Contraception and Marriage


I am a convert who came into the church this past easter and one thing I have fallen in love with is the church’s teaching on marriage, sex, the body, love, and contraception. After learning the true meaning of these things I want to actually experience them more to the fullest. My wife on the other hand does not want to. This leaves me between a rock and a hard place. I feel our marriage is falling apart because of this. Contraception is a mortal sin so I refrain from relations with my wife, but that makes things worse in our marriage for both of us. I know I am not the only one to go through this. Please any advice on how you got through this would be appreciated. I just don’t know how to handle this delicate matter.


You do not have to refrain from marital relations with your wife. You know that , right? I’m sure your marriage is suffering if you are doing that. I’m sure your wife does not appreciate the church much if you are using the church as your excuse.


Yes I am aware that I have to refrain from relations with her, that is what is making things so hard. Not just on her but me as well. I feel there is no hope for us and it is crushing me. I don’t know how to handle the situation. I have talked with the priest and he can be much help, but I think It is a lot harder to be celibate when the person you love is right next to you all the time. To not be able to give yourself to them and embrace the marital union is awful. I don’t understand why God would bring me home if it means tearing my family apart.


As long as SHE is the one using contraception and you are not using contraception, the sin is hers. Nowhere does the Church teach you have to refrain from having relations with a contracepting spouse.


Yes, this is true. I think you should have normal relations with your wife (if she wants to). Part of the teaching on marriage is that you don’t own your own body-- your wife does. I bet your wife will come around one day on the teaching on contraception. It took me 6 years of being on the pill, but I came around. There’s hope. Just keep EWTN on on tv and radio so the messages can subtly sink in. Preaching to your wife won’t change her mind IMO.


The priest I talked to also said that I am not sinning if she is the one contracepting. In the past, it was almost always me who did. She doesn’t use any contracpetives herself and I can’t encourage her to. I would be just as guilty if I did that.


Your solution is Natural Family Planning (NFP). It is not contraception. It allows you to have relations with each other; but you abstain during your wife’s fertile times.

Do not let your marriage break down over this issue! The Church is not an obstacle to married love. Get help from your diocese if your parish does not offer classes on NFP.


Trust what the priest told you. You can have marital relations with your wife, if she chooses to contracept. You, of course, can not…it seems like what you are saying is in the past you were the one to use the contraceptive method, and she has no interest in using contraceptives herself. Good! Learn as much as you can about NFP, take the course together. It really is a piece of cake, and if you use it correctly and conservatively, it is 99%+ in spacing pregnancy.


What us your reason for not wanting a child? You could always just go with the flow and are what happens.


My reason for not wanting a child is that I just lost my job and my wife might be able to get a promotion that we need to support our two kids already and if she gets pregnant she won’t physically be able to do her job. However we do both want more children in the near future. We have looked into NFP but she is unwilling to try it.


Right now she isn’t sold on the idea that NFP is good for her soul.

You can approach it from the idea that it is good for her health and you want that for her. That you are tired of there being barriers between you two. You want MORE intimacy and closeness, not less, more communication not less, more complete self-giving, not less.

It would at least give her something to think about.



Even if I wasn’t Catholic, I’d want to practice NFP for exactly this reason. It was the best thing I ever did for myself as a women let alone a wife. In addition to the closeness, I’m so much more knowledgeable about my own reproductive health than most other women. :thumbsup:


Your understanding of Church teaching is wrong. You should search this forum and the Ask an Apologist forum. this question has been asked again and again, and the answer is that you do not have to abstain from relations with a contracepting spouse

You are not required to abstain from relations with your wife because she uses contraception, you are only required not to use contraception yourself.

If your wife is pressuring you into using condoms, you have to let her know that it is against your beliefs, and that if she insist on using contraception she has to be the one to use it.


So…my understanding of your situation is this:
– your wife, mostly, has not used contraception in the past and you are unwilling to encourage her to
– you are no longer willing to be the contraceptive partner
– she is unwilling to try NFP
– one or both of you is not happy with permanently abstaining (which is not what the Church is asking of any married couple)
– neither of you are willing for her to get pregnant at this time because of job concerns

The reason you are between a rock and a hard place is because all your options are being rejected by one or the other of you. Someone has to give. You two need to sit down and have some serious, open communication about what it means to live out your faith, it’s impact on your marriage, and the pros and cons of each of these options. If necessary, you should meet with a Catholic priest or marriage counselor to discuss this and come to a resolution.


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