Husband Against NFP

Hi All,

I have a situation that is causing problems with my marriage. My husband is adamant about the fact that he does not want children right now. Because of this fact, he refuses to have sex with me unless I will use birth control. He does not see anything wrong with using birth control.

I however, refuse to use artifical birth control because of my belief that it is absolutely wrong and against God’s Will for marriage. I have brought up the idea of using NFP, but he insists that we will get pregnant right away if we use that method.

He has now decided to withold sex from me, saying that he refuses to have unprotected sex.

This issue is causing big problems in our marriage, because we are not intimate with each other and he doesn’t understand why I believe what I do and says that I can’t impose my beliefs on him.

Are we hopelessly doomed, or is there something that I can say to him. Has anyone else ever been through this situation and had their marriage survive? What can I do to help my marriage without compromising my beliefs?

Marriage is a sacrament, I"ll start with that. You must keep that sacrament. To do that - obviously you have to do things that people should do when they are married. These are words I got from a priest about this same issue.

Now to your specific question, I must ask - are you both Catholic? How long have you been married? Did you just SPRING this NFP idea on him? Maybe he doenst know how well it works? Some education for him might go a long way…


Forgive the question, but was this subject talked about before you were married? You come across as if neither of you knew each other’s stance on marriage and what it is designed towards, and what sex within marriage truly is.

I think it is fair that he at least take a class in NFP. He is operating out of ignorance.

As to intercourse, you are correct-- **you **cannot contracept.

There is a Vatican document that can help you discern having intercourse with your husband if he is the one contracepting-- and of course you should also discuss this with your priest.

I am very sorry you are going through this.

Does he say that you have to contracept? Or is he just as willing to use a barrier or even surgery to contracept?

The way you present makes it sound as if he is putting all the blame and responsibility on you. Well, it takes two to get pregnant!

Have you considered seeking a guide or professional to help you? Yes, there is the issue that you two disagree on having children and how to delay or prevent conception. But his behavior is wrong regardless of the issue at hand and his actions can point to major problems that will arise in any issue because they do not come out of the issue. They have probably existed within himself all along and this is simply something that allows him to exercise them.

I was wondering the same thing… :confused:

Agreed… he is not properly informed or educated on the subject.

Witholding sex in marriage is a serious concern…

I highly recommend you talk with your husband about attending an NFP course. Look into it through your diocese.

God bless…

Ok, maybe I should have been a little bit clearer. Of course, the first thing everyone assumes is that we did not talk about this before we got married.

I should state that when we first got married, I was using birth control, but have since come to a deeper realization of how terrible a sin it is and I have gone to confession and confessed it as a sin and vowed to do it no more.

My husband comes from a Catholic family. He was baptized, confirmed, etc. We are married in the Catholic Church.

I believe that I have the right to come to a deeper understanding of my faith and to confess my sin and vow to no longer take part in it. My husband thinks that because I used it when we first got married, I am being hypocritical.

I am praying every day for his conversion back to the Catholic faith…but I know that can be a long and tiring process and I just don’t know what to do in the meantime.

No, everyone does not assume you failed to talk about it. You are not the first person to post such an issue, and most are in your boat-- recent converts or reverts who were already married before they knew or understood church teaching.

Well, he’s using a charged word like “hypocrite” hoping you will just give up. There is nothing hypocritical about recognizing you aer doing something wrong and stopping. A hypocrite tells other people something is wrong while doing it themselves.

I suggest you read the link I posted above, and also that you make an appointment to talk to your priest about it.

RICatholic81, I sympathize with your situation.


Your diocese may offer classes on (or be able to lead you to) information about NFP. Make sure to tell the person you talk to that your husband is not quite sold on the topic, so that person is more willing to place you two with a teaching couple (or organization) that is very good and can handle wary students. This is pretty important. I can’t imagine what harm an ineffective teacher would do to your husband who’s not yet sold on the matter.

