Contraception and My Agnostic Wife


#1

I am a recent convert. Not previously religious really. My wife is an agnostic / atheist. Been married for about a year.

Lat night my wife wanted to be intimate, she asked me to get a condom. I said I am no longer going to use them, a shock to her I am sure, she exploded. She asked me if “this is about church?” I said it was, she exploded again. I told her we could talk about it this afternoon after work. I really do not know what to do. She is definantly not open to NFP. I told her I do not want her on the pill, she agrees, but what should I do. I have tried to explain the church position on this a time or two and she is unreceptive. Abstinence is hurting our marriage and we are both frayed. She doesn’t want to get pregnant, neither do I, however, I will gladly accept it if it happens. I want us to use NFP but would settle for her using the sponge or something. I will explain my position to her better this afternoon, but I feel I will need to concede with sponge use. I really need help and prayers, this is such a sensitive time for us right now and this is not helping. I want to be a good Catholic, what can I do?:frowning:


#2

There was a recent thread on this you should look at.

The short version, supported by several “Ask an Apologist” replies, is that you may have relations with your wife w/o committing sin as long as she is the one using the contraception, and you continue trying to convince her that it is wrong.

So condoms are out, but if she was to use the sponge or a diapraghm, you would be OK morally.

God Bless


#3

Go talk to your priest. This is a fundamental aspect of your marriage.

You are correct, you cannot contracept and you should continue to encourage her to learn NFP.

Many non-religious women use NFP. The book Taking Charge Of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler is from a completely secular standpoint. Ask her to read it.

Look at this document, which is written for priests to give guidance to penitents in the confessional, regarding one spouse contracepting.

Again, it’s really important that you seek guidance from an priest who upholds the teachings of the church and can give you some ways to approach your wife.


#4

Have you talked with her about why she doesn’t want to use NFP? Is it a fear that it’s uneffective? Is it fear of another child? Is it fear that you have changed and she doesn’t fit into your religious life? That you don’t want her anymore? Is it because she feels that it’s something to reject just because Catholics use it? Sometimes all of these and more reasons can come into play. She may also feel a little bewildered as to why your actions have changed, you said you were using condoms & now no longer will (which is good!) but was this discussed with her or did it only come up when she initiated contact? If it wasn’t talked about in depth before then she might be feeling that you didn’t consider her feelings or she might be incorrectly thinking you have rejected her when really you only rejected contraception, not her. You don’t have to answer any of these questions I offered here, instead talk with your wife more. She needs to know you support her and want to have the most intimate relationship with her that is possible. That you love her & don’t want to separate out the aspects of your marriage. Then continue to communicate with her about the intimacy that can be had even if you feel called to abstain, give her support & love her. Through communication of your love for her you can help her heart to open up. She needs to know that your views that changed regarding sex aren’t meant to distance you from her but to draw you closer.

If she needs scientific proof, have her look at Taking Charge of Your Ferility (there is an online forum for it too). It’s totally secular & it can be a way to open her up to the real science behind the method. While you continue to deepen the understanding of it spiritually and move toward the ability to use a pure form of NFP (TCOYF is a FAM based book).

Definitely seek guidance of a good solid Priest and pray. You might find that prayer to St. Joseph especially helpful.

I have also said a prayer for you!


#5

My prayers for you, WordisLove, for this difficult cross you are bearing. God does have a plan in bringing you into his fold at this time in your life. Pray for guidance and strength – and don’t stop being a good husband and example of Christian love to your wife.

Best,
mp


#6

I think you should have spoken to your wife when you were not in bed for one thing. You should really apologize to her for springing that on her in that type of moment. You are changing the rules on her so you need to be extra loving about this.


#7

I do not think the bolded section is correct. That does not seem consistent with my understanding.

WordIsLove, I myself have been confronted by this very situation. I am a convert from atheism. I wife remained an atheist/agnostic. Without going into details, I will simply say that I submitted my application for annulment to the tribunal several months ago.

Your soul, and hers, is not worth it. But in the end, you must protect your soul, even if it is to protect it from someone who claims to care for you.


#8

I agree with this. Also, what was her attitude toward the conversion?

Take it slow; otherwise you may lose the marriage. Consult with a strong, orthodox priest on the best approach to take.

And do apologize for springing this on her without warning.


#9

See the link I provided above regarding the situation.

Very true words, and prayers to you. I’m sure this was difficult.


