Catholic Men and Divorce

A resource for men.

“You should be on guard, then, for your life, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.”

Malachi 2:15
Photo: ‘Applause‘ Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella

Like too many Catholic husbands and marriages today, I have been faced with the possibility of divorce in my almost 30 year marriage. Fortunately, my wife and I worked through this devistating period of our lives – truly by the grace and mercy of God! But not without the feelings, anger, emotions, and all the ‘stuff’ that comes with it.  It is always a constant work in progress, for a lifetime.

As I talk with other Catholic men about marriage and divorce in our time, it is evident to me that marriage is under attack in our culture, if not our world – especially with people of Faith!

The number of weddings – between a man and a woman – is down, people are cohabitating more often than not, and Satan is using every means possible to confuse our thinking and distract what we truly believe. And the holidays – Thanksgiving through New Year’s – is widely known as a time when divorce has most impact on our lives and relationships, direct or indirect.

Avoiding Divorce

While divorce removes some pressures, it creates a host of others, says Dr. Gary Chapman in his book ‘The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional’.  If you are considering divorce, only a small percentage of divorced individuals claim to have found greater happiness in a second or third marriage.  “The grass being greener on the other side of the fence is a myth”, he says.

Divorce should be the last possible alternative, because far too many couples opt for divorce too soon and at too great a price. It should first be preceded by every effort at reconciling differences, dealing with issues, and solving problems. When couples seek and find proper help, many have reconciled.

Guys have Hope!

With the right information and proper support, you can be a positive change agent in your relationship. Follow God’s advice and guard your heart, remain faithful to your spouse and seek help. The path towards divorce is filled with more pain and difficulty, believe it or not. Healing takes time. God’s time.

One thing I decided to do in my experience with divorce is to change my perspective and change myself first. I didn’t know about it at the time, but this too is what Dr. Ray Guarendi says “You can’t change your spouse’s behavior and attitude. But you can change yours.” in his book ‘Marriage: Small Steps, Big Rewards’ .  So I will share more on this in another blog post.

A Resource for Men

When I went through my divorce experience I found there was very little online about men and divorce, as much as there was for women. So I decided then to do something about it by writing more articles – and this is one of them. It just has been taking some time in listening to the Holy Spirit about how to go about it. So now, in due time, you can use the keyword ‘divorce’ in the search bar on this blog and have yourself a resource. God bless you!

Frank J Casella

Manhood Monday: The Women Among Us

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Alleluia  See Lk 1:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the Gospel reading for today, [1:3637] The sign given to Mary in confirmation of the angel’s announcement to her is the pregnancy of her aged relative Elizabeth. If a woman past the childbearing age could become pregnant, why, the angel implies, should there be doubt about Mary’s pregnancy, for nothing will be impossible for God.

Mary’s womb is known by the Church as the First Tabernacle, for her saying ‘Yes” and believing in the impossible. God needed a woman first to bring His plan of salvation into the world.  

This is why us men should place our own mothers and wives and daughters in the rightful place of honor and respect, and pray the Lord be with them and bless them among women.  Do you think this would bring a new light or perspective in your relationships with them?

The best way to make your spouse and children feel secure is not with big deposits in bank account, but with little deposits of thoughtfulness and affection in the ‘love account’.

Zig Ziglar

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘True Prosperity’ Copyright 2011 Frank J Casella

True Prosperity

When we walk in the way that we should go, and treat others the way we would like to be treated, we find true prosperity.

Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.

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The Culture of Waste and Faith Formation

How to apply tithing to spiritual poverty

Pope Francis is known as “The Quotable Pope”.  An example of this is from each day on Twitter like this one:

” Consumerism has accustomed us to waste. But throwing food away is like stealing it from the poor and hungry. “

,,,, I can relate to this because my family has been in that position of having to turn to our parish and St. Vincent DePaul Ministry or Catholic Charities food pantry to put food on our table.  There is a present statistic out that says the average American family dumps in the trash 140 LBS. of food each year. 

This is food that is paid for from our working incomes. I’m sure we all tithe our cash to give to the church or to further God’s work. Why not make less trash with our food and do the same??

Likewise, when Francis Cardinal George came to be our Ordinary here in Chicago, it wasn’t too long before he said …“The greatest poverty is not to know Jesus Christ” … So, spinning the Popes quote from above, if you will …

” Always be a consistent living example of the Gospel. Because failing to do so is like stealing from the spiritually poor the opportunity to know Jesus’ love”. 

