Celibate & Married (NFP)


#1

Hello friends

I will try to give the short version to start off:

My wife and I have been married for 12 years and have two children age 6 and 3 - after the birth of our second child, my wife decided to abandon NFP - she will not have sex unless I use a condom - we are both Catholic converts, she 5 years after me - we took the NFP classes together - when she did use NFP, I did all the charting - all she had to do was take the temps each morning, but now she refuses to do that - A couple years ago, I even bought her a new thermometer that is much quicker (her excuse before was that it took too long in the mornings), but she hasn't used it once.

Now it has been 3 1/2 years and we have sex only once, about 2 years ago - and she regretted that right away, worried so much about getting pregnant again ( we are both almost 40) - even though it was right before her period and I knew that she was well past her ovulation time and thus, in her infertile time - she doesn't trust NFP - the pill makes her sick - she pressures me to use a condom, but I won't budge due to the Church's clear teaching on the matter - I explain to her that condoms aren't 100% either, plus all the other moral issues, we've discussed this so much, she knows the reasons - then I get painted as the one who is refusing her sex.

She seems resolved to never have sex again if I don't use a condom (she has said as much to me) and I am resolved to not use a condom and commit sin -

I've asked advice from a couple priests and I got the same answer: I am to live as a celibate within my marriage - honestly, what other option is there, despite my intense desire for sexual intimacy?:

1) find someone else to have sex with on the side: SIN
2) indulge in internet porn: SIN
3) masturbate: SIN
4) divorce her and find someone new: SIN
5) offer up this suffering and live as a celibate, while Iiving and sharing a bed with my wife:

Of course this last one is the only moral option for a faithful Catholic - but I have offered it up for over 3 1/2 years - it is quite a heavy cross to bear - I find myself taking notice of attractive females more when I am out, and I know that it is because I am being sexually starved at home, on purpose, rejected - I am self-aware that I am hungry for physical affection and sexual intimacy, and that is a dangerous situation for a man to be in entering mid-life.

She says that I am a wonderful husband - that is, when she is not lashing out in rage at me for various unpreditable reasons - I do a great deal of the cleaning, cooking and child care when I am home in the evenings and weekends (she is a stay at home mom) - I won't get into all that, but I know that I pull my load and more, but get no respect and, of course, no sex.

I have talked with her until the subject is very sore and only makes her angry when I bring it up, so I have stopped that tactic - I pray for her - I am resolved to stay - I do not engage in any sexually illicit activity - I am trying to be patient

Anyone have any other thoughts or insights?
thanks,
---john


#2

I don't know what to say except that I will pray for you.


#3

Have you all been to counseling at all? That's the only thing that comes to my mind...

I was reading your post and just thinking... what in the world does she DO? :shrug:
She stays home (you didn't mention homeschooling, so your girls are old enough to attend school during the day), she doesn't clean, cook, or care for the children...
Is she depressed?
Does she have a physical illness that is keeping her from being more active and able?
I mean, I know there are legitimate excuses, but simply taken at face value all these points add up to an image that seems rather... selfish and lazy. :o
I just couldn't imagine treating my husband like that... if she says she loves you, she needs to put some of that into ACTION... PROVE it a little! This may require counseling to see if there is an underlying ISSUE preventing her from actually showing her love.

Just my initial thoughts taking your post at face value.


#4

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:3, topic:238663"]
Have you all been to counseling at all? That's the only thing that comes to my mind...

I was reading your post and just thinking... what in the world does she DO? :shrug:
She stays home (you didn't mention homeschooling, so your girls are old enough to attend school during the day), she doesn't clean, cook, or care for the children...
Is she depressed?
Does she have a physical illness that is keeping her from being more active and able?
I mean, I know there are legitimate excuses, but simply taken at face value all these points add up to an image that seems rather... selfish and lazy. :o

[/quote]

One word: Facebook

Early on, I confronted her excessive facebook usage, but that went terribly - it was like trying to deny someone access to their drug of choice - it's a terrible addiction - now I don't say much - I just come home and start cleaning the kitchen so we can eat, then cook dinner, call her and the kids to the table, then clean up dinner, play with the kids some, give them baths, and put them to bed - she never gives them baths, while I'm in there, guess where she is? facebook-land.

