I have been married for 24 years. Thirteen years ago we separated with my husband because of the very difficult relationship. Because of violent behaviour I did not see any other option but to file for divorce. My decision was supported by a conversation with a cleric who said “first the criminal case, then the divorce case.” We have four children together with my husband. I suffered strongly to see how this whole situation hurts the children. I also felt helpless. I had no job and the apartment we stayed in was not my property. After a year of the pending divorce proceedings in court, I had a conversation with another priest who made me realize that there is such a thing as separation and believers should opt for this solution to secure their situation. I immediately decided to replace the motion for divorce with a motion for separation. Today I thank God that He put that priest on my path. Due to the fact that the case continued for about three years the court adjudged a divorce on the grounds of a breakdown of marriage. During that time my husband met another woman with whom he entered into a nonsacramental union and has two children there.
This whole situation has led me to look for my place in Church. In 2006, I found Sychar, the Community of Difficult Marriages, which has been a great support to me to this day. It is here that I learned that my husband, now divorced from me, is still my husband. It is in the Community, where I found out that my vows to husband made on the wedding day of 1 May 1993 is still valid and there is nothing that can release me from it. It was here that I met with the motto of the Community which is “every sacramental marriage can be saved” and it made me realize that I should open myself to the grace of God and closely cooperate with God. I decided to pray for saving our marriage. I prayed also for the woman who was with my husband, and I was freed from the enormous pain and suffering from the experience of betrayal. I forgave my husband everything, and I discovered that I still loved him. I am open to accept my husband back and to rebuild our relationship. I am also ready to welcome my husband’s children from the other relationship, if only it is necessary or appropriate. I recall the 11 years of involvement in the Community as a huge God’s gift for me. With the help of various people I was able to rent an apartment, I found a job. After several years due to a promotion at work it was possible to buy the apartment. Every day, I experience a deep relationship with God and the awareness that He is close and holds me by my hand. God is the faithful God.
I have run the Group in Opole for several years now and I try to help other married people in crisis by showing them the way of growing in the love to God and their sacramental spouse. The Community is joined by various people, both those abandoned and those who hurt their spouses. The experience of the transformation of their hearts and putting their lives into order gives me a lot of strength. Rightly guided priests are the invaluable support for the Community, who with great care help us stand in the truth.
My name is Agnieszka. April this year marks 23 years from the day I was sacramentally married. In September 2009 my husband left me and our three daughters (12, 8 years and 9 months). He now lives with a partner with whom he has a daughter (5).
I was shocked when I discovered the betrayal of my husband. Fortunately, I found help in the Sychar Community of Difficult Marriages. It was there, during meetings with a priest, a psychologist and people like me, that I discovered that my love to my husband lasting despite his infidelity, is nothing abnormal. Betrayal hurts and it hurts a lot… more than I could have imagined, but it does not automatically remove my love to my husband from my heart. Paradoxically, I felt that I loved my husband even more. I have met men and women in the community of Sychar who, despite betrayal – are waiting for their spouses. I recognised that the sacrament of marriage and the vows that I made to my husband are still valid and my husband’s betrayal absolutely does not release me of fidelity. I prayed a lot that I could forgive my husband’s betrayal and also to forgive the woman with whom he moved within a year after moving out of us. I do not know at what point this happened. But I felt great. The peace of heart, joy and a smile began to be with me every day.
The situation is not simple, because my husband and his partner live in the same parish as we do. We meet at Masses. Our daughters are sorry to see their father with another woman and their child sitting nearby in church. Many of our parishioners are scandalized when they see the situation, I still remember me attending Holy Mass together with my husband and our daughters. Our daughters understand that their father lives in sin and cannot receive Holy Communion to his heart. But they do not understand why the Amoris laetitia justifies such remaining in the second union by a higher necessity (child upbringing). They wonder why this illegitimate child is more important than they are?