My wife and I finished our NFP class earlier this year. What really stuck for me were these ideas:
*]Barrier methods impede the full unitive aspect of the act. As I coincidentally write this on the Annunciation, it’s as if the Yes of marriage becomes a No.
*]Chemical contraception can cause an abortion. If your husband is against abortion, this is a very useful argument.
*]NFP practiced faithfully has the same failure rate as forms of birth control. So if he thinks he’s being safer using artificial birth control, he’s not.

Your tact should be just trying to get him in the door of your first class. Let your teachers and the Holy Spirit do all the rest of the work.

Set your goal as that first class!

My prayers for you and your husband,

Then do not engage in marital relations with him, and pray about it.

First of all I will say that not to many men can hold out for very long. It is usually the man who is more sexually driven. I would not give in and use artificial birth control.
Does your husband like to read or would he be willing to read. Get the book called the “Good News about Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West, it is what convinced my husband that NFP was the only way to go. If he will not read it …read some of it to him to see if it will spark an interest. Or put it in the bathroom he just might need something to read. But stand firm…don’t give in to pressure.

Just curious how long have you been married and didn’t the two of you discuss what you would do to prevent pregnancy?

Good luck and I will pray for you,

angiegirl67, that’s a good suggestion too. (Also, OP mentioned in her second post on this thread the reason this has become a problem now, and not at the inception of the marriage.)

Maybe you should also remind him …that when you married him in the churh you both promised to be open to life. If you had told the Church that you were going to artifically contracept it would not have married you.

You need to get couples therapy from a therapist who is Catholic and for the use of NFP and then you need to take NFP classes together and let your hubby discuss his fears at the class and they can then help him with these fears.
The way he is acting is just not right in a marriage in my opinion.
Don’t back down from your beliefs but do pray for your husband all the time and I will pray to that God will reach him, miracles can and do happen, Trust in the Lord on this.:slight_smile:

I could agree on the class, but wouldn’t the couple’s therapy be perceived as her stacking the deck against him? I doubt he would listen to a counselor under those circumstances.

I wouldn’t say he’s not acting right. He has a problem (doesn’t want children) and sees a way to prevent them (abstinence). It’s like NFP, only longer and not as scientific.

If he’s so against having children, why doesn’t he get a vasectomy or use a condom? Why must the price be paid by your health in using contraceptives?

Because those things are against our religion.

Maybe he also doesn’t know really what the pill does, in that it can be abortifacient. He needs to know more about abc and nfp.

A method of natural family planning that closely monitors two indicators of fertility is just as effective as oral contraception in preventing unwanted pregnancies if used correctly, European researchers report…

In the present study, reported in the journal Human Reproduction, the symptothermal method led to an overall annual unplanned pregnancy rate of approximately 0.6 percent per 100 women, which is on par with the rates typically seen with contraceptive pills…

“For a contraceptive method to be rated as highly (effective) as the hormonal pill, there should be less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women per year,” lead author Dr. Petra Frank-Herrmann, from the University of Heidelberg in German, said in a statement.
Among women who always used the symptothermal method correctly, the unplanned pregnancy rate was 0.4 percent. “Therefore, we maintain that the effectiveness of the symptothermal method is comparable to the effectiveness of modern contraceptive methods,” she added…
In the study, the largest to evaluate the effectiveness of the symptothermal method, 900 women were asked to record daily temperature measurements, cervical secretion observations and sexual behavior.

Have your husband read the above article about NFP that is on MSNBC’s website.

I have used NFP for ten years without pregnancy. I will DIE if I get pregnant again. I stake my life on the fact that NFP does work. You will have a failure if you don’t follow the guidelines but the same goes for any contraception if it is not used correctly. There is a bigger preoblem here of your husband refusing to be open to children (unless there are serious circumstances that you did not mention.) But it wise to tackle one problem at a time.

Have him read the article on NFP. He wants you on the pill which is against church teaching, NFP is as accurate as the pill and is not against church teaching (although you should have serious reason to use it). If he still can not accept it - you have an even bigger problem on your hands, his selfishness and lack of compassion for your feelings on the matter.

