Abstinence in Marriage?


#1

I was just curious how many people are in the practice of abstaining from marital relations, for how long, and for what reasons.

I think it could be a beneficial practice if done for the right reasons (i.e. not to prevent the birth of children unless for grave reasons).

Personally, I think that the same kind of abstinence in which young Tobias and Sara partook would build up a marriage and bring husband and wife together under God, helping them keep Christ at the center of their married lives.

Please answer the poll and leave a post to explain your choice.

Thank-you and God bless,

Agricola


#2

I haven’t been married long but I would not rule out abstaining during lent to prepare prayerfully for the resurrection. At this point, we have not abstained purposely yet, but we have discussed it before the marriage since sexual problems were present in both our previous marriages (mine and his) I wanted to be sure we weren’t going to have similar problems as we both had before. We both agreed before we married that we would persue an active prayer life together once we were married and together on a daily basis. Actually, this is what convinced me that this was the man for me. As far as I am concerned abstaining to pray is the only reason that one could willingly abstain…meaning that we are both willingly choosing this not as a result of a medical condition.


#3

Other good reasons: Undue pressure on a spouse to “perform” when it simply is not possible (not cut off affection, but sometimes the marital embrace ain’t happenin’, and can’t be forced); the flu or other communicable disease; severe sleep deprivation; being in the “wrong” place.


#4

[quote=Agricola]I think it could be a beneficial practice if done for the right reasons (i.e. not to prevent the birth of children unless for grave reasons).
[/quote]

“Grave reasons” are not the Church’s criteria. Couples may delay having children for serious reasons, which is a less strict category.

– Mark L. Chance.


#5

[quote=mlchance]“Grave reasons” are not the Church’s criteria. Couples may delay having children for serious reasons, which is a less strict category.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

How do you figure? :ehh:

If we are being exact, then “delay” is not correct terminology either. We should be using “avoid… for the time being or indefinitely” (Evangelium Vitae 97).

Grave adj. 1 Of momentus import; solemn; important. 2 Serious, as in mind, manner, or speech…

Serious adj. 1 Grave and earnest in quality, feeling, or disposition; thoughtful; sober. 2 Said, planned, or done with full practical intent; not jesting or making a false pretense. 3 Of grave inportance; weighty; attended with considerable danger or loss; as, a serious matter, a serious accident…

(Funk & Wagnalls New Practical Standard Dictionary)

As the dictionary says, “grave” means “serious”. The Church requires us to be “generously open to new life” (EV 97), perhaps we shouldn’t be looking for ways out. This, especially after considering the statement: “The trivialization of sexuality is among the principal factors which have led to contempt for new life” (EV 97). It may not be easy to accept Church teaching on something, but Christian life is hard.

God bless,

Agricola


#6

You are supposed to abstain from all flesh on the days of fast and abstinence.


#7

[quote=Agricola]How do you figure? :ehh:
[/quote]

I don’t figure. The Church does. From *Humanae Vitae *(emphasis added):With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time (HV 10; source).

From the CCC (emphasis added):

A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons [a lower standard in moral theology that both “serious” and “grave reasons”], spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:

When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart (CCC 2368).

[quote=Agricola]As the dictionary says, “grave” means “serious”.
[/quote]

The dictionary is not a compendium of Catholic teaching or Catholic terminology.

– Mark L. Chance.


#8

When I was a Catholic I practiced NFP, but ceased doing so upon leaving the church. It was not one of the factors that led to my leaving the church.

We did not practice abstinence for any reason other than to space children.

cheddar


#9

We abstain during her period cause she won’t consider it then. We abstain if there are overnight visitors cause she won’t consider it then. We abstain if she is upset cause she won’t consider it then. Etc.


#10

[quote=mlchance]I don’t figure. The Church does. From *Humanae Vitae *(emphasis added):With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time (HV 10; source).

From the CCC (emphasis added):

A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons [a lower standard in moral theology that both “serious” and “grave reasons”], spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:

When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart (CCC 2368).

The dictionary is not a compendium of Catholic teaching or Catholic terminology.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

This is all very well… but nowhere in any of the documents you’ve sited does it ever make a qualitative distinction between gravity, seriousness, and justice. Where are you getting this from? Let’s try not to confuse things unnecessarily, okay? Whether you disagree with the English language or not, the fact of the matter doesn’t change. The reasons must be “serious”. There’s no loop-hole, and messing with the understanding of common words doesn’t help anyone. The encyclicals (which, by the way, were written not for theologians, but for all members of the Church) do not attempt to confuse people by changing the meanings of words, so neither should we.


#11

By the way… “just reason” is the same as “serious reason” because the requirement of “serious reason” by the Church is just. The “lower standard” is imagined, not real. Does the Church contradict itself by using a term with a different “standard in moral theology” in reference to the same thing? Not a chance!

God bless,

Agricola


#12

[quote=tiny’smommy]You are supposed to abstain from all flesh on the days of fast and abstinence.
[/quote]

Really? I didn’t know that (toabstain from relations) was part of fast regulations. Is this from the catechism, or…?

You learn something new every day. :slight_smile:


#13

[quote=Celia]Really? I didn’t know that (toabstain from relations) was part of fast regulations. Is this from the catechism, or…?

You learn something new every day. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Neither was I aware of this. Some references would be nice. :slight_smile:

God bless,

Agricola


#14

[quote=Celia]Really? I didn’t know that (toabstain from relations) was part of fast regulations. Is this from the catechism, or…?

You learn something new every day. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

But, one should really learn only what is true and correct.


#15

My hubby is a truck driver. He’s gone 5-6 days at a time so we abstain then and whoop it up when he gets home! lol.

Amie


#16

[quote=CuriousInIL]But, one should really learn only what is true and correct.
[/quote]

Yes, I’m wondering where this comes from. I did a quick search on couple sites for regulations for days of fasting and I didn’t see this mentioned. :hmmm:


#17

I had prostrate cancer surgery just over a year ago and it left me in the state of being an eunuch.


#18

greetings agricola,

My DH and I use NFP to abstain when I’m fertile bc I have serious health problems…I was just diagnosed after my stroke with a blood clotting disorder that’s very dangerous. I was informed by all of my doctors that if I were to become pregnant, I would be considered a very high risk & a pregnancy could kill me.

Yes, I’m saddened bc we really wanted children but I look at the positive thiings in life…a great husband, support system from my family and friends, & the fact that I have wonderful nieces and nephews (ranging from 1 yr - 8 yrs) to sugar up and then send them back to their folks. :smiley:

NFP is the best thing ever and it can be used by anyone w/a serious illness. Too bad some og/byns don’t tell their pts.about it since there are no side effects and it’s safe unlike the pill which can cause clots, stroke, and interfere with other medications.

God bless,
Lisa


#19

Dear Lisa,

I’m glad to hear that NFP is working for you and your husband. It is too bad that you are unable to have children, but maybe some prayer will help with that. Is your blood-clotting disorder permanent?

It is for people in your situation that the Church in her wisdom provides the option of NFP. No doubt it is at the same time a great sacrifice and a great consolation.

I’ll pray a novena to St Joseph in hopes of a cure for you. He hasn’t let me down yet, and he just happens to be the patron of pregnant women, among other things. :wink:

God bless,

Agricola


#20

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