If there is a thread somewhere that discusses this same issue, I have not found it - I apologize if this is a duplication of any sort.
I was raised in the church but never really embraced it. I have always identified myself as still a Catholic, because although I had issues with many of the rules, I always agreed with the bigger picture. I felt it was important to be married by a priest and raise my children Catholic … just because I didn’t “take to it” was not reason enough to stay away completely. My fiance’ and I began our Pre Cana counseling with the priest and attended Engaged Encounter this past weekend. He is not Catholic; he was raised Southern Baptist but he didnt’ “take to it” either. He is very open to learning about the church and he’s not opposed to conversion if he decides later it’s right for him.
The EE weekend moved us in a way that neither of us expected. After this weekend I began to feel very strongly about us discontinuing our sexual relationship until after the wedding (nine and a half months from now). My reasoning is odd - I am not upset that we have had sex to this point but that to do so now that our “eyes are starting to open” would be wrong. Future Husband and I had a very long conversation about this … he understands it is important to me but really feels that cutting off our intimacy at this point would be damaging instead of beneficial. It is not the physical gratification he is worried about missing, it is the deep emotional connection involved in being completely open and vulnerable to another person, the life-giving selflessness of one partner sharing themself with the other … the connection of married intimacy. He maintains that the only reason we are not married in the church tomorrow is because we need time to plan and execute the big production surrounding the ceremony for our families, so why should our connection be punished in the meantime? I see his point.
We came to somewhat of a compromise; we agreed that six months prior to the wedding we would stop all sexual contact beyond kissing and snuggling. Since we live together, we would commit to ensuring we are modestly clothed in front of each other, and to avoid displaying any other behaviors the other would find arousing. We also agreed to learn more about NFP and stop using condoms after the wedding. I was satisfied with this, until last night when he asked me for sexual contact and I realized that I am still not comfortable with what is essentially three and a half months of sin. I turned him away and felt horrible, more horrible than I have ever felt in any sin I have ever committed. I was going back on my promise, when he, the non-Catholic, had agreed to something he was unsure and scared of, putting his trust me and a religion he does not yet know or understand. He was very hurt and confused … I have not ever hurt him like this before and I cannot stand the thought of doing so again.
My brain tells me that to have sex with him again before our vows is a sin, period. My heart tells me that I cannot withhold this from him over the next few months and go against my promise to him and the agreement we made. We have always made decisions together, and my gut tells me that to just overrule him and his feelings in favor of my fear is horribly horribly wrong.
Please, when you answer, keep in mind I know the rule. Simply retyping it for me does not help. An answer from a member of the clergy would be greatly appreciated.