Recently our eldest daughter had a serious conversation with her father. His excuse was that “that’s how life goes sometimes” I do not know whether that conversation caused any changes in my husband’s approach, but for some time now he has called me more often and answers my calls (it wasn’t the case before).
I hope that priests will support me and our daughters in the efforts for the salvation of my husband and his return to our sacramental marriage.
With best regards,
My name is Milena, I am 31 and I would like to present my story. I have been a sacramental wife for 9 years now. Two years after our weeding, my husband left me to live with another woman and they have a child together. I have raised our son Bartuś on my own for 7 years, and me and my husband got divorced 5 years ago. The beginning of our marriage was very happy and full of plans for the future, we both wanted to have children and to create a real loving family. Unfortunately, when our child was born and the everyday life problems appeared, my husband started to lose his enthusiasm which had accompanied him at the beginning of our life together. We started to quarrel, there were misunderstandings and later physical violence appeared as well. Despite it I still believed in our common future and I tried to save our marriage. However, my husband chose another way and became involved with a much younger woman with whom he has a child, a boy as well. After 2 years of marriage, my plans for the future lay in ruins, and when I found out about my husband’s lover, I felt as if the whole world collapsed, I felt as if I couldn’t live any more. Our little son lost his father. It was a very hard and difficult time… However, after the time of pain and suffering God started to heal my wounded heart. True, deep conversion came and I found the sense of my life again.
Three years ago I came across SYCHAR Community for Difficult Marriages where I met lots of wonderful people who, despite the betrayal of their spouses (often living in another relationship where children were born) continued their fidelity to their marriage vows. I remember how I felt then, so weak and broken and I asked God to give me the strength to remain faithful. And the God cleansed my heart, which was often very painful and required a lot of effort from me, it was the time of intensive work on myself and it has last to this day. But the God acted, converted and straightened my paths. I started to pray for my husband, and for his lover as well. I forgave him all the harm. Anger, grief, resentment disappeared from my heart.
I maintained good relations with my mother-in-law. Unfortunately, my husband did not seek much contact with our son. However, there were situations when we met in four: me, my husband, our son and my husband’s son from his second relationship and we spend time together. I can remember when we went to a circus together, we were walking and I was holding the boys’ hands – one hand of our son and the other one of my husband’s son. I remember very well how peaceful my heart was at that time, there were not any negative feelings in relation to this little boy, I knew he was not guilty of anything. I was happy that God gave me the grace to be able to cope with such situations. At present my husband has parted with the woman he has a child with, but new women keep appearing in his life all the time.
The last synod on the family caused a lot of stormy debate. Lots of people are of the opinion that the Church has started to approve of non-sacramental relationships only because there are illegitimate children there. Based on my own experience, I can say that these children do not prevent the return of sacramental spouses, and nothing is impossible for God, which has been confirmed by the testimony of other SYCHAR Community members. The receipt of the Holy Communion by the divorced has become another debatable issue. I cannot imagine a situation where my husband living with another woman goes to Holy Communion, because it is me who is still his wife. One cannot live in sin and in the state of grace at the same time. What, in such a situation, about the choice made by the spouses who wish to remain faithful to the other spouse and to God? In such a situation faithfulness loses its sense…
Dear Bishops, I provide you with the testimony of my life hoping for your support and assistance in my efforts for my husband’s salvation and his return to the sacramental marriage.
With God’s Blessing,
My name is Bożena. I am a member of the SYCHAR Community for Difficult Marriages, but earlier I lived in a non-sacramental relationship for 4 years.
