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  #1  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:15 am
sfp sfp is offline
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Default Church teaching is ruining my marriage

My wife and I have been strong proponents of NFP and are both staunch believers in the Authority of the Church. We have been married for 8 years, and we already have 5 beautiful children, ages 1 to 7.

We've used several methods of NFP, including the sympto-thermal method, fertility monitors, and the Creighton Model System (NaPro), and NONE of them has worked in our avoiding pregnancy. We didn't start out trying to avoid very hard, but after our second child being born only 18 months after our first (using the S-T method), my wife NEEDED a break. Well, after trying to use the Creighton system under strict guidance by our Creighton councelor, she was VERY upset, scared, and angry, when we found out she was pregnant with our 3rd child, who was then born 18 months later.

O.k., now we were very serious...my wife was on the verge of a mental breakdown with 3 kids in diapers/pull-ups, and pregnancy was NOT an option. Well, 8 months later the Creighton model failed again...even our councelor could not figure out how she conceived our 4th child born only 15 months later! We were very distraught, and were doing everything we could to hold her and our marriage together (we were not able to be physically intimate hardly at all by now, due to fear of pregnancy).

We dropped the Creighton method because it didn't seem to do anything for us, and we bought a fertility monitor (ovacue). The owner of the company, although wouldn't "officially" say that the unit could be used for "avoiding" pregnancy, "verbally" told us that it was a very good way to know when ovulation occured. Needless to say, it didn't help. My wife cried for days when our 5th child was conceived 15 months later...it didn't matter how supportive I was in telling her it was going to be o.k., that God was going to provide. She COULD NOT go through pregnancy again, much less try to take care of 4 children under the age of 5, along with a newborn!

Now, we don't have sex...haven't for over a year. My wife has now officially lost her ability to appreciate this Church teaching, and wants her tubes tied. She still acknowledges that the Church's teaching is "beautiful in theory," but has no faith in it in "reality." She has women in their 60's that she used to run into at daily mass (not any more, she can't attend due to the kids), and they said they went through the same thing...tried to follow the teaching, but their marriage was torn apart by not being able to bond physically with their husbands. Following this teaching has given us 5 beautiful children, yes, but our marriage has suffered immeasurably...contrary to all the theories about NFP helping a couple bond way better than other couples using A.C.

We have always been open to life, but my wife is not physically or mentally able to have another child....ever. And since she is only 34, her fear will continue until she is post-menopause, or until she is infertile.

What does the Church teach about such circumstances? We truly want to follow Her, but are increasingly losing our faith in "this" teaching...and it doesn't help when our pastor says that the Holy Spririt will guide us in our decisions, and that the Church has not ever made any infallible statements "from the chair" about artificial birth control or voluntarily becoming infertile.

Please help...we are distraught, depressed, and angry. This is so far from a healthy family situation for us, OR for our kids. (sorry about the long-winded post)
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  #2  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:30 am
kevinsgirl kevinsgirl is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

Wow.

Reading your post I was really amazed that you've been blessed with so many NFP surprises. That's quite a blessing and cross rolled into one. While I can understand how challenging pregnancy and childbirth are on your wife--especially so many in such a short time--I do think your wife's reaction to each pregnancy is a bit harsh. You say you love each child, but such horror at the arrival of each child while following NFP rules does not seem loving. You have been blessed with five children approximately 15 to 18 months apart...that is a challenge, but I do not really see why it is such a horrible thing for you both. I know I'm not in your shoes and I haven't had this experience, but I do think that if you followed all the rules for NFP and you still conceived, that God had a darn good reason for blessing you with that child. And if it happens more than once then maybe God is trying to tell you to trust His plan for your family. I know without a doubt that God is NOT telling you to revert to artificial means to limit your family size.