#10

I don’t feel that because the OP popped this on her that it is time for an annulment. My goodness, give his poor wife a chance. I too agree that his timing was off. Most of us here will agree that moving away from certain sins takes a while and cannot be done overnight especially when two people are involved. You cannot judge whether she cares for him or not. She is not where he is spiritually. She may be a wonderful person as many atheists are however highly misled they may be. Yes our souls and our standing with God is of the utmost importance. But for crying out loud don’t have him running out for an annulment. Remember that " I love you" part??


#11

Isn’t it more than a bit unfair for one spouse to convert to a religion without the other spouse, or their consent, and then expect the other spouse to live up to that religion?


#12

Sorry, I did not mean to imply that. But that is ultimately what heppened to my marriage. But then, my ex-wife was so upset when she learned I started attending Mass, that she actually moved all my stuff from the bedroom into the guest room while I was away at Mass. We never slept in the same room after I attended Mass the first time. She said she did not even want to “breath the same air” as a Christian. So it is fair to say we had other problems.


#13

Communication is absolutely essential under these circumstances - more so than in normal marriages. Nothing should be sprung on the non-Catholic spouse without prior consultation and explanations.


#14

I am so sorry to hear this. I cannot even imagine the pain that must have caused you. Please accept my apologies if I seemed harsh but I can only pray that the OP can work things out with his wife. Only God knows…teachccd:)


#15

Thank you for all the kind replies.

It took me awhile but I worked up the courage to speak with her last evening regarding my thoughts and NFP etc. I tell you that my prayers were answered more than I would have dreamed. It was kind of like in sitcom’s where someone is trying to ask a girl out, they expect a no, so they have an entire spiel planned, instead she says yes and the man is flabbergasted, not really knowing what to say because he had not planned for the good news. it was just like that last night. I apologized for springing this on her. I tried to explain why I was doing it, that I understood she did not get it, that I wanted to be a good Catholic, and that I loved her. She was extremely receptive. I am so happy. This is one small hurdle behind us. To answer some questions or comments that you all had:

Have you talked with her about why she doesn’t want to use NFP? Is it a fear that it’s uneffective? Is it fear of another child? Is it fear that you have changed and she doesn’t fit into your religious life? That you don’t want her anymore? Is it because she feels that it’s something to reject just because Catholics use it?

No I had never spoken to her about NFP with the exception that it existed and some people found it very effective. I believe she thought it to be something akin to the rythm method, and being that her cycle is not regular, I believe she discounted it on the spot. There is definantly a dynamic of my changing going on in our relationship, she has dealt nicely I suppose. it is hard to put myself in her shoes because I so fervently want her in the same place as myself, which is selfish, but for selfless reasons as well. Those who may have read other posts of mine know well. The fact that NFP is Catholic I think dissuades her, not because it is Catholic but because it appears un-scientific since it is so closely linked to the Church.

f it wasn’t talked about in depth before then she might be feeling that you didn’t consider her feelings or she might be incorrectly thinking you have rejected her when really you only rejected contraception, not her

It was not talked about in depth at all. I take full responsibility and have learned from my actions. All of you out there in mixed marriages know how hard it can be to bring things like this up at all, but I know better now and must give my wife more credit as well.

She needs to know that your views that changed regarding sex aren’t meant to distance you from her but to draw you closer.

I communicated this just last night.

If she needs scientific proof, have her look at Taking Charge of Your Ferility (there is an online forum for it too). It’s totally secular & it can be a way to open her up to the real science behind the method. While you continue to deepen the understanding of it spiritually and move toward the ability to use a pure form of NFP (TCOYF is a FAM based book).

I ordered it online last night. The FAM is really what I spoke with her about, I told her you replace contraceptive use with abstinence and that is the only difference with NFP for the most part.

I think you should have spoken to your wife when you were not in bed for one thing. You should really apologize to her for springing that on her in that type of moment. You are changing the rules on her so you need to be extra loving about this.

You are correct, I feel very bad about this, and I have.

Isn’t it more than a bit unfair for one spouse to convert to a religion without the other spouse, or their consent, and then expect the other spouse to live up to that religion?

I must listen to my conscience. I do not control her thoughts nor actions, only my own. I felt drawn to the Catholic Church. I cannot deny my soul, or dismiss hers.

I have also said a prayer for you!

Thank you for all your prayers!

RPP, you will be in my prayers as well.

PS. Whay do the acronyms DH, OP etc. mean? I see them used everywhere and just can’t grasp it. Thank you all so much.


#16

DH, DW, DD, DS = Dear husband, dear wife, dear daughter, dear son, etc…

OP - original poster or original post


#17

WordIsLove, I am so happy and relieved that this went so well. I think that your wife will find that the two of you may become closer because of this.

I will continue to pray for you and for your wife.

And thank you, and the others as well for your prayers for me.


#18

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