Help! my wife thinks I'm selfish if I won't use birth control


#1

We have not engaged in sex since our last child was born about 8 months ago. She is to scared to try NFP. So today she blew up on the subject and finally said I am being selfish. She says her body can’t handle another child (There is no medical problem but she is emotionally drained with our third child) so she won’t take the chance with NFP. I suggested we go to a class to learn about it but she responded that we wouldn’t be told the truth because it would be taught by Catholics and not doctors. I responded back by saying yes there are doctors in the Church that teach this. She seems to believe anything her doctors tell her or some parenting magazine. She also claims NFP won’t work because she has irregular menstrual cycles. I am sure there are ways around that but she won’t try and learn anything about it. Please pray for me and my wife to become equally yoked. This is hurting our marriage but I will not go against God and use birth control, even a condom.

One thing to note is that we where married in the Catholic Church but she was/is not Catholic. In the beginning she wanted to join the Church but we both drifted away. I have returned but she still like the Lutheran church we went to. I feel she like that church because they don’t impose these mandates on you. Even though I realize these are not just from the Church but from God Himself.

So I am asking if any other men have went through this before and how did you get your wife to change her views?


#2

Hi Kirk,

I’m sure other posters will be able to offer you some good advice. I just wanted to encourage you to pray for your wife (as a new mom myself, I know how emotionally draining it is) and to keep heart. Also, your profile indicates that you are from Arizona, so I wanted you to be aware that there are a number of pro-life, pro-NFP physicians in your state: onemoresoul.com/nfp_by_state/AZ I hope some of them are in your area. Maybe taking a class taught by a physician or nurse would reassure your wife that NFP isn’t just Catholic hocus pocus.

God bless.


#3

I would recommend researching some of the different types of NFP. There are groups like NaPRO, Couple to Couple League, Billings Ovulation Method, etc. If she sees that there are several versions to pick from and they are very scientifically correct, she may feel better about it. My fiance is a developmental biologist and my background is in neuroscience. Trust me, if we didn't see that there was some legit science behind it we would be VERY skeptical about the effectiveness. I actually got a medical textbook on Natural Family Planning through interlibrary loan one time. Research is key!

You wife may not realize that her doctor and the parenting magazines tout birth control's "perfect rate" in their ads. This is an effectiveness rate based on perfect use and mathematical models. It is NOT the rate she should expect for herself- but it sure sounds good in their slick and very high-budget advertising. The effectiveness rate for NFP that is usually referenced by magazines and doctors is the "actual use rate"- and a flawed actual use rate at that. Their stats generally lump all NFP together (the legitimate NFP versions and the antiquated "rhythm method" that is NOT advised by NFP teachers) and not just the more advanced ones so this automatically makes NFP look really bad statistically.

If birth control was treated the same way mathematically you would see only the actual use rates of pills, condoms and "pulling out" all lumped into one statistic labeled "birth control". We can all see that statistic wouldn't tell us anything terribly useful and it wouldn't make anyone really want to use birth control because the numbers would look bad.

Why are statistics and percentages manipulated this way? Well, NFP isn't very good for the pharmaceutical industry. Birth control is big business! They aren't going to make the competitor look good because that would mean less money in their pockets.

My fiance has told me that he is very thankful that I am also on board with wanting to use NFP. He and I agree that not only for religious reasons, but for SCIENTIFIC reasons, we cannot agree with pumping me full of hormones on a daily basis all in the name of rendering myself infertile. (The funny thing is, if any doctor asks me why I am not going to use birth control I will cite "scientific issues" just to throw them for a loop and get a fun biology throw-down going. hee hee... People spend big money to buy organic milk, meat, and other foods to avoid chemicals and hormones, yet they have no problem ingesting dangerous levels of class 1 carcinogens on a regular basis. (Estrogen above what a woman naturally produces is considered a class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization).

All this being said, I would suggest laying out all the concrete FACTS about NFP vs. the pill. Science is much harder to argue with than religious beliefs. Your religious beliefs are INCREDIBLY important- don't ever put them in the backseat when it comes to this- but science and facts are some of the best ways to show people WHY your religious beliefs are very well reasoned.

Best of luck! My fiance and I have had some issues with family members that think NFP is crazy, so we have had to defend it a bit lately because our families are sure that we are going to end up with too many children and broke as soon as we get married....


#4

See here: Converting and a Fear of NFP for some helpful information.

BTW, this is what Martin Luther taught regarding birth control:

“[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan (cf. Gen. 38:8–10), the basest of wretches…is a most disgraceful sin… For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime.”