P.S Does your wife breastfeed? Also, I don't know how close you were cutting corners with NFP, but I really don't think abstainance for a full year is necessary to avoid pregnancy. Have ya'll considered following very strict rules in charting? (i.e. abstaining from day 4 instead of day 6 to 6 days after peak rather than 3 days, etc.)
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  #3  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:34 am
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idrum677 idrum677 is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage


I'm not even going to pretend I have the answer for you. We do not know what God has in store for us. I never thought I would want more than 1 child, now my wife and I are awaiting our third and are leaving it up to God as to how lare or small our family will be. I know following NFP is not always the easiest but if you and wife truely are staunch believers in church authority then please do not do somting you will regret or will jeopardize your souls.

Pray about this with your wife and please speak with your pastor or find out if there is counseling available on the diocescian level.
Know that you will be prayed for by me and I predict other members as well. You are not alone!
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  #4  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:36 am
Magicsilence Magicsilence is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfp View Post
My wife and I have been strong proponents of NFP and are both staunch believers in the Authority of the Church. We have been married for 8 years, and we already have 5 beautiful children, ages 1 to 7.

We've used several methods of NFP, including the sympto-thermal method, fertility monitors, and the Creighton Model System (NaPro), and NONE of them has worked in our avoiding pregnancy. We didn't start out trying to avoid very hard, but after our second child being born only 18 months after our first (using the S-T method), my wife NEEDED a break. Well, after trying to use the Creighton system under strict guidance by our Creighton councelor, she was VERY upset, scared, and angry, when we found out she was pregnant with our 3rd child, who was then born 18 months later.

O.k., now we were very serious...my wife was on the verge of a mental breakdown with 3 kids in diapers/pull-ups, and pregnancy was NOT an option. Well, 8 months later the Creighton model failed again...even our councelor could not figure out how she conceived our 4th child born only 15 months later! We were very distraught, and were doing everything we could to hold her and our marriage together (we were not able to be physically intimate hardly at all by now, due to fear of pregnancy).

We dropped the Creighton method because it didn't seem to do anything for us, and we bought a fertility monitor (ovacue). The owner of the company, although wouldn't "officially" say that the unit could be used for "avoiding" pregnancy, "verbally" told us that it was a very good way to know when ovulation occured. Needless to say, it didn't help. My wife cried for days when our 5th child was conceived 15 months later...it didn't matter how supportive I was in telling her it was going to be o.k., that God was going to provide. She COULD NOT go through pregnancy again, much less try to take care of 4 children under the age of 5, along with a newborn!

Now, we don't have sex...haven't for over a year. My wife has now officially lost her ability to appreciate this Church teaching, and wants her tubes tied. She still acknowledges that the Church's teaching is "beautiful in theory," but has no faith in it in "reality." She has women in their 60's that she used to run into at daily mass (not any more, she can't attend due to the kids), and they said they went through the same thing...tried to follow the teaching, but their marriage was torn apart by not being able to bond physically with their husbands. Following this teaching has given us 5 beautiful children, yes, but our marriage has suffered immeasurably...contrary to all the theories about NFP helping a couple bond way better than other couples using A.C.

We have always been open to life, but my wife is not physically or mentally able to have another child....ever. And since she is only 34, her fear will continue until she is post-menopause, or until she is infertile.

What does the Church teach about such circumstances? We truly want to follow Her, but are increasingly losing our faith in "this" teaching...and it doesn't help when our pastor says that the Holy Spririt will guide us in our decisions, and that the Church has not ever made any infallible statements "from the chair" about artificial birth control or voluntarily becoming infertile.

Please help...we are distraught, depressed, and angry. This is so far from a healthy family situation for us, OR for our kids. (sorry about the long-winded post)
Mothers of the previous generations used to cope with 8,9 or 10 children, often more.

My mother was one of 7.

Are you maybe leaving her to do all the work with regard to the kids?

Quote:
We have always been open to life, but my wife is not physically or mentally able to have another child....ever.
For what just and grave reason were you using NFP?

Is your wife in serious medical danger from pregnancy? Or just tired?

Emotionally unstable? Or just exhausted?

I thought children were a blessing...
  #5  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:37 am
dulcissima dulcissima is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

So, NFP has failed you and your wife. Have you figured out which of the 5 children you weren't supposed to have?