She went to therapy for a few times, for anxiety disorder and depression - she sabotaged that and now writes off going to another - I found her a nearby Christian therapist who takes our insurance, but she will not call - she had been getting on me for not being supportive and not trying to find her a new therapist - well, I did, and she won't call

She is definitely depressed, and she told me the other day that she feels "so alone" - I remarked that she has 500 facebook friends, how can she feel so alone? (sarcasm I know) - I told her I don't even have that. I hug her, I give her a kiss - I treat her with kindness - I let a whole lot go without comment - she never cooks dinner - once she picked up a pizza on the way home and she seemed to want a mother of the year award - I heard about that for a few days, she said that "that was big for me" - congratulations


#5

Is there perhaps a safe anaphrodisiac that a man like you can use to eliminate unwanted sexual desires? That is the one thing that comes to mind in all of the threads involving abstinence in marriage.

Perhaps you can focus on techniques to eliminate your libido. Prayer, exercise, tobacco, certain herbs and supplements can all go a long way to blunt or eliminate sexual desire. With as unwanted as sexual desire is for many catholics I'm surprised there isn't any focus on how to eliminate it from your life.


#6

I have some experience in a similar situation(but for somewhat different reasons), being in a continent marriage (that doesn’t have to be) for the last 8-10 years (also under age 40). My advice is to continue to love her as your wife. Do all the right things, followers dishes etc. You will not convince her with words, only right actions.

As far as temptation goes, stay away from all impure materials. You may have to be careful how you interact with your wife as well. Stay in the same bed of course, but exercise more modesty than you would if valid relations were available. Don’t dwell on the idea that you are “missing out” that will not lead to anything good. Concentrate on overcoming this challenge for the Lord, whether be by changing your wife’s beliefs or by remaining pure and true under challenging conditions.


#7

I have found safe outlets do direct the drive - creative enterprises, like writing, playing the guitar - even swinging an ax at an old tree stump outside :slight_smile: I’ve been studying and feeding my mind, history, philosophy, literature, and indulging in some innocent hobbies - which help to keep my mind occupied -

it’s sad, but I found myself, as sort of compromise for not searching for porn, instead searching for pics on flickr of “happy girls smiling”, just to see some smiling female faces for a change - I realize that that’s pretty pathetic, but I do think the male mind at times needs such input - and it isn’t porn


#8

[quote="johndelacruz, post:4, topic:238663"]
One word: Facebook

Early on, I confronted her excessive facebook usage, but that went terribly - it was like trying to deny someone access to their drug of choice - it's a terrible addiction - now I don't say much - I just come home and start cleaning the kitchen so we can eat, then cook dinner, call her and the kids to the table, then clean up dinner, play with the kids some, give them baths, and put them to bed - she never gives them baths, while I'm in there, guess where she is? facebook-land.

She went to therapy for a few times, for anxiety disorder and depression - she sabotaged that and now writes off going to another - I found her a nearby Christian therapist who takes our insurance, but she will not call - she had been getting on me for not being supportive and not trying to find her a new therapist - well, I did, and she won't call

She is definitely depressed, and she told me the other day that she feels "so alone" - I remarked that she has 500 facebook friends, how can she feel so alone? (sarcasm I know) - I told her I don't even have that. I hug her, I give her a kiss - I treat her with kindness - I let a whole lot go without comment - she never cooks dinner - once she picked up a pizza on the way home and she seemed to want a mother of the year award - I heard about that for a few days, she said that "that was big for me" - congratulations

[/quote]

WHOA... yeah, that's a problem.

