Can abstinence be observed within marriage?


My wife and I have been married for 22 years and have been blessed with 5 children (ages 2 to 17). We have been following the Church’s teaching regarding NFP. In the last 6 months my wife has started to have irregular cycles which has made using NFP very challenging. She is 44-years old and her doctor has said she may be starting perimenopause. We have decided in prayer, and in discussion with each other, that we are content with having 5 children. We have ruled out the use of birth control and sterilization, and have agreed to use abstinence until she goes through menopause. What does the Church say about couples agreeing to use abstinence for certain periods of time? We both view human sexuality as a gift. Is this considered a form of fasting and prayer? Can we offer this up for the conversion of others? What are your thoughts?

Thank you!


Hi Mike,

Yes to everything. I think such a gesture is quite edifying. What are they feeding you there in Iowa?

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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