I hope that this response will be truthfully compassionate and compassionately true. May I say first that I’m not unaware of wives suffering from their husbands (I personally know of two women who were battered by their respective husbands. Both of these women now are separated from their husbands, but only one got a court order).
Be that as it may, legal solutions such as annulment and legal separation have their uses. For one, they free a battered wife from an abusive husband. But legal solutions can only do so much. They are designed for justice and not for love, though one must give justice with love. As such, they only cater to that which is due. And, indeed, it is due for the wife to be freed from her abusive husband. But it is not her due, if she does not obtain an annulment, to marry another one. If she marries again after an annulment, it would actually be the first marriage because the first marriage was not actually a marriage; it was null and void. If she marries again without an annulment of the first marriage, this new marriage is not a real one but an adultery. As I have said, legal solutions can only go so far.
But others want to trick/twist legality to give what it cannot truly give. They want to legalize divorce. But divorce nullifies not only this or that marriage but marriage itself since it repudiates commitment, which is an essential element in marriage. Now, if marriage itself is nullified, why marry in the first place? For this reason, divorce, being self-contradictory, cannot be made into law.
COMPASSION TO THE SUFFERING
Now, granting they have availed themselves of law however essentially limited, how do we then show compassion to these suffering souls over and above the law?
The answer may be quite difficult in practice, unless grace is given, as it is quite simple in principle: show them, if they are Christians, what true happiness means. Does this true happiness consist of remarrying (even for the annulled)? Perhaps, but surely not essentially. We should be reminded that we marry someone not primarily because we want to be happy but because we want that someone to be happy. There is, therefore, no biological nor psychological need to marry. It is not a personal existential necessity, because we can make someone happy in other ways. Rather than an absolute need, it is a calling. An unmarried person, called to a different state of life, can still be happy.
What essentially does happiness consist of? Only Christianity has the adequate answer: Christ came that we may have life and life to the full. This full life starts here on earth, but until we see God face to face, we are sure that it includes some share of suffering here and now. In short, the secret of happiness, true happiness here on earth, is, paradoxically, to embrace suffering. It is to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ Crucified. This is the most compassionate response that you can give: to show her Him Who Is Compassionate Towards All. This way to happiness is a breaking of our old habit of looking for happiness in earthly enjoyments. I say with Ecclesiastes, it is vanity. Yes, enjoyments are indeed enjoyments, but we are taught to enjoy them in God. So we go back to God even as we come from Him and have our being from Him. This way takes faith so only with faith can one be truly happy. The one whose heart is so intent with the world will look for worldly solutions to problems. But if we are intent to be truthful and compassionate at the same time, we must run and kneel to the Crucified Truth who said that He came to witness to the truth. What a witness! Redemptive suffering.