It became apparent in various threads here that many of us have different ideas about sex and sexual duty.
This is my understanding of the duties of the marriage vocation.
We are to be as united as it is possible to be, and the key to unity is sex. Therefore, we are to have sex as much as is reasonably possible.
The assumption is that every evening will lead to sex. It isn’t that one person initiates and hopes for an affirmative response…the affirmative response is expected. Initiating isn’t even required because the act is so expected. Night time falls…the couple heads to bed and strips off their clothes and lay together. Pillow talk- hugging- sex- shower- sleep. Thats the norm…not something that happens when the stars align just right and both couples are in the mood. The exceptions to this are things like menses, illness, extreme exhaustion, lack of privacy, agreed upon fasting period, or if one partner has had an affair. If sex will not happen…for whatever reason…then it should be announced compassionately so that neither spouse must face rejection in the evening.
It is very similar to communion. We go as much as we can. Daily is preferable. We receive each time we go unless we have committed a grave sin.
Because both spouses expect to be intimate, and both spouses know that sex is better when things are going well…each spouse has even more reason to work out marital issues. Neither spouse is wishing and hoping and praying their spouse will say “ok”. Nobody is using sex as a weapon to get what they want. Nobody is feeling “dirty” because sex is part of the job description of their vocation, not something they do because they like it. Whether or not they like it is besides the point.
NFP interferes with the marriage duty…so it can only be practiced if it is agreed upon. Many polite spouses will say they agree…but when a rift develops in the relationship then the NFP must be discontinued. If the unitive aspect of marriage is threatened then you can be certain that “family planning” is not Gods plan for you.
One judges the necessity of NFP by whether the fear of pregnancy is equal or close to equal amongst both spouses. Only then can it really work without hurting the relationships unity.
If there is any question as to the serious reasons to avoid then the deciding vote goes to the Husband. He is the leader and (ideally) the provider… The wife must communicate effectively her needs so that her husband can provide for them.
If anybody has a different understanding please discuss! I believe my approach to this is most theologically accurate, so I want to know if someone has a different opinion from the theological point of view.