Seems odd today that many Lutherans dissent with their founder, Luther, on this point. :rolleyes:


#5

I can understand how overwhelming young children can be (mine are 5,5,3, and 1). I can also understand being so fearful of conceiving (God forgive me). Twins were our first children and I trusted NOTHING but abstinence. Overwhelmed was an understatement for how I felt. With time and knowledge, however, I overcame that. I’m not sure how open she is to discussion or investigating NFP as it sounds like she’s quite upset at the moment, but I’ll refer you to this scholarly article

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9653695

Perhaps if your wife sees the science behind it all she’ll appreciate it more. She may also appreciate a physician who actually knows how a woman’s body works!!! It’s ridiculous how ignorant even OBs are on the subject! NaPRO/Creighton model may be a good match for you given the copious amounts of medical research backing it up.


#6

Your wife just gave birth 8months ago. She may not be physically ready to resume relations. She may be suffering postpartum depression. I have no advice other than she is probably feeling the pressure of the small children, as well as whatever you want.

Try to be more empathetic.


#7

Thanks everyone for the great advice. I did find a local OB that teaches NFP. Now I just have to get the courage to ask her to go and see this doctor.

The funny thing is I am not pressuring her at all. I am the selfish one because I won’t use a condom.


#8

Another good non-Catholic resource is Taking Charge of Your Fertility… it’s a good book/website that covers the medical benefits of using NFP…

Actually, this book/site refer to it as FAM (family awareness method) because they allow the use of condoms during the fertile phase - obviously against church teachings (so ignore that part)… but the method, none the less, is useful… only you would abstain during that fertile stage - which is even MORE effective in avoiding pregnancy than using condoms. :wink:


#9

I’m a mom to a large family so somewhat understand what you are trying to say, but honestly 8 months is not JUST giving birth. That’s a pretty long time for a healthy marriage to have to go without the unity and intimacy of the marital act. While sometimes abstinence for a time is necessary, in most marriages 8 months would be considered pretty long (especially since often in the later months of pregnancy it’s sparse as well) and can cause some problems for both the husband, wife and their relationship.

If she is actually suffering postpartum depression that’s all the more reason to find a supportive doctor and deal with the issues that she may or may not be facing.

To the OP as others have suggested, finding a NFP doctor in your area, and maybe go together and discuss these issues with him/her.

Of course the other thing to do is to help as much as you can with the children, give her a break whenever possible and spend some other romantic, but non-sex time with her as well. Plan a date night. Make sure she knows how much you value her for her and perhaps as her load is lightened she will begin to feel differently about it all.


#10

Hi Kirk,

This is a frustrating issue for many couples, so don’t feel too alone in this.

NFP can be daunting. But there is so much information available now, so you can educate yourself first regarding all the options and then help your wife find a system that she might be comfortable with. With my wife and I, I found that educating myself on NFP options really helped my wife become more comfortable, and I think it could help in your case.

It’s worth noting that there are levels of risk that you can take, based on when in the cycle you choose to have sex. As a first step, it might be worth looking at having sex only during the safe phase, which is once ovulation has been detected. Plotting temperature will hopefully allow this to be determined, and once you and your wife are confident that ovulation has occurred (usually based on three days of elevated temps), sex from that point until the end of the cycle is 100% safe. There is 0% risk of pregnancy…the only caveat being that you have correctly detected the ovulation. Once you and your wife are comfortable with that, you can decide on options for sex in the more risky phase, which is from the start of the cylce until ovulation.

Good luck, and prayers.


#11

I don’t get it.
NFP is used to avoid pregnancy.
A condom is used to avoid pregnancy.

Wouldn’t they both be equally immoral or just fine?

Just a curious agnostic…


#12

Knowingly using birth control is like having an affair with your own spouse. You are not being selfish at all you are being charitable.

Your wife sounds like she may have PPD, this can be very serious if not addressed. This is what she should be discussing with her doctor not birth control. Birth control doesn’t solve the medical issue it just hides it.

One thing you can do to help the situation is prove to her you are not being selfish. By being selfless as possible. This will help her with her PPD like symptoms.

My wife had PPD (with some additional past issues), and since we both are against ABC we ended up with a continent marriage after the age of 30. She may be very resistant to get help for this, she should not be ashamed, if she has it, it is a medical condition.


#13

I am not sure if she has PPD. Our new baby is very demanding, not at all like the first two. He wants to be up all the time. I have tried to take care of him at night to give her some rest but she just stays up anyway worring if I am doing it right. It would be nice if we could give him a bottle but because of some digestive issues we stay away from formulas.

Maybe I should read up on PPD, she could be giving more signs of it than I realize.

Everyone thanks again:)


#14

Can your wife express breast milk for you to give the baby via bottle?


#15
  1. If she takes birth control herself, the sin isn’t on you.

  2. Though I disagree with her as a Catholic, I can understand. Fertility is often thought to be the woman’s complete domain, even though it’s men who are fertile with every sex act. She may feel that, since it’s her responsibility to carry or birth, it’s yours to take the burden off her shoulders. She may also feel it’s selfish of you to expect her to engage activities that likely will get her pregnant again if you don’t remove that burden in some way.