5 young children is a lot to deal with. I have 4 kids that are spaced out, so I would imagine that having them all close together would be tough. Although, at this point, I sort of doubt that 6 would really be that much more difficult than 5. I know when I went from 1 to 2 the difference in how much more work it was was almost overwhelming. But in contrast, having number 3 and 4 was barely an adjustment, other than needing a bigger car.

Your oldest now has got to be at least 5. One thing that families with a lot of children do is have the oldest help out. I know that when I had my 3rd my oldest was able to bring me anything I needed if I was busy with the baby, and if I wasn't around and my (now ex) husband was watching the kids she would change diapers as that was something he would not do.

I think what is ruining your marriage is the idea that more children are not acceptable. What can you and your wife do to support each other as a couple so that you can be open to having more children? As parents, what changes can you implement to make your large family more workable? I think if you work on this approach, you will find that Church teaching blesses your marriage rather than ruins it.

Take it from a mom of four who was talked into a tubal ligation because my now ex husband was not open to having children. Sterilization is not the answer. Working together on challenges that you face as a family is the real answer.
  #6  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:40 am
GraceDK GraceDK is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

sfp.. brother..
you wont get any cheap answer from me. I can understand why you are upset. you and your wife are very healthy and fertile people .. thats the only nice thing I can say since I know two couples who are struggling so hard to conceive just one baby.. But I understand you and I am following this thread with interest. This is not the first case I have seen where this happend and I have tried myself how hard it is when people say to you to just follow the Church because she never errs.. Sometimes it really does seem that the ideals are exactly that and only that.. the world aint perfect.
But I'll be silent now and observe.. coz many here will have better advice than I can give. I only want to give my support and understanding.
  #7  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:40 am
mschrank mschrank is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

SFP: Sorry about some of the above posters and their attitudes. They decided having several children all at once worked for them, so you should do the same. Human nature really. Misunderstanding people: No offense, but the guy didn't come and post on here just to have you give him platitudes, regardless of their ultimate truth. This kind of misguided piety is what makes people abandon Church teachings in the first place because they see such a gap between people like them and the people giving the "advice" and deem the gap unbridgeable.

SFP: If I were you, I'd do two things. First of all, this is very strange. AFAIK, the up-to-date variants of NFP are 98% effective. Either you are not doing it properly, or your wife's body is not acting in the normal way and is not giving the proper signs. Do you know with 100% certainty that you are doing it properly on your end? Have you been to a medical doctor (not a NFP counselor) familar with NFP to try to figure out what is going wrong?

Secondly, yes there's a spiritual element. While you try to figure this out, you need to make sure your spiritual life is 100% where it should be so you can see this in perspective and make the right decision. Morning prayer (liturgy of the hours), daily rosary, Mass at least once a week if not more, spiritual reading, etc. You need to give yourself energy in dealing with this, and God is the best place to get it and you need that perspective to decide on the right course of action.

Again, see a doctor. This is not normal, and it is not a fault with the NFP method itself. There is something different about your wife's body it seems like.
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  #8  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:43 am
sfp sfp is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinsgirl View Post
You say you love each child, but such horror at the arrival of each child while following NFP rules does not seem loving. ...I do not really see why it is such a horrible thing for you both.. ...I know I'm not in your shoes and I haven't had this experience...
Thanks very much for responding, KG

Keep in mind, I never said that we experienced "horror" at the arrival of each child. We can't imagine our lives without any of them, and for you to say that our "reaction" does not seem loving is extremely un-empathetic. We have embraced the blessing of our children just like anyone else would.

However, your last statement above is very important...(you are not in our shoes.) You don't know what it's like for a woman to go through 45 months of pregnancy within 7 years, much of the while trying to care for other infants and little ones who all demand 100% of your attention.

Horror? Never said that. Fear, anger that God won't give her a break, frustration at our marriage suffering instead of benefiting spiritually? Yes.

