Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Catholic Living > Family Life
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Aug 27, '12, 12:22 pm
mdValentini mdValentini is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2011
Posts: 6
Religion: Catholic?
Default When NFP is hurting our marriage

Right up front I want to say I am seeking help. I know NFP is a touchy topic and emotions run high. I am looking for some possible solutions.

A little background and then the question...

I have been married 6 years to my wonderful wife. We have 2 boys, 2 years and 5 months and our third is watching us from heaven.

We have used NFP since the day we were married and charted nearly every month.

The physical intimacy has been a struggle in our marriage since day 1. The first 6 months of marriage I was finishing school and my wife was traveling 3 days a week. During that time we used NFP to "delay" children until we moved. We moved when I graduated. At that time we stopped abstaining at any time of the month and have not abstained any time since until a month or so ago.

We are going through some very rough times right now. We have been in counseling with a great person for 4 years or so.

Here is the hard part. For the last six years we average about 2-3 times of physical intimacy a month. Now that we are spacing our fourth child and only being intimate when she is less likely to become pregnant we are drifting farther apart. As our charts show, as soon as she is not fertile we don't have sex anymore that month until right before she starts again. Our 2-3 times, which was less than I would have liked before is now down to 1 or none.

I am frustrated because the time of abstinence is supposed to help draw us closer so when we are able to have sex we want to. But the opposite is happening. We desire each other when she is fertile and her desire stops when she is not fertile. It actually hurts for her to have sex the second half of the month. We have been to doctors about that over the 6 years as well. We have tired many different solutions but so far none of them have worked.

I know Catholic is right but how can it be that in a time where we are having such a rough patch, have followed the Church teaching for our marriage, are working with a Catholic therapist, and are in good standing with the Church that NFP is actually pushing us further apart? We are having the opposite effect that everyone claims while using NFP. We like each other less and are fighting more when we are actually trying to work on being closer as a couple.

Thanks in advance.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Aug 27, '12, 12:33 pm
abstract123 abstract123 is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: August 27, 2012
Posts: 13
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdValentini View Post
Right up front I want to say I am seeking help. I know NFP is a touchy topic and emotions run high. I am looking for some possible solutions.

A little background and then the question...

I have been married 6 years to my wonderful wife. We have 2 boys, 2 years and 5 months and our third is watching us from heaven.

We have used NFP since the day we were married and charted nearly every month.

The physical intimacy has been a struggle in our marriage since day 1. The first 6 months of marriage I was finishing school and my wife was traveling 3 days a week. During that time we used NFP to "delay" children until we moved. We moved when I graduated. At that time we stopped abstaining at any time of the month and have not abstained any time since until a month or so ago.

We are going through some very rough times right now. We have been in counseling with a great person for 4 years or so.

Here is the hard part. For the last six years we average about 2-3 times of physical intimacy a month. Now that we are spacing our fourth child and only being intimate when she is less likely to become pregnant we are drifting farther apart. As our charts show, as soon as she is not fertile we don't have sex anymore that month until right before she starts again. Our 2-3 times, which was less than I would have liked before is now down to 1 or none.

I am frustrated because the time of abstinence is supposed to help draw us closer so when we are able to have sex we want to. But the opposite is happening. We desire each other when she is fertile and her desire stops when she is not fertile. It actually hurts for her to have sex the second half of the month. We have been to doctors about that over the 6 years as well. We have tired many different solutions but so far none of them have worked.

I know Catholic is right but how can it be that in a time where we are having such a rough patch, have followed the Church teaching for our marriage, are working with a Catholic therapist, and are in good standing with the Church that NFP is actually pushing us further apart? We are having the opposite effect that everyone claims while using NFP. We like each other less and are fighting more when we are actually trying to work on being closer as a couple.

Thanks in advance.
I feel your pain too. I'm in sort of a similar situation. A woman's libido increases when she is fertile. It's just human nature. It's not hurting our marriage yet, but I feel that it may in the future. I know that abstaining gets you closer to your spouse and sex shouldn't mean "everything" but it's something that both my wife and I enjoy. Why should we have to stop doing something we enjoy? I don't have any answers for you, but you are not alone. I will pray for you.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Aug 27, '12, 12:46 pm
The Bucket's Avatar
The Bucket The Bucket is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2009
Posts: 2,621
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Why shouldn't people who are not married have sex? Why shouldn't you just use condoms? Why shouldn't you just go get sterilized? I mean, it's something you enjoy, right? Why not just enjoy it?

