OK. . . as the story indicates below, I’ve been thinking deeply about this for years. I’ve tried to be brief, but it is still long. You may want to go to the bottom and read my question first. Then if you want come back and read the background info. Thanks for your help.
Background: When my wife and I met, I was non-religious and she was a lapsed Catholic. I had been baptized previously, so we arranged to get married in the Catholic Church to please her parents. After our second child, I had a vasectomy in 2000. At the time, I remember telling her, “I don’t care if I go through with this, but you do know this is against your religion, right?” Her answer was something along the lines of, “Yeah, so let’s get it done now, in case you convert and can’t do it later.”
Sure enough, in 2003 I joined the Church. About a year after that, I began to really learn and understand more about the Church’s teaching on sexuality and why contraception is evil. Since that time, I have struggled with living with a vasectomy. My wife, however, won’t even discuss the issue or try to understand what I am feeling. I have talked to two priests about it. One said not to worry about it - that it’s over, repented, and forgiven. The other said that while the operation may be over, I am still living my life every day. As such, I should do my best to convince my wife to allow having the vasectomy reversed or, at a minimum, use NFP as a way of acting as though this had not happened - sort of a combination of penance and just doing what we should have been doing anyway.
I have tried to justify our sex life in a number of ways. . . “It is better to submit to my wife and save my marriage than to be insistent and drive her away.” “A husband does not have authority over his body, but rather his wife. (1 Cor 7:4)” “The sin has been confessed and forgiven - I should stop being scrupulous about it.” etc. I even went to the diocese psychiatrist/psychologist (I’m not sure which, or what the difference is) for 1 session, but I could tell immediately that I wasn’t going to get any trustworthy advice from her. Now, after ~5 years, I have never felt 100% at ease about how we’ve been living.
In recent months, I have heard/read several things that brought the issue to a head. . . (1) “Although God does want us to evangelize/convert others, of primary importance is our own relationship with God. We should work on our own holiness first before we say anything to others about how they should change. (‘Remove the beam from your own eye first. . .’)” (2) “We cannot do evil so that good may result. The ends do not justify the means.” and (3) “One’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother [or spouse?] more than me, is not worthy of me. (Matt 10:37)”
Present Problem: **In the end, I became convinced that we needed to do one of three things - either reverse the vasectomy, live as though I didn’t have the vasectomy, or stop having sex. I decided last night to try talking to my wife about this. Based on her attitude during prior conversations on this, I didn’t expect the conversation to go well, but you can’t just stop having sex without explaining why. So I went for it. . . Her responses were immediate and adamant. . . “That is the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard. . . Why would I want more kids, I didn’t even want the ones I got. . . NFP is just as unnatural as contraception. . . Go ahead and reverse the vasectomy, but I’m getting fixed. There’s no way I’m having any more kids. [to which I replied that I wouldn’t consent to sex if she did that] . . . What’s the point of being married if you can’t have sex. . . Tomorrow I’m filing for divorce.”
By coincidence (providence?) I was reading 1 Corinthians 7 this morning. Verses 12 & 15 state, “If any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she is willing to go on living with him, he should not divorce her. . . If the unbeliever separates, however, let [her] separate. The brother or sister is not bound in such cases.” I don’t mean to call my wife an “unbeliever,” but at least on the subject of sexual morality she has strong opinions in opposition to Church teaching. Based on this, I thought that maybe I should just let her go instead of trying to convince her to stay.
But then further on in verses 17-20 Paul goes on, “Everyone should live. . . just as God called each one. . . Was someone called after he had been circumcised? He should not try to undo his circumcision. . . Everyone should remain in the state in which he was called.” Reading this makes me think that I really should consider the matter resolved and over and stop trying to undo the past.