My wife is about to have a full-fledged mental and physical breakdown. This is not horror, this is a VERY real (and reasonable) reaction to our situation.

Oh, and yes....we've tried ALL of your suggestions.
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  #9  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:48 am
PaulinVA PaulinVA is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

I do think that, for now, you have a just reason to postpone further pregnancies, not that you probably care what I think.

My wife and I have used Sympto-Thermal for 18 years to achieve and postpone pregnancy. When we are feeling especially in need of postponing (she's on some bad medicine) we add a day or two or three to the indicated start of Phase III, as an example. Sometimes, no shaving temps. There are conservative rules that you can use, and then add a day or two to, with STM that might allow you to not abstain totally.

So, I think that going really conservative would work for you? Have you tried that?
  #10  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:49 am
GraceDK GraceDK is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

I cannot believe the stuff I see on this thread... Have you all gone nuts?

And the last poster... at least you havent totally lost sanity .. but still.. I quote you:
"Secondly, yes there's a spiritual element. While you try to figure this out, you need to make sure your spiritual life is 100% where it should be so you can see this in perspective and make the right decision. Morning prayer (liturgy of the hours), daily rosary, Mass at least once a week if not more, spiritual reading, etc. You need to give yourself energy in dealing with this, and God is the best place to get it and you need that perspective to decide on the right course of action".

Who is spiritually 100 percent where he should be? Is that the first rule for practising NFP? and what about thatlist of spiritual exercises ... COME ON!

Dulcissima.. concerning your first few lines.. I find your words so condescending and utterly void of charity and empathy.. I'd almost say you need some good spiritual purification for such prideful talk..

You all might end up sending this brother away from the Church with your total lack of empathy. You remind me of the pharisees... what did Jesus tell them:

Oh yes: You put unbearable burdens on people.
  #11  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:51 am
dulcissima dulcissima is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by GraceDK View Post
IOh yes: You put unbearable burdens on people.
Children are not unbearable burdens.
  #12  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:52 am
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jmcrae jmcrae is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

What about day care or babysitting, so that your wife can take a "time out" on a regular basis?

Maybe hire a sitter for 2-3 hours a day, 3-4 days a week, so that she can get a nap, or go shopping, or go out visiting with friends. Are there some older ladies in the neighborhood who have a bit of spare time, who wouldn't mind coming over and watching the kids for a bit?
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  #13  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:52 am
kage_ar kage_ar is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

Does your wife have help to come in and assist with some of the child care duties, cleaning the house, giving her respite time? Over and above her DH pitching in after work, most women need some extra help with that many little ones.

In an earlier time, people lived in big extended families, grandma might be living with you, you had aunts and sisters and in-laws and cousins around to help out. People knew thier neighbors and worked together with them.

Today may are isolated, it sounds as if your wife may be isolated. If you live far from family, could you re-locate to be near a support system? If nothing else, hire someone to come in and be of assistance to your wife.

I'm also sorry you understand your Priest to give answers that are contrairy to Church teaching. Prayers for him!
  #14  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:54 am
strngrnrth strngrnrth is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

Isn't it strange? The very people who get pregnant almost every time are the ones who can't do without sex. Those who see sex as something you have to do to get pregnant never seem to conceive. It's just like how the people who love chocolate ice-cream the most have the slow metabolisms. Whereas the ones who have trouble putting on weight always get too busy to remember to eat.
Which is why we have each other. Lots of people would probably love to foster one or more of your kids for a year or for the summers. maybe a relative? A friend? An elderly childless couple in your community? If you can find such ana rrqangement you will bring breathing space to your family and purpose and love to another household. I wish you the best.
BTW, tubal ligation doesn't always work.
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  #15  
Old Feb 26, '08, 9:56 am
Sina Sina is offline
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Default Re: Church teaching is ruining my marriage

[quote=Magicsilence;3360496]

For what just and grave reason were you using NFP?

QUOTE]

Just so you know, you do not need a "grave" reason to use NFP to avoid. Nowhere does the word " grave" show up. This is a common misconception.
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