

This seems like a much better road to take then the lonely road of things left undone.

Remember your vows.

In JMJ, Richard
 
Wow. I really don’t have any advice but I just wanted you to know I will pray for you.

Well, maybe I do have advice. If you want to reconcile with your wife, buy her a Catholic Bible and do long distance studies together. A JW Bible is not the same and verses have been changed. They will say it is a better translation but it is not the same as a Protestant or Catholic Bible.

Example:
John 1:1
In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.

JW Bible
In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was a God.

Hence the reason JW do not believe in the Trininty.

God Bless
 
The Church is against divorce when a valid, sacramental marriage exists.

“Vows” are exchanged only in a sacramental marriage. Marriage vows made by a Catholic before a JP are not binding. The Declaration of Nullity obtainable in such cases is ample proof.

This was not a true marriage. There was a “spouse” only in the legal sense.

Solution: Woman goes through RCIA. If she becomes a Catholic, they then receive the sacrament of marriage in the Church. And they live happily ever after. If she doesn’t become a Catholic, at least the couple gave it their best shot. Is she isn’t willing to at least learn what your religion teaches, and why, I’d stop feeling guilty.
 
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Katholikos:
The Church is against divorce when a valid, sacramental marriage exists.
Thanks for clarifying that.

Katholikos said:
“Vows” are exchanged only in a sacramental marriage. Marriage vows made by a Catholic before a JP are not binding. The Declaration of Nullity obtainable in such cases is ample proof.

I was thinking in the sense of what was promised, and seeking to bring validity to these vows, i.e. through the church.
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Katholikos:
This was not a true marriage. There was a “spouse” only in the legal sense.
All the more reason to seek to bring the church’s blessing into this, to make it more than legal, to make a union.
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Katholikos:
Solution: Woman goes through RCIA. If she becomes a Catholic, they then receive the sacrament of marriage in the Church. And they live happily ever after. If she doesn’t become a Catholic, at least the couple gave it their best shot. Is she isn’t willing to at least learn what your religion teaches, and why, I’d stop feeling guilty.
It is my understanding that the Church can validate a marriage if there is only one party that is Catholic. It seems to me that what is important is to seek to bring some closure to a relationship that is severely damaged.

In JMJ, Richard
 
I don’t want to appear to be insensitive, but what’s important is save this soul who is now in a false religion that is considered “marginally Christian” by the World Christian Encyclopedia and not Christian at all by most other Christians. You may be her one opportunity to learn the Truth.

The JW religion is Arian, a religion fought by the Church and declared a heresy at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.

If you reconcile, which religion will your children be taught? Unless this religion issue is put to rest, I predict many future problems. Love is an action of the will, not the heart.

Peace be with you and with all.
 
Thank you all for your concern and prayers. I have sought council with many a Catholic apologetic (including my brother who is a prominent and an excellent one). The JW religion is espeically difficult to evangelize to, so if there were any reconciliation, you’re right…children would be an issue (I will not have any children of mine be exposed to the JW faith). Yes, I know, what this boils down to is the heartache that is impending if I decide to divorce (which, in my case, I’ve been told, is allowable because there was never a sacramental union…only a legal, secular one). But all of your responses thus far, save for one, are not concerned with her salvation and/or situation. Basically, if I do leave, then she is “stuck”, if you will, and unable to remarry until I remarry (in short, “infadelity” on my part). And that is such a difficult thing to think about when you’re separated like we are, and still in love. I hope that I can make it through this with prayer and God’s help…which is why I am asking for all your prayers. I also hope that someday, she can continue as well (if not with me, then at least in peace). But I’ve also considered that I may have been chosen by God to evangelize to her…and that really scares me because I’m not very good at it, and also, I haven’t been a good example of a good Catholic. I’m trying, but I can always do better. Again, I thank you for listening, praying and your counsel. JOHN
 
Hi:

I am a former JW who is now Catholic. I was raised as a JW and even spent some time serving at their World Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

It is true that your JW friend is now considered married in the eyes of her Church even though you guys both got married by a JP. However, if you were to ever marry someone else again, she would be free to marry in the eyes of her JW elders.

I would agree with others here who state that this may be an opportunity for you to discuss religious issues with her if the lines of communication are still open with her.

I sent you a private message as to how to contact me for assistance.

Jeff S.
 
I will pray for you both. My wife is a former JW.

The road may be a long one, however trust in the Lord to lead you down the path He needs you to take.

My own journey and relationship with my wife is an ongoing process and we quite probably may not see eye to eye on every issue during our lifetime even though she did convert to Catholicism about a year after we married in the Catholic Church.

I try to take into consideration my life experiences (raised a cradle Catholic) and hers when dealing with issues that arise.
 
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nuprin:
Thank you all for your concern and prayers. I have sought council with many a Catholic apologetic (including my brother who is a prominent and an excellent one). The JW religion is espeically difficult to evangelize to, so if there were any reconciliation, you’re right…children would be an issue (I will not have any children of mine be exposed to the JW faith). Yes, I know, what this boils down to is the heartache that is impending if I decide to divorce (which, in my case, I’ve been told, is allowable because there was never a sacramental union…only a legal, secular one). But all of your responses thus far, save for one, are not concerned with her salvation and/or situation. Basically, if I do leave, then she is “stuck”, if you will, and unable to remarry until I remarry (in short, “infadelity” on my part). And that is such a difficult thing to think about when you’re separated like we are, and still in love. I hope that I can make it through this with prayer and God’s help…which is why I am asking for all your prayers. I also hope that someday, she can continue as well (if not with me, then at least in peace). But I’ve also considered that I may have been chosen by God to evangelize to her…and that really scares me because I’m not very good at it, and also, I haven’t been a good example of a good Catholic. I’m trying, but I can always do better. Again, I thank you for listening, praying and your counsel. JOHN
Wouldn’t she be free to marry in her church if you married someone else in the Catholic Church? Although that’s not a good reason to get married.
 