12 years ago my sacramental husband left me and our 6-year-old son to live with another woman. Two years later I became involved with another man, we concluded a civil contract and a year later I gave birth to our son. Being in the relationship with that man, I thought I would fill the emptiness and sadness of my life after my sacramental husband’s leaving. Although seemingly our relationship seemed to be happy (we formed a family, we went for walks together, we went for holidays together, we took care of our son and the son from my sacramental marriage). However, I had the feeling that something was missing in my life. I was sad and anxious. I started to seek God. During the Holy Mass it was very painful to me that I could not go to the Holy Communion and that I lived in sin which distanced me from God, which hurt Him and which was closing the way to my salvation. It was painful to me that I was breaking the vow made before God during my Sacrament of Matrimony and that the same sin was committed by my sacramental husband who lived with another woman, as well as by the man who I got involved with. When I was talking to my partner (the non-sacramental husband) about what was happening in my heart, about my quandary and about the sin, he said that the times had changed and that was how people lived these days. I still wanted to change it, I attended the Alpha course which deepened my faith. I started to love God more and more and thus I began to move away from my partner. I decided to move out. The only thought that prevented me from it was the thought that I would deprive my child of the full family and that my younger son from the second relationship would have to pass through the drama which is the parents’ divorce, because I have very painful memories from when my husband left and how painful it was to our son. I asked God what I should do. By the Word of God, the Lord told me many times that I should trust God and that God would take care of it. Whom shall I trust if not Jesus. I relied on Him with everything. Jesus Christ filled my in-laws – my sacramental husband’s parents with love to my second son (who is not related to them in any way) from my non-sacramental relationship and my in-laws started to love him as their grandson. At present I live in their house together with my children. Sebastian (my son from the other relationship) calls them grandma and grandpa, they take him to his kindergarten when I am at work.
After I had received the Sacrament of Penance and I had accepted Jesus fully into my heart, I found peace and joy. My younger son grows properly, he is a good and cheerful child who does not show any symptoms of a child growing in a family where the mother and father live separately. When I came out of sin, I gave my children to Jesus, and God surrounded them with God’s shade which protects them.
I am grateful to God for the grace that he opened my eyes as he had opened the eyes of Bartymeus from the Gospel and I could notice that the man I lived with was not my husband (Parable of the Samaritan Woman). My husband is the man that I made the vow to and who I made the covenant before God with. I would like to thank the SYCHAR Community for Difficult Marriages for supporting me in my efforts for my and my husband’s salvation because I am responsible also for the salvation of my husband who, while living with another woman, is blind because he lives in darkness, in sin and Satan lulls his conscience cleverly.
With best regards,
My name is Iwona, I have been a sacramental wife for 11 years now. I contracted a sacramental marriage with my husband in May 2006 after knowing him for 8 years. I consider the first four years of our marriage as happy although there were also some difficult periods then (I miscarried three times at different times of pregnancy). Every loss of a child was very painful to me and my husband and unfortunately it was also the time when we started to become more and more distant to one another. A very serious crisis started at that time in our marriage and consequently, in February 2012, my husband moved out leaving me with information that the love had burned out. Six months later he filed for a divorce rejecting all my attempts to save our marriage. A year later, although I disagreed, the court ordered civil divorce, which allowed my husband to conclude a civil contract with a woman that he continues to live with. They have an illegitimate daughter.
After my husband had left, my world fell into pieces. At that time I was sure of only one thing – that I loved and I still wanted to love my husband and that I wanted to save our marriage. But I did not know how to do it, I felt like in a trap. And this is when, in my powerlessness, Jesus came. Jesus put some priests on my way who showed me and who made me realize that we, as spouses, are bound by a sacrament which is inseparable and which gives the power of grace.
Then I met the SYCHAR Community for Difficult Marriages where I met men and women who were in a similar situation and despite that they continued to live in fidelity to their spouses and cultivated their love for their spouses, although the spouses were often already in other relationships. This was the time when I started to believe that my marriage could be saved, not thanks to my strength, but thanks to the power of God flowing from the Sacrament of Matrimony. This is how the way of my conversion started, this is how the time of work on myself and the time of active cooperation with God – Jesus Christ started as nothing is impossible to Jesus Christ. This way has been continued to this day. I forgave my husband, his betrayal, and I pray for him and for the woman he lives with. I love him and I want his true good. Most of all, I want him to experience the grace of conversion and Love of God. I, myself, have experienced unconditional love for my husband every day since he left. I love him for being, although he is not with me. I am fully aware that the love which is being renewed in my heart is a great grace that comes from my opening to the sacrament of marriage. I am faithful to my husband and I am ready to reconcile and to restore our marriage, if only my husband wants it. Because there is a child in my husband’s present relationship, I am ready for his return with the child and I am ready to love and care for this child. I am also aware (and I agree) that my husband is obliged to financially take care of this child’s well-being.