Finally, not too long ago when my son’s were teenagers (they are now in their 20’s) while taking my son to his sports practice, the thought occurred to me how many households in my neighborhood have two parents that work out of the home.  How they put their children into multiple sports programs with the intention of while they are working to “provide” someone else will take their child to the events.

I constantly would get phone calls, emails, etc., (from parents) assuming that since I’m taking my child anyways to take theirs too … and they will lie and rationalize to get it done, without any thought of the liability they put on me in the event something happens to their child.

Personally, my wife and I are that kind of parent who alwyas sat on the sideline even during practices to send the message to our boys they are important to us. Sure we have “better” things to do, but It personally gave me windshield time in the car to talk with them about what they saw happen in practices or in the games, or let them lead the conversation to become more a part of their lives.

We don’t get a second chance at this while they grow up. Sometimes us dad’s, as the priest of our house, have to lead the conversation with our wives about which parent is going to cut back – or cut out – the work load to live on less (maybe less sports programs) to invest more into our children and instilling their faith formation.

“With the “culture of waste”, human life is no longer considered the primary value to be respected and protected.” ~ Pope Francis

By the way, that picture at the top of this article, from the Bishop Perry Men’s Forum, all the left over food goes to the poor.

Frank J Casella

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How to make of yourself a sincere gift to your spouse

“Man finds himself when he makes himself a sincere gift.”

Saint Pope John Paul II

1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 13

1. If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

2. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

3. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,

5. it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,

6. it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

7. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.

9. For we know partially and we prophesy partially,

10. but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

11. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.

12. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

13. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Here are 5 ways to Be a sincere gift to your spouse.
Click here for the original article

  1. Prayer – At the heart of every good marriage is a relationship not only with one another, but with God. In order to be able to give fully of ourselves, we must come to the Lord and ask to be filled with the ability to give. If we try to do this on our own accord, we will quickly become overwhelmed and fail. We can’t give what we do not have. Give the gift of yourself to your spouse by making time to pray each and every day for your marriage.
  2. Intimacy – Enjoying times of intimacy with your spouse is an essential component to a strong marriage. It may sound strange to newlyweds, but over time the busyness of life gets in the way of time together as a couple. Be intentional about keeping the romance alive – in more than just a physical way. Create time in your schedules for date nights, meaningful conversations and having fun together. Make sure your marriage bed is a place where God’s free, total, faithful and fruitful love is expressed to your spouse. (For a more in-depth look at what this means, visit www.theologyofthebody.net) We cannot give ourselves more fully to our spouse in any other way than to practice holiness in the gift of intimacy, the gift God has given us through the Sacrament of Marriage.
  3. Be considerate – Every morning when you wake up, think to yourself, “What is one thing I can do for my spouse today?” Of course, you can do more than one thing, but really think about what you can do to make his or her day more enjoyable. It could be saving him the last piece of chocolate cake, doing a chore that is normally his responsibility, complimenting her in some way, or giving her an extra long good night kiss. It is helpful to know what your spouse’s love language is so that you can serve him (or her) in the way he (or she) will most palpably feel the love behind the it. Pope Francis also encourages us to be considerate in our marriages by frequently using these phrases: May I?, Thank you, and I’m sorry.
  4. Don’t expect things in return – This is a difficult one. A wife loves her husband for who he is, not for what he does for her… and he for her. Sometimes when we start to make the effort to be selfless towards our spouse we wait in expectation for them to return the favor. To truly make a sincere gift of self, we must give for the sake of pleasing God and not desire our spouse to reciprocate. Turn your labors of spousal love into a prayer to God. Seeing your actions as a prayer will help to avoid feelings of resentment or bitterness if your spouse does not return the favor.
  5. Submission and Sacrifice – This last idea is really two, but they go hand in hand. Both words cause us to be a little uncomfortable in today’s culture. However, they are necessities for every marriage. We must learn to subdue our own desires and to sacrifice our wants for the good of our spouse. Put the other’s needs above our own. It takes a significant amount of trust in God and in your spouse to be able to do this. In Ephesians 5:21-26, wives are instructed to submit to their husbands, but also note that husbands are called to lay their lives down for their wives just as Christ did for the Church. When we start to embrace this concept, we realize it is a drastically different definition than “50 Shades of Grey” would lead us to believe. A Christ-like type of submission is done out of pure love, with the intention of leading our spouse to heaven. We sacrifice and submit for the good of the other. How do we do this in everyday life? Decide that instead of putting up a fight over issues, you will yield and take it to prayer. Try to be the person who does not have to always get the last word in. Let go of minor things (not putting the cap back on the toothpaste!) and give them to God.

