In the last year I have posted several questions (and prayer requests) at Catholic Answers about my deepening upset over my husband's change of mind about children. We are approaching our one year anniversary, and it might not seem like much to have to wait for a year to try to start conceiving, but...we got married (first time for each of us cradle Catholics) at 40 and 43, and during engagement we talked extensively about trying to start a family after 3 or so months of marriage.
Initially I was in agreement about waiting, since I was so stressed and exhausted before our marriage that my weight had dropped and I wanted to get healthier and move past the stress. After I returned to a healthy weight, the next goal was that we had to "wait" because we were moving to a shared apartment. Then he thought we should "wait" because things were so tense and stressed in our marriage (the dual move, plus work, plus major life transition, which in my mind is normal). Then we had to "wait" because he decided that he doesn't want "his" children living in an apartment and wants us to buy a house first. I tried to remind him that little kids don't know where they are for the first year, and that it might take a long time for us to conceive at our age, and that a baby takes 9 months! Plenty of time to find a house. I also suggested that we should trust God to plan the time course for bringing life to our marriage, and his comment was that he "needs more". When I incredulously asked what he meant by this ("you need more than God???") he said that he wants to make sure that everything is in place financially and that we have a house and that he feels ready.
Of course the first year of marriage is also bound to be stressful, especially when two "older" people are getting married for the first time. During our transition this year things have been very rough at times, and my husband has seemed to be irritated by the changes that marriage can bring. To be fair, sometimes I am as well. He worries constantly that I am not happy all the time and seems to think that until we are happy all the time our marriage isn't "stable". He resists change. He is not the best communicator (defensive and critical). And yet he is consistenty getting better with small changes and in talking about non-happy things without becoming argumentative and mean. He can also be really wonderful and generous, making me Sunday breakfasts, bringing me flowers, doing laundry for us both, planning restful mini-vacations, sending me articles that he knows I will find interesting. Despite life becoming more settled and our friendship growing and plenty of fun happy times, my husband still he thinks we should avoid trying to have children for some indeterminate amount of time.
I have been going to a counselor to try to work through my own grief about the state of this supposed Catholic marriage. My heart is so heavy. I spoke with a priest about my situation four months ago, and his advice was that I concentrate on fulfilling my husband's needs and see if that brings him around. Despite my misgivings about this advice, I have been doing as he suggested and being as kind and loving and generous and happy as I can be, and I have kept my deep saddness and pain inside my heart and tried not to let it show. Nothing has changed.
Last night my husband and I watched a video about the life of St. Gianna, and I thought that perhaps he would be struck by the Holy Spirit (a good holy smackaroo!) and it would be clear to him that he is being deeply selfish and violating his marital vows by eliminating the possibility of children from our marriage. Nothing. Tonight he made it clear that we are still going to abstain from intimacy for the 12 or so days he thinks are "dangerous". I wonder if he is trying to "run down the clock" (perhaps on an unconscious level).
I have prayed, others have prayed, and I have begged God to please convert my husband's heart. I have been so strong in my faith for all my life, despite some tragic and very difficult periods of time, but this situation is causing my faith to fail. I cannot understand how God isn't acting somehow to nudge my husband (toward the truth, so he can exercise his free will), or make things so completely clear to me that this is not a sacramental marriage and it was over before it began. There is nothing at all from God. Nothing but desolation. No prayers answered from St. Gianna (I even prayed while touching her relics), St. Anne, or even Mary ("never was it known that anyone who sought your intercession..."). I feel like God has abandoned me. I so want to believe and be heard by God and to have my prayers miraculously answered like so many others. How much longer should I wait for my husband to have a conversion of heart, especially when I know that he is morally wrong, and the outcome is so dire? How can I bear this suffering, and how can I survive this marriage knowing that the person who is supposed to cherish and love me the most in this world (and he does profess to adore me) is blocking me from having one of my deepest desires. A desire that was knit into me as God created me. It is not just that I want a child -- I desire a strong Catholic marriage and family life, to give everything that I am to my husband and children. It is excruciating to have so much love and generosity and no family to pour myself out for. What should I do? I am at the end of my ability to figure out what I should do or who I can get to help me. Thank you for reading this long post and letting me pour out my heart. Please pray for me, and if there is anyone who can give me any advice, I will be extremely touched and grateful.