5 Dec


Abandonment… No single issue in Sacramental Marriage troubles me more greatly than this issue. Spouses of both sexes are equally represented when they have told me of their circumstances.  The suffering caused by this grave sin never ceases to tear my own heart asunder, just hearing about it is deeply moving.

Often, people do not seem to understand what love is. I think this is an issue compounded by the fact that we have only one word for love in English. Therefore, we cannot easily separate whether we are talking about Eros (Erotic/Romantic love), Agape (Unconditional Love), or Storge (Familial Love) when we discuss “Love”.

More importantly they fail to understand the obligations of Sacramental Marriage properly and their views of marriage are based on current civil interpretations of marriage wholly incompatible with Catholic Sacramental Marriage. This is likely based on the fact that in western society people frequently enter the sacrament of marriage under the influence solely of Eros and the misguided notion that the sole purpose of marriage is to make them happy. Such emotional attitudes are the primary cause of many failed marriages.

As I am going to shock many people – let me detail the purpose of marriage according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84

But wait, I see “the good of the spouses”! Does that not mean I am supposed to get everything I want and be happy in marriage? The answer is absolutely not. Marriage is for the spiritual good of the spouses, not to cater to their whims, extramarital lusts, or material gain. This means, in short, that one of your key jobs in marriage is to get your spouse to heaven!

What of happiness? Does it also have a place in Sacramental Marriage? Of course, but it is not the kind of happiness that lets you changes spouses frequently, nor is it the kind of happiness that comes from putting your interests first at the expense of your spouse and children. It is a deeper and more abiding happiness found in reciprocated service to the spouse. My grandmother expressed it best as she often reiterated that “We make ourselves happy.  Your husband or wife simply shares the joy you create.”

Then of course we come to the crux of the matter. The fact is that marriages, even Sacramental ones suffer from the grave mortal sin of abandonment. The Catechism has some harsh words for those who abandon spouses:

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.178

Read it again… Sobering is it not. Sacramental Marriage is bound by the MORAL LAW, not the civil law. The moral law is God’s law, and the civil law is just made up by men.

Now I want you to stop and think about why this would be a grave mortal sin that imperils your soul. We could start with the emotional and financial hardships it imposes on the abandoned spouse. It might be good to think of the effect of abandonment on the children. Liberal news outlets and talking heads will tell you how it does not affect or damage children – but I have seen this evil firsthand. It does tremendous damage to the children. But I will let the facts speak for themselves because in all honesty, someone reading this is going to be in denial of the truth.

No matter which spouse abandons the other – the net effect on the family is disastrous all around, especially with the odious no-fault divorce laws across the country which make a spouse as disposable as a tissue paper. To understand just how disastrous this is you need to understand the facts and the statistics on the effect that a choice to end the marriage will have. Effects not just on your spouse, but on your children. After reading this study linked to through the quote below, you will be unable to claim that a spouse dissolving a marriage does not harm the children, or the other spouse.

Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware of its principal cause: the absence of married fathers in the home. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate for single parents with children in the United States in 2009 was 37.1 percent. The rate for married couples with children was 6.8 percent. Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.[1]

Now consider that the damage you are doing to your spouse and children is simply an additional sin against God, your spouse, and the children. Then take a selfish moment and consider you immortal soul. To repent this sin you must seek to sin no more. That means that the only path to repentance and reconciliation with God is to return to your spouse and reconcile, and if reconciliation is impossible to live your life chastely and pray for your spouse daily after making every possible attempt at reconciliation.

I know, it comes across as harsh. I would remind those in sacramental marriages that they entered them freely and accepted the responsibilities that the Sacrament of Matrimony entails. I would also remind those same people, that upon hearing Jesus declare that divorce was impossible his own disciples exclaimed “then it is better not to marry!”

Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce
9“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 10The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 11But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.…

The solution is easy. Make the commitment each morning to Love your spouse in the sense of Agape and Storge Love. Eros will come and go throughout a marriage. Marriage requires a choice to have a greater love than mere erotic or romantic love. If your relationship is damaged such that your trust is broken and your spouse is distant – I highly recommend reading and following The Love Dare a 40 day program to help rebuild your marriage. If you want to see what the love dare is about you can watch the movie Fireproof (unfortunately DVD only on netflix right now). In addition you should speak to your priest about what programs or ministries are available through your parish or diocese to assist you.

For the love of God, the welfare of your Husband or Wife, and for your Children, please make that commitment right now and again each morning to love your Spouse as Christ loves you. If you are separated or divorced this still applies to you as no Sacramental marriage can be dissolved by civil laws. Take a moment to save your family and your immortal soul and return to your rightful spouse and reunite your family.