I know that will sound snarkier than intended (it was, however, intended to be somewhat snarky) but the message is a real one.

I don't buy for a second that simply abstaining brings the spouses closer to one another. That's absolute nonsense. It's the mindset that matters. If you're just abstaining to avoid pregnancy and you or your spouse are annoyed by it, you're not going to get anything out of it. If you both prayerfully consider it and realize you cannot deal with another pregnancy at this time, you CAN become closer during those times of abstinence but really only through prayer.

Sex is for procreation and for bonding. You become emotionally closer to your spouse through sex, provided of course you're not using one another or there's not other stuff going on. Assuming a healthy Christian attitude, you're bonding through sex. This is God's plan.

You can become closer to your spouse when needing to abstain but you're becoming closer because you're recognizing that you're sacrificing for some reason. Finances. Health. Whatever. You're growing in the virtues of temperance and self-discipline. If your marriage is ordered properly, and I assume it is, you're becoming closer to each other because you're becoming closer to God by building virtue.

Just abstaining and bearing with the issue ain't gonna help you get closer. Sometimes you can just grit your teeth and get through it and there's no ill effects. Other times it causes major problems. This is where constant communication and prayer becomes key.
__________________
Your friendly and convenient high-powered flamethrower for use against inanity and trolling.
"If I die, I'm with Jesus. If I live, I'm with Jesus. Either way, I win."
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Aug 27, '12, 1:35 pm
SonCatcher SonCatcher is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 30, 2010
Posts: 6,033
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

During the times when you are abstaining, you should be "dating". That is, continue to court each other as you did before marriage.
__________________
-John
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Aug 27, '12, 1:37 pm
teresadeavila teresadeavila is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 16, 2011
Posts: 138
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

6 doctors and still no answer to why it hurts her to have sex the second half of the month? Wow, I will pray for both of you. 4 years of counseling - not sure why you both needed this and for this length of time esp. only after 2 yrs of marriage, but perhaps the problems in your marriage are at the root of the lack of intimacy problems, not NFP. We've been through counseling and Retrouvaille, and it has done wonders for our marriage - every day is an effort to make it work though.

You mentioned "liking each other less" and "fighting more often" using NFP. I highly doubt that slipping on a condom (which they can break very easily) or taking a contraceptive pill will cure those problems. Sex, while it can be perfect for bringing the much needed intimacy in a marriage or even help get over anger or frustration (ie makeup sex), feeling connected and loved by your spouse begins before you get to the bedroom - it's a mindset.

Perhaps you can bring the lack of intimacy up during counseling sessions...or perhaps you need a new counselor.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Aug 27, '12, 2:05 pm
jilly4ski jilly4ski is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2008
Posts: 4,209
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdValentini View Post
We have used NFP since the day we were married and charted nearly every month.

The physical intimacy has been a struggle in our marriage since day 1. The first 6 months of marriage I was finishing school and my wife was traveling 3 days a week. During that time we used NFP to "delay" children until we moved. We moved when I graduated. At that time we stopped abstaining at any time of the month and have not abstained any time since until a month or so ago.

We are going through some very rough times right now. We have been in counseling with a great person for 4 years or so.

Here is the hard part. For the last six years we average about 2-3 times of physical intimacy a month. Now that we are spacing our fourth child and only being intimate when she is less likely to become pregnant we are drifting farther apart. As our charts show, as soon as she is not fertile we don't have sex anymore that month until right before she starts again. Our 2-3 times, which was less than I would have liked before is now down to 1 or none.


Thanks in advance.
So from reading your post, I don't think NFP is your problem. It shows that you have not been happy or satisfied with your level of intimacy even while not avoiding pregnancy. I too will question the 4 years of counseling; (you don't have to answer me, but might want to ponder) Is it helping your marriage?

Some practicals: Think back to the time when you were dating your wife, what did you do then and which of those things can you incorporate into you marriage now.

At 5 months postpartum your wife could be very nervous about having another child and just plain stressed, making her more irritable and making it harder to get in the mood. (Thus leading to dryness and pain). If she is breastfeeding the changing hormones might be causing it as well.