  1. Is she Catholic? Were you both using birth control and then decided to stop? I could see why she would think it’s unfair if that’s the case.

To the poster who asked about Lutherans: Protestants view their faith in terms of scripture only, which often means analyzing the Scriptures within the context of times (for non-fundamentalist mainlines). I’ve also known many a Protestant minister who says you can’t separate theologians from their theology, meaning that their conclusions on morals come from the context of their time. So, no, original Protestant teachings on birth control don’t hold the same weight as Catholic ones because they don’t have a central, infallible teaching authority like Catholics do.


#16

It seems to me that there are a few things going on here:

  1. She wasn’t catholic when you got married. I am assuming that birth control was an agreed upon condition when you were married. You changed your mind (for the better, mind you) but to her this is a betrayal. After all, she is the one to carry the child, breast feed (I assume?) so likely the one caring for these children mostly. It’s easy for the man to want to risk another pregnancy, but not a woman. Again, I DO NOT agree here, but this is what I imagine she must be thinking. In her view, you ARE being selfish for changing your mind without her and making demands while withholding sex. This leads into #2

  2. You are refusing to have sex with her because she is contracepting or you are. Refusing to have relations with your spouse is not only hurtful - it’s not scriptural. Explain to her that YOU will not contracept, but if she does that’s her choice. It happens a lot on these boards.

Continually pray for your wife, and research NFP. There are lots of knowledgeable doctors and teachers out there. While I can not say I know a single couple that has totally avoided pregnancy successfully for the time needed/intended, the literature boasts a high efficacy rate. Hopefully someone on here can share stories of their success :o. NFP is really hard to do right, but it’s better than depriving your wife. :thumbsup:

What you are facing is not easy. And I don’t know anything about you or her - but I am willing to put money down on the fact that a marriage counselor would be a VERY wise move right now. Once sex starts getting messed up, things can fall apart REALLY fast.

Again - let me say that what you are doing is right. NFP is the best thing you can do and praise God for you coming to that. Just bear in mind that it really only helps if BOTH of you are committed to it. Trying to force her into it will create tremendous problems.


#17

Hello,

Sorry I cannot give a male perspective, only a female one. You have gotten some really good advice so far on this question. I would like to add a little bit of hope in terms of accuracy of NFP. I have been able to plan all three of our children and been able to postpone as necessary. That is just my personal experience. Research goes a long way and I second those who suggested you have your wife talk to a physician who is knowledgeable and supportive of NFP.

One thing that I was uncertain of is who is withholding sex - are you withholding because she will not have relations without you using a condom? If so, IMO, you are not at fault here, because you are not withholding just to be mean, but because she is requiring you to go against your beliefs. It seems to me like your wife (again, just an impression) has great disdain for the Catholic Church and your religious beliefs. I understand that she is not Catholic, but this is an issue that you need to look into as well because then you are unequally yolked and will probably continue to have issues beyond the NFP issue in the future.

Best of luck to you!:slight_smile:


#18

[quote="49266red, post:11, topic:233214"]
I don't get it.
NFP is used to avoid pregnancy.
A condom is used to avoid pregnancy.

Wouldn't they both be equally immoral or just fine?

Just a curious agnostic.......

[/quote]

Avoiding pregnancy is not intrinsically wrong. The means by which it is done, however, can be. In NFP, the couple simply does not have sex when they know that having sex would likely result in conception. With condoms and other contraceptive devices, the couple has sex and deliberately acts to make it sterile.

Again,
NFP: couple abstains from sex
Contraception: couple has sex and makes it sterile themselves


#19

Thank You!


#20

[quote="smileymom56, post:17, topic:233214"]
Hello,

Sorry I cannot give a male perspective, only a female one. You have gotten some really good advice so far on this question. I would like to add a little bit of hope in terms of accuracy of NFP. I have been able to plan all three of our children and been able to postpone as necessary. That is just my personal experience. Research goes a long way and I second those who suggested you have your wife talk to a physician who is knowledgeable and supportive of NFP.

One thing that I was uncertain of is who is withholding sex - are you withholding because she will not have relations without you using a condom? If so, IMO, you are not at fault here, because you are not withholding just to be mean, but because she is requiring you to go against your beliefs. It seems to me like your wife (again, just an impression) has great disdain for the Catholic Church and your religious beliefs. I understand that she is not Catholic, but this is an issue that you need to look into as well because then you are unequally yolked and will probably continue to have issues beyond the NFP issue in the future.

Best of luck to you!:)

[/quote]

I would say I am not trying to have sex because I don't know when it would be safe. She doesn’t even want to be affectionate, so I am afraid there is a growing gap between us. I really have to get myself educated and then get us to a doctor. Thank you for your help.


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