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.
When a marriage fails, no amount of effort, enabling or denial will save it.
It is wrong to ask for details before you support your divorced friend, family member or parishioner.
I have worked through the deep problems caused by my dysfunctional childhood.
I have faced and forgiven everyone who helped shape my early years in negative ways. Yes, divorce was a painful passage to go through, but I am a better person today because of it.
The Catholic Church’s response has been to get proactive about better preparing engaged couples before they marry.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage has made strengthening Catholic marriages a top priority.Many parishes offer post-divorce workshops designed for the first months after a divorce. The Church—the institution as well as the individuals—needs to minister to the millions of divorced Catholics by both changing ingrained attitudes and reaching out in love.Yes, the Church is and should be pro-marriage, but, like its Lord, it must also love and support those whose marriages have failed. As the survivor of divorce after 30 years of marriage, I know there needs to be a healthier dialogue within the Catholic Church between those who have never divorced (including our clergy) and those who have. 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.Non-divorced Catholics need to be careful of assumptions, to discard any trace of judgment toward the divorced.