Now, I enjoy facebook very much... but heck, I work full time, pregnant with our 4th, and my husband doesn't get home from work until 9:30pm (which means I do everything with the kids - homework, cooking, cleaning, baths, bedtime... yup, everything). I'm allowed to sit down and enjoy a little facebook time after that. :p (not to mention - I'm normally the on to initiate relations ;) )

Honestly - you HAVE to address that problem. HEAD ON. You're allowing this to happen. Shut off the internet... period. She's acting like a child and almost needs to be treated like one. I highly recommend YOU get some counseling on how to handle this appropriately... but something NEEDS to change.


#9

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:8, topic:238663"]
WHOA... yeah, that's a problem.

Now, I enjoy facebook very much... but heck, I work full time, pregnant with our 4th, and my husband doesn't get home from work until 9:30pm (which means I do everything with the kids - homework, cooking, cleaning, baths, bedtime... yup, everything). I'm allowed to sit down and enjoy a little facebook time after that. :p (not to mention - I'm normally the on to initiate relations ;) )

Honestly - you HAVE to address that problem. HEAD ON. You're allowing this to happen. Shut off the internet... period. She's acting like a child and almost needs to be treated like one. I highly recommend YOU get some counseling on how to handle this appropriately... but something NEEDS to change.

[/quote]

I wish you and my wife could meet and be friends - : )


#10

I have no real advice, except maybe to encourage your wife to read this thread. She is missing out on something every bit as much as you are. It’s sad for you, because you’re suffering, but in a way I feel more sorry for her. Maybe ignorance is bliss, but someday we’re all going to be on our deathbeds, and I can’t immagine that a life spent on Facebook is going to be very satisfying to recollect. My prayers are with both of you.


#11

As I thought the sexual problem is only a small part of a bigger problem.
Your wife is unhappy as are you. I think its good if you say to her that you demand that you guys go to retrouville or counselling together. You need to show yourself more firm with her.. not as someone who just tolerates things. Human beings are weak.. sometimes they will take as much as they can get away with taking, when they sense there are no consequences.. in that sense we are all like children.. we need to be treated like adults, be held accountable, be confronted with the breaking of reasonable expectations from others.
I also think that there are emotional and psychological issues which should be your concern long before your own sexual frustration, because your wife might in a way be a victim to her own disorder, and your children suffer also.
Your wife needs therapy. And facebook is a very tempting thing to spend time with when one suffers from anxiety and depression, because the internet is never demanding.
I think you need to sit her down and say that you want things to change ... hmm.. but her inability to listen is probably also due to her psychological issue. Do you know if she suffered some abuse in her own childhood?


#12

I feel for you. I certainly don’t want to find women attractive, but there it is. If only there were a way to trade in the desire for a nice argyle sweater or maybe a tasty bowl of soup. :hmmm:

I find creative outlets help. I started studying portuguese and I am trying my best to learn guitar. I’ve got a song book of Newfoundland music and I am doing my best to learn.

I also find that a intense exercise regimen can help out a lot. I wake up at 5 and do powerlifting or swimming for 2 hours 5 times a week. Believe me after I get the kids in bed at 9 the only thing I can think about is sleep.

You can also try fasting… When you have a knot in your stomach from hunger it is a lot harder to focus on sex. Make sure you eat just enough not to starve but not really enough to satisfy. That is something to try, but, honestly, I haven’t had much success with it. I have the appetite of a raptor when I get home from work and I find it is nearly impossible to limit what I eat. I’ll go on a diet for a couple of weeks and then I practically go on auto-pilot and eat everything in sight.

You can also say the rosary as a family at 8:30 on EWTN. It helps calm the kids down for bed and brings everyone together as a family. By the time we get through praying I am usually so knackered I can barely walk straight.

I would simply focus on what you can do to help and maybe one day your wife will come along. All you can do is try. :shrug:


#13

I responded on your other thread. Here, I will only say that it sounds like a lack of sexual intimacy is only a symptom of a deeper problem- possibly from before you were married. I suspect depression. My focusing on the sex, you could be making the problem worse, by making it about you. (I suspect that that is a little unfair, but that is how is sounds, so that is likely what your wife hears.) True marital intimacy is about giving fully. You want her to give herself fully to you- and there is nothing wrong with that desire. You should want that! More than that, you should want to give yourself fully to her. What are her needs? What are her fears? Love is selfless, and you are Christ on the cross for your wife.