Try to think of an example of something else you did when you first got married but don’t do now that actually benefits him. For example, when hubby and I first married I could be overly critical. Now I am not. By your husband’s logic, I am being a hypocrite since I changed. If you can find an example like that in your own marriage it might help him to see that change is not always bad.

Now, for a bit of my story…

I was not Catholic when we married. I saw nothing wrong with contraception and wasn’t sure if I EVER wanted kids. Long story short:

I researched NFP and started using it

I converted to the Faith

We just had our first baby (and knew the exact day of conception thanks to NFP) 8 months ago

I totally trust NFP. There is hard science behind it. It is not an inferior method of birth spacing. In fact, once you see the science behind how a woman’s fertility works, you will be (if you’re anything like me at all) absolutely amazed that so many people place their trust in methods with high failure rates and big risks.

I prefer placing my trust in a method totally observable and controlled by me and my husband. Many people get pregnant on the pill, using condoms or other barriers, and even after sterilization. And it is always a BIG surprise. With NFP (once learned well and practiced correctly) it would be impossible to not know you are fertile. If you still get pregnant on a day your chart says shouldn’t have been possible, that is Divine Intervention (not a failure).

Since men like facts and science, I highly suggest first educating yourself in the various methods of NFP and then convincing him to take a class. I also suggest picking up the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. She is not religious so the book has a secular perspective that might appeal to your husband. Start there. In time you can work on the immorality of contraception, but it will take time. Right now you need to get him to start having sex with you again and work on keeping your marriage strong!


[quote=Fidelia]Because those things are against our religion.


So is ABC and he wants her to use that.

He wants her to sin and put chemicals in her body. But doesn’t seem so quick to harm himself.

I was in the same situation. I have always been Catholic, but left the teachings of the faith. I used ABC. A number of years ago, I reverted back to the faith and Her teachings. My husband is not Catholic.

We have been using NFP a number of years now. When I showed him what ABC could be doing to my body, and what it was doing to my soul, we stopped using it. It was a matter of respect for me.

Well, I can’t speak to anyone’s situation but my own, but I can tell you that like you, my wife turned to NFP before I did. I am a cradle Catholic but drifted away during college in the late 70’s only to drift back in the 90’s. My wife is a convert. But neither of us had a problem with ABC through the first decade or so of our marriage.

About 10 years ago my wife started learning about NFP and wanted to take a class. I thought she was a nut. :whacky: She no longer took hormonal ABC, but I didn’t see why the more mechanical methods were such a problem. Expecially since the method we used most often wasn’t a “barrier” method. That was the crux of my argument - no physical barrier, no problem. :thumbsup:

But she worked on me for a while :banghead: and I eventually agreed to take a class from a couple we knew who taught NFP. While she didn’t cut me off during the “convincing” stage, she made it pretty clear where he head was at on the subject. :console:

After the class, I wan’t exactly sold on the idea, but I agreed to give it a try and NFP became the only method we used. Over time, the whole philosophy behind NFP grew on me to the point that I became a believer. I would like to tell you that there was a “eureka” moment :newidea: , but there wasn’t. It just happened over time.

If he has problems with the reliability of NFP, maybe the effectiveness data will sway him (particularly the recent studies) :coffeeread: . If he is like most guys I know, the squishy part of NFP that they talk about (closeness, respect for the body, awe of the reproductive power of woman, etc.), while true, will not make much of an impact on him at first. Most guys aren’t wired that way. But after a while he will find that all that stuff is true, and he won’t realize when he changed his mind. :doh2:

While I hate to counsel you to go against your conscience, perhaps you could compromise slightly to allow intimacy to continue while working on his heart to get him to an NFP class. Then agree to give it the old college try for a period of time and see what happens. Take small steps and communicate.

I don’t think you’re doomed. Tell him I said it’s worth it. :extrahappy:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit