Abstinence in marriage


#1

Hey everyone,

My question is pretty short. How much do you usually abstain for? What's a "long" time for you in your marriage?

Thanks and God bless


#2

We abstain during my wifes fertile period and three days after. It works out to be about 10 to 12 days a month. We admittedly give ovulation a wide berth since we are trying to avoid pregnancy.

We abstained for about four months after the birth of our last child.


#3

I clicked on your question because this is a very current issue in my marriage right now. The combination of a temporary medical condition and us taking Church teaching on contraception seriously is requiring my husband and I to abstain from marital relations for a year. Our need to abstain will God willing be over in May when I am done with my medication.

This period of abstinence has been hard and easy at the same time. We love each other, are open to life, and would love to have a large family so we obviously would prefer not to have this prolonged period of abstinence. However, our marriage has not crumbled because of it. (We are 1.75 years in by the way). Sex is a part of marriage, but it does not constitute it. In fact, according to what I have been taught, the sacramental bond of marriage actually occurs in the wedding ceremony when the husband and wife verbally (as is possible - if you can't speak obviously other means are employed) express their present consent to marry each other. It is mind blowing that in this act, the exchanging of words, that God makes two into one! Sex just expresses this sacramental bond. (As an Evangelical Protestant prior to becoming Catholic I had thought that sex was the means for actually making married persons become one flesh.) Therefore a marriage without sex is just as valid - and, I would argue depending on the reasons for abstaining, just as healthy - as one without it. We have just been able to love each other in other ways. We will, however, be quite ready to express our oneness again soon.

Prior to our medical reason to need to abstain we chose to try to give up sex for Lent our first year as Catholics. We weren't perfect. But it was a goal.

Anyway, I give you my story as a means of encouragement. It is possible to abstain and not lose the vitality of your marriage. God bless you as seek to be faithful to what he is calling you to do. .


#4

We always practice continence during my wifes menses, and often during other infertile times also.


#5

We practice the Billings Ovulation Method which usually means abstaining for about 1.5-2 weeks out of the month.


#6

[quote="DoxaPatri, post:1, topic:234897"]
Hey everyone,

My question is pretty short. How much do you usually abstain for? What's a "long" time for you in your marriage?

Thanks and God bless

[/quote]

giggle giggle. We abstain only when I am ovulating, since we wouldn't be heartbroken if baby #2 became more than just a sparkle in daddy's eye. The longest we go ever is like 5 days... we purposely abstain about 2 days a month.... :D

The longest we've gone without was six weeks after our daughter was born. By the end of those six weeks, we were really pushing it too.... I felt ready by the time I was two weeks postpartum.


#7

Thank you all for your answers.

@thepottersclay
As far as I know the marriage is not valid until it is consumed. Words are not enough - as far as I know - to make the sacrament valid. It has to be consumed by the newlyweds in their first marital nuptials.

@themeginthemoon
So 6 weeks after your child's birth you were ready to have another child basically? You honestly were ready - if it was God's Will - to have two children 10 months apart?

God bless


#8

[quote="DoxaPatri, post:7, topic:234897"]
Thank you all for your answers.

@thepottersclay
As far as I know the marriage is not valid until it is consumed. Words are not enough - as far as I know - to make the sacrament valid. It has to be consumed by the newlyweds in their first marital nuptials.

God bless

[/quote]

This is incorrect. Marriage is valid at the time of the vows. Consummation makes it indissoluble.


#9

The longest we ever abstained was during the wait for DH's annulment to go through. It took about 8 months, which seemed like a lifetime and required frequent visits to confession ;).
But as a military wife, we have had to go through months of not just abstinence, but absence. Very difficult.
Still, a loving relationship can continue!


#10

Not sure what the OP is looking for but my answer is 8 years.


#11

[quote="DoxaPatri, post:7, topic:234897"]
Thank you all for your answers.

@thepottersclay
As far as I know the marriage is not valid until it is consumed. Words are not enough - as far as I know - to make the sacrament valid. It has to be consumed by the newlyweds in their first marital nuptials.

@themeginthemoon
So 6 weeks after your child's birth you were ready to have another child basically? You honestly were ready - if it was God's Will - to have two children 10 months apart?

God bless

[/quote]

I was breastfeeding, so definitely not fertile at that time.


#12

We have to abstain about two weeks out of every month.

Susan


#13

Outside of the six weeks after each of our five children, the longest has been 3 weeks. Routinely, we abstain during her fertile cycle that lasts about 12 - 16 days.


#14

We abstain for about two years at a time. And yes that is a very very long time for us. I dont know about my husband but personally I think more then a few monthes is a long time to abstain. But in our marriage two years seems to be the ultimate “breaking” point so to speak.


#15

6 weeks after both children, 2 weeks a month during the 3 months we were trying to avoid conception. My husband works nights so sometime it can get close to a week in between times. We try not to let it go that long, but sometimes the children, homework, tiredness, etc. don't allow for it. (I am breastfeeding and infertile right now).


#16

We had to abstain for 6 weeks after the birth of my son. When my daughter was born, I had some complications with healing from it, so we ended up abstaining for 10 weeks. On a regular basis, though, we abstain about two weeks each cycle, since we're not trying to conceive at this time.


#17

[quote="Calliso, post:14, topic:234897"]
We abstain for about two years at a time. And yes that is a very very long time for us. I dont know about my husband but personally I think more then a few monthes is a long time to abstain. But in our marriage two years seems to be the ultimate "breaking" point so to speak.

[/quote]

I hope its not too personal to ask, but do you abstain for child spacing or prayer or for another reason? Two years at a time would seem difficult but thats great that God gives you both the strength and self control to do that.


#18

[quote="thepottersclay, post:17, topic:234897"]
I hope its not too personal to ask, but do you abstain for child spacing or prayer or for another reason? Two years at a time would seem difficult but thats great that God gives you both the strength and self control to do that.

[/quote]

well I wish I could say it was for prayer both me and my husband could use a little more God in our lives if you know what I mean. The basic reason is because we donlt want kids. And there are other issues too. I realize now too I probably should also say that this is not NFP related or anything. Donlt want anyone thinking NFP can make you abstain that long!!>>> AHHHHHH! :P And the two year timeline is kinda a rough estimate of mine. I donlt keep track.


#19

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