So a) see a doctor, preferably an NFP or Napro trained doctor, also check on nutritional fixes, I hear Marilyn Shannon's Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition is a good one http://www.amazon.com/Fertility-Cycl.../dp/0926412345
b) Look into different NFP methods.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Aug 27, '12, 2:13 pm
agapewolf agapewolf is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: November 5, 2006
Posts: 3,624
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Wait....ONE MONTH of practicing NFP to avoid pregnancy and your marriage is hurt by it?

It's not NFP that is hurting your marriage.

What are you doing to pursue her in other ways? Why do you treat each other differently if you're not engaging in the marital act? Etc.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Aug 27, '12, 2:22 pm
teresadeavila teresadeavila is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 16, 2011
Posts: 138
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by agapewolf View Post
Wait....ONE MONTH of practicing NFP to avoid pregnancy and your marriage is hurt by it?

It's not NFP that is hurting your marriage.

What are you doing to pursue her in other ways? Why do you treat each other differently if you're not engaging in the marital act? Etc.
OP clearly stated they've been practicing NFP since the day they were married, not just 1 month. They chart nearly each month. Please read posts carefully before you, um, jump down their throats.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Aug 27, '12, 2:49 pm
mdValentini mdValentini is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2011
Posts: 6
Religion: Catholic?
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by teresadeavila View Post
6 doctors and still no answer to why it hurts her to have sex the second half of the month? Wow, I will pray for both of you. 4 years of counseling - not sure why you both needed this and for this length of time esp. only after 2 yrs of marriage, but perhaps the problems in your marriage are at the root of the lack of intimacy problems, not NFP. We've been through counseling and Retrouvaille, and it has done wonders for our marriage - every day is an effort to make it work though.

You mentioned "liking each other less" and "fighting more often" using NFP. I highly doubt that slipping on a condom (which they can break very easily) or taking a contraceptive pill will cure those problems. Sex, while it can be perfect for bringing the much needed intimacy in a marriage or even help get over anger or frustration (ie makeup sex), feeling connected and loved by your spouse begins before you get to the bedroom - it's a mindset.

Perhaps you can bring the lack of intimacy up during counseling sessions...or perhaps you need a new counselor.

No doubt there are other issues in our marriage which we have been working on and have made a ton of progress. To address the 4 years of counseling we have been to 5 different people over the 4 years. The first 4 were not helping and suggesting annulment. I have grounds for that but don't want to go down that road. The 5th person has been wonderful and we have been with them for about a year and a half. It is not every week but roughly 2-3 times a month we see that person.

I would agree that there are other issues but the combination of other issues, a lack of desire when she is not fertile and pain during the infertile time of the month is hard to work through.

It feels like there is no other option.

We have tried multiple therapists, counselors, retreats, female doctors, diets and there seems to be no progress. I'm not perfect but I "date" her all the time. This last weekend I went for a hike with her and listened and asked thoughtful questions for 3 hours, went to a charity walk with her, cleaned the house on my days off and treated her to dinner. She told me that was an amazing weekend and she had a blast. I'm not doing all that for sex but because I love her. As soon as I even mentioned that I might want to be intimate she shut down because she said she was afraid she wouldn't be able to because of the pain and that she wasn't turned on.

I'm tired of feeling like I'm the bad guy for wanting to have sex with my wife. I have bonded with and dated her everyday for the last 6 years. I hear that all the time. You may disagree but I think that I am coming at this with a genuine heart and desire to have a wonderful marriage, support my wife but I also would like to have more frequent sex. What about these statistics that say couples who use NFP have more sex than those who use birth control?

I am having a hard time with the Catholic Church right now. It seems that I am being told that I can get an annulment (I have been told by Catholic counselors, priests and higher ups in the Church I could do because of our issue with sex), live in a nearly chaste marriage, or leave the church and use other birth control.

Does anyone have any other priestly or otherwise resources that I could bounce this off?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Aug 27, '12, 3:23 pm
SonCatcher SonCatcher is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 30, 2010
Posts: 6,033
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdValentini View Post
We have tried multiple therapists, counselors, retreats, female doctors, diets and there seems to be no progress. I'm not perfect but I "date" her all the time. This last weekend I went for a hike with her and listened and asked thoughtful questions for 3 hours, went to a charity walk with her, cleaned the house on my days off and treated her to dinner. She told me that was an amazing weekend and she had a blast. I'm not doing all that for sex but because I love her. As soon as I even mentioned that I might want to be intimate she shut down because she said she was afraid she wouldn't be able to because of the pain and that she wasn't turned on.
This makes me wonder whether there is "pain" other than the physical sort in play. She might not have any conscious memory, but I'm wondering whether there was any abuse in her past.