My name is Bernadetta, I have been in the sacramental marriage for 26 years. Together with my husband we have a son and two lost children (due to miscarriage). Our family and friends saw us as a good and agreeable couple, but now in retrospect, I see that some of my behaviour, my immaturity and selfishness contributed to the crisis in marriage.
In 2006, another woman appeared in the life of my husband. Initially, my husband declared desire to save our marriage, promised to heal everything, that we would rebuild our relationship (we prayed together, went to retreats, pilgrimages). This attitude lasted for several months, but after two years he decided to leave us and unite with that woman. In 2011 they had a baby. In 2013, my husband filed for divorce, and in 2014 he entered a civil union.
When my husband abandoned me, my whole world fell down in pieces; despair and pain mixed with anxiety about my future and this of my son. But now, after years I can say that on those ruins and ashes Lord God would help me rebuild my life again. He put on my path people from SYCHAR the Community of Difficult Marriages who with their testimonies showed me the way to go. It is a path on which God is the guide. My close relationship with God has allowed me to discover and understand the great value of the Sacrament of Marriage and how serious commitment the marriage vows are. I also realized that I as an abandoned wife was not left alone in our marriage, because God is with me – always faithful, who equally loves me and my husband and He sees us together all the time. Slowly forgiveness was born in my heart and love to my husband, which he has “trampled” was reborn in a completely different dimension. During the divorce proceedings, when judge asked me if I loved my husband I replied that “I LOVE him, although it is a difficult and painful love”. I added that a civil divorce changed nothing for me, because our sacramental marriage still continues. I am waiting for my husband, and if he ever decides to change his life and wants to come back to our family, then I would like him to know that I’m waiting all the time for him and I am ready to accept him along with his illegitimate child (would it occur necessary).
Our difficult situation may seem impossible to solve from human perspective, and our marriage cannot be saved by human standards. I however trust in God and in Him I put my hope for healing of our marriage. I believe that if our marriage is healed, then God will take care of each one of us, will also take care of my husband’s child who needs the love of his parents. I pray all the time for my husband’s repenting, I also pray to God for my strength, so that I could persevere in fidelity to the marriage vows.
With best regards,
My name is Grzegorz. I’m 34 years old. In 2008 I was sacramentally married after four years of knowing each other. June this year will mark six years since my wife left me and united with another man. We have an 8-year old daughter with my wife.
The early years of our relationship were very good. Regretfully we have not had a living relationship with God and my wife had friends who broke their families themselves. I suffered because of my wife leaving me. I could not get over the loss of my two nearest persons who would now be with someone else. The great pain that I have experienced caused that I have turned in my prayer to God for help. God transformed my heart, gave me the gift of faith. I have acknowledged my weakness and helplessness and the fact that I cannot do anything just by myself. I offered my wife and my marriage to Jesus Christ. I decided that I would never agree to divorce and that I would try to save my marriage with all my might.
In the meantime I have joined the Sychar Community as well as Neocatechumenate. A week before the first divorce hearing at court I found out that my wife was pregnant with the other man. Upon the news about the extramarital pregnancy and about the fact that I wasn’t going to agree to divorce, most people, like parents, family, friends turned away from me. Only Jesus Christ was left, healing my wounds. There were periods when I was full of dissent and complaints towards God why I had to go through all that, at the same time believing that God was the only one who could help me. I was extremely anxious, fought with my thoughts why in spite of such hurt and humiliation I was still in love with my wife. And after some time God let me know that it was Him who poured love to my wife into my heart that it is a gift that I have received from Him. Tranquillity came when I understood all that, and I received peace at my heart. I persisted in my prayers, I offered fasting, novenas, sacraments for my wife and God was giving me signs that He is with me.
