Earlier this week, I finally received the letter in the mail from the Archdiocese of Orlando granting the annulment of my past marriage. It took thirteen months to complete (and a hefty sum of money). I felt a quiet relief when it finally came through. One chapter of my life that has come to a close and I feel I can more wholly put it behind me.
It also helps that Pope Francis has spoken about Catholics and divorce. Here and then here. I appreciate his compassion for those abandoned in a divorce and possible future consideration that annulments may be fast tracked when an extramarital affair takes place. Significantly lowering the cost and making it a 45 day process also seems helpful. While it does not change things for me, I'm glad the Pope is suggesting these reforms.
The timing of the annulment is good because I really wanted the process complete before T~ and I get married in December. While we are not getting married in the Catholic Church, it still would have bothered me greatly had the annulment not come through. T~ has agreed with me to have our marriage validated in the Catholic Church once we are married. It would be nice to have the ceremony in a church, but that would take another year. It would not necessarily be an issue with securing a time and date with a church, but the time it takes for the marriage preparation classes. The Church wants people to be engaged for at least a year before marriage and it likely would not recognize the time T~ and I have been together before the annulment. Sometimes you can have a clergy person vouch for you. However, we just moved and do not have an established relationship with a church yet. Plus, the churches that tend to be more understanding seem to tend to be more liberal. So, finding a new person to vouch for us may take time to seek out. Maybe not ideal, but I have made peace with the validation option.
I hope God is understanding and compassionate of our choices. We are older and time is not on our side for having children. Adoption may give us a little more time, but it is not a guarantee. However, please know we are not rushing into kids. We want some time as a married couple, but we are also balancing the reality of our aging bodies. Our hearts are in the right place, and I hope He sees that.