Country singer Blake Shelton knew early on in his four-year-old relationship with pop star Gwen Stefani that he wanted to marry her, but the couple has — at least for now — put the next step on hold.
Shelton, in fact, reportedly planned to propose to Stefani sooner, but has delayed popping the question until the Catholic Church has annulled his girlfriend’s previous marriage to singer Gavin Rossdale, according to People.
“Blake was very serious about Gwen right from the start, and early on he thought about proposing,” said a source close to Stefani, who is practicing Catholic.
Stefani, who serves alongside Shelton as a judge on NBC’s “The Voice,” said she hopes to have a wedding ceremony in the future.
“It’s definitely headed toward marriage,” the source continued. “[T]hey’re all very like-minded and comfortable with each other. Gwen brings this sparkle to the country world. Her love for Blake is clear, and she’s been embraced by everyone. They fall more and more in love with one another, and their happiness quotient keeps rising.”
What’s the deal?
According to Us Weekly, Stefani began the process to have her previous marriage to Rossdale annulled by the Catholic Church in March of this year. The previous relationship needs to be annulled “so she can marry Blake and have it be recognized by the church,” a source told the magazine.
“Gwen’s religion has always been extremely important to her,” the source added, “and Blake is completely supportive of this.”
In the Catholic tradition, in order to receive a “declaration of nullity,” a church tribunal will have to determine if a marriage fell short of at least one of the “essential elements” necessary for a binding union, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
For a Catholic marriage to be valid, it is required that: (1) the spouses are free to marry; (2) they are capable of giving their consent to marry; (3) they freely exchange their consent; (4) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children; (5) they intend the good of each other; and (6) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by Church authority.
“In fidelity to Jesus’ teaching, the Church believes that marriage is a lifelong bond (see Matt 19:1-10); therefore, unless one’s spouse has died, the Church requires the divorced Catholic to obtain a declaration of nullity before marrying someone else,” according to the site. “The tribunal process seeks to determine if something essential was missing at the moment of consent, that is, the time of the wedding. If so, the Church can declare that a valid marriage was never actually brought about on the wedding day.”
As for Shelton, who is divorced from fellow country star Miranda Lambert, he has begun taking his faith more seriously since his relationship with Stefani began in 2015. He even credits Stefani for his renewed belief in God.
“I believe in God now more than I ever have in my life,” he told The Tennesseean. “The biggest part of that is just how [Gwen] came into my life and now our relationship. It’s just too weird. If you take God out of it, it doesn’t make sense. If you put God into it, everything that’s happened with us makes sense.”