#14

His post said that she accuses him of refusing sex. He refuses because he won't put both of them in mortal sin by using a condom.


#15

Before marriage, had your wife expressed any reservations about being a mother or about staying home with your children?


#16

I'm so sorry to hear everything you're going through. I just wanted to post with another few resources for you. I'm not sure if you've ever heard of Dr Greg and Lisa Popcak, but they're really good at giving advice on this. They have a radio program (carried on EWTN radio at 12pm EST, but you can also download podcasts and listen later) and a telephone counseling program, which is the bit I really recommend. They've talked a lot about doing one-person marriage therapy, something that they're good at, and I think this might be helpful for you. And since it's on the telephone, their hours are much more flexible than conventional counseling services.

Their website is here: exceptionalmarriages.com/

I'm curious - has your wife said why she doesn't trust NFP? Also, what training did you guys receive when you started using it?

You'll be in my husband's and my prayers. I'm so sorry for everything you're going through.


#17

I see a lot of signs of depression in your wife. I am a 50-year-old woman who suffered through about 5 years of depression and her facebook addiction, lack of interest in anything else, blaming you or being defensive, not following through with counselors ... all of those are signs of deep depression.

My heart goes out to you AND to her. She is in a dark and lonely place and I hope and pray that during this time she is turning to God to help her fight this spiritual battle.

I think you need to do everything in your power to get her to that Christian counselor, and if that counselor cannot prescribe anti-depressants then take her to a doctor. Those don't have to be "forever" but they can help in the short-term; the counselor may be able to help you determine all of that. If your wife won't go to the counselor, you go and get some guidance.

I'm sorry for this trial :(


#18

Your wife is not holding up her end of the bargain as far as being your wife. If you both entered into this marriage on the same page, and you are both Catholic of your own free well, and you are doing everything right that you know to do, then she is the problem. IMO you have grounds for divorce and annulment. Mind you, that is just my humble opinion. However, if I were in your shoes, I would definitly look into both of those things and then place the facts before her in black and white (documented).

Maybe those actions will be enough to wake her up. If not, I would pursue divorce and annulment.


#19

[quote="LPS, post:17, topic:238663"]
I see a lot of signs of depression in your wife. I am a 50-year-old woman who suffered through about 5 years of depression and her facebook addiction, lack of interest in anything else, blaming you or being defensive, not following through with counselors ... all of those are signs of deep depression.

My heart goes out to you AND to her. She is in a dark and lonely place and I hope and pray that during this time she is turning to God to help her fight this spiritual battle.

I think you need to do everything in your power to get her to that Christian counselor, and if that counselor cannot prescribe anti-depressants then take her to a doctor. Those don't have to be "forever" but they can help in the short-term; the counselor may be able to help you determine all of that. If your wife won't go to the counselor, you go and get some guidance.

I'm sorry for this trial :(

[/quote]

That is what I see too. I hear desperation. In the other thread, in the moral theology forum, he spoke n more detail about other problems he sees. (Anger, blame...) I do not believe this is a simple difference of opinion on the subject of NFP. It is much deeper.


#20

[quote="whm, post:14, topic:238663"]
His post said that she accuses him of refusing sex. He refuses because he won't put both of them in mortal sin by using a condom.

[/quote]

I understood that. But he goes on to ask how he is supposed to live. His desires are intense, and unsatisfied. It is a perfectly fair question, but not one for his wife, at least not without understanding the root issues.

The blame that she puts on him could be simple- she wants sex in a selfish not a giving way. Or they could be complicated- the distrust of NFP is a diversion. We cannot know, from what he has given. But from some of the other things he has said, I suspect the latter. In any event, without learning how to communicate with her on the subject, things will not improve even if he can convince her to use NFP.


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