Marriage is a gift. It takes work, but produces great joy. The road to marriage molds our hearts and prepares us for heaven. Our weaknesses are revealed and many times it can be painful to see how much we need to grow in selfless holiness. Yet, at the same time, God grants us the ability to foretaste the joy of heaven here on earth through the love of our spouse. Apply these tips and begin to see the fruits of giving the gift of your whole self in your marriage.

Lord, teach me to be generous, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to look for any reward, save that of knowing that I do your holy will.

St. Ignatius

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.

Ephesians 5:21-26

Love and Marriage Support

This collection of Catholic marriage quotes and resources from a variety of Church documents and Saints, and authors of marriage books, can be read, shared, and reflected upon by married couples and couples preparing for marriage, as well as the parishioners who support them on their journey.

First a scripture on marriage and divorce that you often hear at weddings:

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

Great crowds followed him, and he cured them there.

Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”

He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’

and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.

They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?”

He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

[His] disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.

He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted.

Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” — Matthew 19:1


Marriage is not only a sacrament, but a very serious commitment as well. We only should enter into this relationship when we can accept all that it brings. In our present day more people seem to divorce, for example, but in the ‘old days’ people stuck with their marriage no matter what. For this reason it is important for us men to consistently be a Man of God, and to surround ourselves with people who are solid pro-marriage. Below are some scriptures and quotes to support love and the marriage covenant:

Love that leads to marriage is a gift from God and a great act of faith toward other human beings.

St. Pope John Paul II

Just as God’s love is stable and lasts forever, we want the love on which a family is based to be stable and to last forever. We must not allow ourselves to be conquered by a ‘throwaway culture.’

Pope Francis Meeting with Engaged Couples at the Vatican, St. Valentine’s Day 2014.

Website – Marriage: Unique for a Reason is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. The gift of grace increases as the struggle increases.

St. Rose of Lima

A woman’s most security need is often for her assistance that her husband is committed to her.

Dr. Gary Chapman

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love

Saint Mother Teresa

The saints did not all begin well, but they ended well.

St. John Vianney

Often a matter of focus: Why is it when we are dating, we focus time and attention on each other. But after a few years of marriage we focus on everything else. Fact is, we desperately need each other.

Dr. Gary Chapman

Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in You.

St. Augustine of Hippo

Any rejection of bodiliness will immediately target two beautiful but demanding and sometimes inconvenient realities: marriage and the child.

Bishop Olmstead at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast 2019

Archdiocese of Chicago Marriage and Family Ministry Team.

Finally, enter the word marriage, love, or divorce into the search box on this blog for the latest articles and resources.

National Marriage Week

The observances of National Marriage Week and World Marriage Day are an opportunity to focus on building a culture of life and love that begins with supporting and promoting marriage and the family.

Also, the website For Your Marriage, is a resource of the US Catholic Bishops and, helps couples at all stages of life to understand and live God’s plan for happy, holy marriages by providing educational and spiritual resources.

National Marriage Week USA is every February 4th to the 17th.


Fixer and Feeler

As the story goes, there was a husband and a wife who would together take their dog for a walk each day. As the wife talked about her thoughts the husband would interrupt as he tried to solve the problems. By the time they got back home, often they would both be more frustrated than when they left.

Then one day the man shared this with his priest during a light conversation, and the priest shared with the man how most women are feelers. To instead just spend time listening to his wife, and when he became frustrated by what she was saying, or trigger his emotions, to just keep moving and listen.

So the next time while out for a dog walk the man just kept quiet as his wife kept talking about her thoughts. Before you know it, the wife realized they got home and the husband didn’t have his turn to talk. What happened is that she talked herself through her thoughts, and that was the purpose the husband served.

So guy’s, we listen to fix and women listen to feel. But, more important, with all the information overload that we have in our culture today, it is important to listen to what people mean, not just what they are saying.

Sometimes it is best to just be in the moment, and not try to fix the moment, our wives want simply our time.