In April 2012, i.e. after 10 months from leaving, my wife – with a child under her heart from the other relationship – returned to me. My joy was short-lived though, as just after the birth of that child, my wife renewed the relationship with the other man – hurting me at that time very much. She moved out again in September 2012.
Four year have passed since those days. I am still ready for the return of my wife together with her illegitimate son who is four. I am often asked how it is possible that I can accept my wife with a child who has a different father. A quote from Scripture is helpful, in which – during the disciples’ argument Jesus presents them a child, saying: “Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me” (Luke 9,48). Those words explain a lot to me because I cannot do anything by myself. Yet I can do anything in Christ. I have forgiven with His power; in His power I am ready to accept this boy. I am also aware of my responsibility for my wife’s salvation. I know that as the head of the family my duty as a husband is to lead my family to God. At the Last Judgement which will come one day, I will need to report how I have fulfilled that task. Therefore no circumstances – even as difficult as in my case – do not release me from the vow when before God I promised love, faithfulness and honesty in marriage and that I would not leave my wife until death parts us. Christ teaches that a good shepherd goes after his lost sheep, that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than from one hundred of the righteous persons. These words give me lots of faith that my wife can also open her heart to God’s grace and to access an unlimited and free Mercy. I believe that each sacramental marriage can be solved as God has entered a covenant with us and our relationship is sacred by Him. I am aware of the sacrifice that Jesus suffered for me on Cross so that to regain me from the world of darkness. Just me, too – through the Cross, through my sacrificial attitude of fast and prayer – I intend to receive the grace of accepting the gift of conversion by my wife.
24 years ago I got sacramentally married to Kama, whom I love very much. After three years of our life together, a crisis appeared in our marriage, to which I contributed myself. I tried to save our marriage. Regrettably, my wife filed for divorce and obtained it unilaterally, without my consent. Several months later she entered a civil nonsacramental union with another man; soon they had a baby. In spite of my efforts to make contact and meet with her, I haven’t seen my wife for 17 years now. I am still faithful to her. I am a member of the Sychar Community of Difficult Marriages which is a great help to me in my fulfilment of the marriage vows.
I have never given up on my hope to recover my marriage. I have never stopped loving my wife. The source of my love to my wife is my relation with God, the experience of His love towards me. In spite of a child in my wife’s nonsacramental relationship, my faith and hope in her return to me were not undermined. I apologized to her for my mistakes and I forgave her trespasses against me. My wife has been aware from the beginning that I am ready to accept, love and bring up her child from the current union with another man – if only she wants to come back to me. I am also open to reconciliation with the nonsacramental partner of my wife. My desire is that we are all reconciled together and live to God’s Glory in real friendship.
I am aware that I am bound with my wife with an indissoluble covenant with Jesus Christ who is the guarantor of our marriage, its greatest witness and advocate. I love my wife very much, I have been and still am faithful to her. I wish to reconcile with her.
I pray every day for our marriage to be healed, that my wife finds the way to reconcile with God and that we – at God’s Will expressed in our marriage vows – are together again. I also pray that her current partner opened up to God and His love. I pray for their daughter so that she is the witness of true love and experiences it herself. I pray that no person, especially no cleric excuses or advises my wife to maintain “certain expressions of intimacy” with another man referring to section 298 of Amoris Laetitia exhortation.
With God’s Blessing,
The Drawing – http://en.sychar.org/drawing
Changes in talking about sacramental marriage after divorce – from mental euthanasia to evangelical language
Can every difficult sacramental marriage be saved? – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLobUwltc9GBapMKTiBKNZOo5uOi-RByIJ
Home page – http://en.sychar.org