Even if there are no other emotional issues, it is possible that there is an unexplained physical problem. A relative of my wife apparently would have tears every time she had intercourse. The strain on her marriage was tremendous.
__________________
-John
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old Aug 27, '12, 3:29 pm
agapewolf agapewolf is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: November 5, 2006
Posts: 3,624
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by teresadeavila View Post
OP clearly stated they've been practicing NFP since the day they were married, not just 1 month. They chart nearly each month. Please read posts carefully before you, um, jump down their throats.
I did NOT jump down anyone's throat. I read it clearly. I asked a question to clarify. They charted since they were married, they've only used it to abstain recently for one month. It says here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdValentini View Post
R

The physical intimacy has been a struggle in our marriage since day 1. The first 6 months of marriage I was finishing school and my wife was traveling 3 days a week. During that time we used NFP to "delay" children until we moved. We moved when I graduated. At that time we stopped abstaining at any time of the month and have not abstained any time since until a month or so ago.

e.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old Aug 27, '12, 3:30 pm
oldcatholicguy oldcatholicguy is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: August 21, 2012
Posts: 3,276
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

There are other ways to be intimate with your wife. My wife considers us watching TV together at night after the kids are asleep as intimate time. Focus on emotional intimacy and the physical intimacy will sort itself out.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old Aug 27, '12, 3:45 pm
Debora123 Debora123 is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: October 22, 2010
Posts: 7,734
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdValentini View Post
I know Catholic is right but how can it be that in a time where we are having such a rough patch, have followed the Church teaching for our marriage, are working with a Catholic therapist, and are in good standing with the Church that NFP is actually pushing us further apart? We are having the opposite effect that everyone claims while using NFP. We like each other less and are fighting more when we are actually trying to work on being closer as a couple.
We too had the opposite effects of what NFP claimed.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old Aug 27, '12, 5:06 pm
ABEACHGIRL ABEACHGIRL is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: July 20, 2012
Posts: 72
Religion: CATHOLIC
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

I agree that it is NOT NFP that is hurting your marriage. If you have been in counseling for 4 years, you should have seen results by now. There is a different type of counseling that is solution based/oriented. You may want to find someone who specializes in this, so you and your wife see results. You mention a lack of sex right from the beginning of your marriage, so it does not seem like NFP is to blame. Work travel & school may have been excuses not to have sex. Maybe your libidos are not in sync and that is the actual problem.

When using NFP you can certainly have sex more than 2-3 times per month. You mentioned something about having sex when she is "less likely" to become pregnant. All that is required is to abstain from sex when a woman is ovulating. It is very easy to determine these times., typically about 3-4 days a month to insure sperm is not still present when the egg is released. So even if your wife has a long period, that still leaves about 2 1/2 weeks a month for sex, although some people do engage in sex during a woman's period. Also, you can be intimate without intercourse at any time of the month.

Sometimes people with young children shift their focus from one another to the children and drift apart. Think about whether or not this is true for you two. Sometimes people do not even realize they are doing it. Your children need to see a strong and healthy marriage, so improving it would benefit you and them.

It seems like you are thinking of ways to improve your marriage and that is admirable. Many men and women do not do this until it is too late. I hope everything works out for you. Your desire to work on things will be a tremendous benefit.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old Aug 27, '12, 5:10 pm
TrueLight's Avatar
TrueLight TrueLight is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2011
Posts: 9,954
Religion: Roman Catholic- Old Rite & Daughter of Dominic
Default Re: When NFP is hurting our marriage

I haven't looked at NFP too closely because it is not relevant to my life right now, but I'm wondering, how many days are "safe days" on average?
__________________


HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM
Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Catholic Living > Family Life

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8481Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: SueZee
5154CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: UpUpAndAway
4429Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: daughterstm
4037OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: eschator83
3864SOLITUDE
Last by: Prairie Rose
3764Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: DesertSister62
3334Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel
3288Poems and Reflections
Last by: tonyg
3227Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: Rifester
3118For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: SueZee



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 4:58 am.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.