You say you are not good at evangelizing nor a very good Catholic.

Have faith. You will not say anything to change her mind. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. He can take your imperfect words and turn it into heartfelt understanding.

And take heart. I had a good friend whose husband divorced her but she was positive God was calling her to stand on those vows. Friends abounded who counciled her otherwise or tried to help her see the “letter of the law”, (in front of a JP so no worries). If you married her with the intent to stay with her for the rest of her life and she did the same, my personal opinion is you should do everything in your power (including praying for God’s work and help) to resolve this with your wife, Get the blessing of the Catholic Church, and live your lives together as you promised in your heart if not in the church.

And I can’t help feel God is using this situation to not just bring your wife to a true Christianity BUT bring YOU closer to Him also. JW’s have some great qualities, including evangelizing. If she can be brought into the CC, you could become a formidable team working for Christ!

God Bless
 
And get in contact with Jeff(?). As a former JW he will be the most helpful in helping you to use the right phrases and terminology to help your wife understand the truth. Have faith in God to help you but make sure you reach and grab the help when he provides it!
 
Jeff, I have sent you an email, but I’m not sure it went through. I’ve been working longer hours over the past couple of weeks, but I’ll be out of the forrest in a week or so. Still, I will try and contact you. Thanks to all for giving such comforting words. I often worry that Catholics could use a little more warmth when dealing with each other on the street. You have all made me feel wrong in those worries. In Christ.
 
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nuprin:
But I’ve also considered that I may have been chosen by God to evangelize to her…and that really scares me because I’m not very good at it, and also, I haven’t been a good example of a good Catholic. JOHN
St. Peter publically denied Christ three times and yet the Lord entrusted him to “feed His lambs.” St. Paul hunted down and killed Christians and he wrote half the New Testament. It doesn’t matter what you did in the past, it is all about what you are going to do now.

-C
 
My sympathies in your painful struggle.

Here are a few thoughts, I hope they might be of some comfort. They are offered with the feeling that you two don’t have to let each other go.

Jesus clarified the primacy of committment to a spouse when he reminded those who ask about divorce that it is proper for a man to leave his fathers house and stick with his wife.

Your respect for your parents is admirable but should not be the deciding factor in your decision.

Two recent Popes have affirmed "That which seperates us ( All Christians - Catholic and others) as believers in Christ is far less than what unites us.

The love of God, of neighbor, and the committment to live according to the commandments is more important than which faith tradition you decide to share with your children. Maybe you could share both. You could be beacons of ecumenism in a world that has far too much division and far to little unity.

I say this knowing the importance many people place in their faith traditions. I was raised very Catholic and have no intention of ever leaving my faith but I have learned beyond any doubt that living a life following the example of Jesus is more important than tradition

You don’t have to break each other’s hearts. God would not have it so. If you can find some way of living together that includes the love of God things can work out

The commandment to not commit adultery was not given to make life difficult, nor to give God a reason to send someone to hell, nor to give others a chance to throw stones. It was given to spare you from the situation you seem to view as unavoidable.

Good luck.

God’s peace to you both

-Jim
 
Hello Nuprin-

I can’t help but notice that you said that you are still in love with your “wife.” I think that if you pray for God’s guidance in this matter and pray for her conversion then you would do well. God knows your heart and hers. I wouldn’t lose hope. I am not without sympathy for her situation either. Just keep the lines of communication open and if you haven’t already, open up to her about why you have done what you have done and ask her to forgive you and let her know that you pray daily for both of you to be open to God’s directions and that means even if God is calling either of you to do something that goes against the “natural grain” so to speak.

As far as your comment as to being a good or a bad Catholic, I don’t know anyone who lives their faith 100 per cent the way God would like us to, but that’s why we are blessed to have recourse to God’s mercy.

ps. you have to forgive yourself too! I’ll also say a prayer for you and entrust you to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. - God bless! - Mfaustina1
 
Hi

I’m new to these forums, however as a read your “problem” one detail stood out. You say you where both "together"before marriage and i suppose that is also going against both religions.

what i want to point out, and i dont want it to seem mean or anything , is that it didnt seem to bother u much to be "together"without being married so why should you be soooo worried about her not being able to marry untill you do?🤷 Besides is she interested in marrying someone else? obviously you are not. So i guess the real issue here is getting your religions straight and working on you marriage.

I repeat i have no intention of sounding rude or mean. its just that i believe that you are making a huge issue out of something that does not need to be addressed right now.(the fact that she can not remarry till you do) take things one day at a time.👍
 
Nuprin, welcome to the forums. I am a former JW and the JW do allow divorce in all sorts of circumstances. The situation you describe will fit well into their ideology and they will allow the woman to divorce and remarry as she sees fit. There will be discipline placed upon her for her sexual sins and seeking a mate outside the JW fold. That will last about 1 to 2 years if she decides to put up with it.

If you love this person, then show her The Truth.

Pax Christi.
 
Just thought I’d point out, this thread is 3 1/2 years old and nuprin hasn’t posted here in about 3 years.
 
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