Pax Christi,


12 Responses to “Abandonment”

  1. louiseyvette June 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    Thanks for writing this

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony Jenkinson April 26, 2017 at 3:07 am #

    Hi Colin, I’ve just read this article and you are absolutely correct. My wife(both Catholic)deserted me three months ago after 37 years of marriage. She said that God wants her to live for Him alone. I told her just today that her soul could be in great danger. I will continue to hope and pray for true reconciliation. Tony.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dona Eis Requiem May 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

      I will pray for you to be reconciled. God never wants a marriage destroyed.


  3. Teresa August 7, 2017 at 6:59 pm #

    Thank you for writing this !
    were you an abandoned spouse?
    People – even in the church- dont understand and tell me to “move on “. i cajt .
    Im still a married person .
    Meanwhile my spouse acts like a single person

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dona Eis Requiem August 7, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

      No. I have been married to my amazing wife for over 25 years. But I have watched abandonment happen over and over around me, I’ve watched the children spiral downward. If people could stop to think about their spouse and children first – none of this would happen.


  4. Leftee October 22, 2017 at 6:14 am #

    Thank you Colin.
    This is the kindest, most loving article I have read in my quest to understand my situation. I am a Catholic woman and my husband abandoned me when I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. Four years on, I still struggle every day to cope with the pain. I too have been told by well-meaning people to “get over it”. Even my husband tells me to get over it. Getting over it isn’t possible, but you can put one foot in front of the other. The pain gets duller, but it always there, and has robbed my beautiful child of a happy mother and financial security and me of the opportunity to share the joy we create here, just us two. I loved that comment from your grandmother….about sharing your joy. My husband remains one of those selfish ones who thinks my job is to make him happy and since he wasn’t/isn’t, he felt entitled to leave. I still struggle with trying to excise the bitterness and anger I feel. I choose every day to love him, hope that greater joy will be there for us all, and let God hold my hand to keep me standing upright – most days I still feel like a baby foal testing out my wobbly legs – I have hope that grief and sadness won’t always define me. Thank you Colin for being so firm and summing up exactly why it is such a cruel and profoundly horrible act. I pray that anyone thinking of abandoning someone stops and remembers the injury they are doing to themselves, their spouses and their beautiful children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne January 14, 2018 at 8:33 am #

      Very regular good confession helps the healing. Your husband must suffer from the selfishness of our times. Keep doing what you are doing and truly delight in your child. I hope you have at least one supportive family member. You have to have compassion for such an immature person!
      God bless you dear one.


    • Al May 3, 2018 at 10:43 am #

      Hang in there Leftee. I have the exact same feelings. It is hard to get over. I hear “just get over it” all the time too. I was abandoned four years ago. I fought to save the marriage and my family with everything I had (Retrouvaille, counseling, forgiveness, etc.). However, I could not stop it. The pursuit of personal happiness and romance is like a drug/addiction. Families are under major attack. The laws and society are against traditional marriage (contraception, no-fault divorce, abortion, same sex marriage, etc.). Humanae Vitae was right. If we truly did what was best for the kids, we try to save and protect marriages. It is so frustrating. Sr. Lucia from Fatima said the last attack by Satan would be on the family. Stay close to the Church. Communion, reconciliation, adoration, daily mass help me so much. I just read the book Primal Loss, The Now Adult Children of Divorce Speak by Leila Miller. It shows kids are not so resilient, a common lie to justify civil divorce. I also have followed the Ruth Institute (ruthinstitute.org). It has been on Catholic Radio. Dr. Morse is exposing the sexual revolution and discusses abandoned spouses a lot. I have participated in a couple book clubs that discussed divorce and will go to Ann Arbor in a couple weeks for a Healing Family Breakdown seminar. You are not alone. Also, you don’t know how bad it is until you go through it personally. I have a friend that apologized to me now that he is going through the same thing. He said he did not know how bad it was as well. I know many good Catholic dads that have been abandoned and tried to save their marriages. I will pray for you. My daily rosary is always for marriage, families, and victims of divorce. When the Church opens it up for intentions at mass, I also pray marriage, families, and victims of divorce. I mention victims of divorce to expose the lie of divorce. People need to hear how bad divorce is so we can stop it. God bless!


  5. Mike February 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

    Do you see denying the marital debt as abandonment? Ten months now. There is no addiction, adultery or physical/emotional/spiritual abuse which cannon law allows for just separation.


    • John Farrell March 7, 2019 at 5:39 pm #

      Mike, canon 1153. Separation on lwn authority is temp only. The tribunals say there is no such thing as public abandonment because they ignore canon law. No judge / no public. It’s fraud.



  1. Abandonment | D.E. Cantor - December 30, 2015

    […] Source: Abandonment […]

    Liked by 1 person

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