Important Question About Sexual Relations With Wife...She is Refusing NFP


My wife and I have been married around 2 years. She is an atheist and I am trying to be the best Catholic I can be. My wife was on the pill for a medical condition she has for a long time, but stopped because of the effects it began negative having on her body. I researched Natural Family Planning and even set-up an appointment for us to go and learn more. My wife no longer wants to participate in this class, and is not interested in Natural Family Planning. She said she wanted to use female condoms, but then changed her mind shortly after. She has been putting pressure on me to use condoms, but I will not budge on my stance. She keeps telling me she wants to have relations, but we are at this impasse.

Can some please give some advice, or what my options are at this point? Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Did she give reasons for not wanting to at least learn NFP? (surely if she is not willing to have relations at all right now abstaining for those NFP days would not be a problem). Did you tell her about the medical benefits (no side effects) and scientific research associated with NFP?

Stay strong in refusing to use condoms. It would be a grave (possibly mortal) sin on your part.

Prayers for you, this is a heavy burden.


First of all, I highly recommend you get the council of a priest. That's the first and most important thing. Whatever you do, no matter how many replies to this thread you get, you need the council of a good priest. You may also want to contact your diocese for a counselor regarding marriage and even the use of NFP in marriage.

That said, do you know why she doesn't want to continue in the NFP class? What does she not like about the class? Be specific. How many did you attend? Have you considered giving her a manual to read first? There is an online manual that's like 200 pages that goes into detail. Does she understand the general principles or does she think that it's the 'old rhythm method'?

One of the many injustices regarding women's health issues is the lack of education regarding knowledge of NFP. Your wife isn't the first, nor will be the last, who just can't take the side effects of contraception. And the older we get, the less of a practical option it is. NFP is an invaluable tool for women. The "good" part in your senario is that your wife doesn't like contraceptives, so she's going to need to find something that works for her.

If you want my advice, which I'm assuming your post was for various bits of advise that you'll put together and choose what's best for you and her, I'd approach her from a secular standpoint with regards to contraception and try to expose her to as much secular material as possible. I know it's hard because I tried looking for NFP material and kept being directed to Catholic websites. But they are out there.

She needs to understand that NFP is a great tool to understand her physiology and her cycles and won't make her feel as badly as contraceptives.

As for the condoms, if you are opposed to using them on yourself, then don't use them. Period. You can't control what she does, but you can control what you do. You'd have to talk to a priest, but I don't think it's wise to withold from your wife. You put yourself and her at risk for infidelity. Some people here may argue that you're an "accessory" if you participate in the marital embrace if you do, but that's not true. And you can ask a priest and/ an apologist, who will tell you that you are indeed not an accesory. Sex is not a weapon. And she is not Catholic. So telling her you won't have sex with her if she does this or that is doing just that. If she uses a female condom, you can't control that, and you've done your best to voice your objections - therefore you are not sinning. But you can control the wearing of a male condom yourself - so just don't. You can pray for her to cease doing what she is doing. And you can keep working on her in a non-confrontational way. But you can't force her...


Here is a brief overview of things from the Compendium of the Catechism:

  1. What is the meaning of the conjugal act?


The conjugal act has a twofold meaning: unitive (the mutual self-giving of the spouses) and procreative (an openness to the transmission of life). No one may break the inseparable connection which God has established between these two meanings of the conjugal act by excluding one or the other of them.

  1. When is it moral to regulate births?


The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods.

  1. What are immoral means of birth control?


Every action - for example, direct sterilization or contraception - is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation.

I would call the apologist line at Catholic Answers...they perhaps can help..even though she does not believe...she needs to respect your beliefs...for they are the heart of you...I assume she did in marrying you (unless you were a convert later...but even then is the heart of you..) hopefully with time and prayer and information things will be resolved... ..also I have not read it but Mr. Coffin from Catholic Answers has a new book:


Thanks for the responses. I guess I should have been a bit more clear with some of the details. We've been married less than a year and a half and we fight...A LOT. I'm trying my best to keep our marriage together, and even though she insists she still loves me, it's getting harded to believe her. We have not been intimate for over 5 months (although to me it feels like 5 years!) and she is worried about conceiving a child, because of our unstable marriage. She has been pushing for us to engage in sexual activities that don't end with intercourse, and even though its getting harder to resist I know this is wrong and I don't want to sin against God.

I don't want to view divorce as an option, but as I mentioned she is an atheist so for her it would just be a legal proceeding and nothing else. But this thread is about our sexual relations and any advice anyone can offer, because obviously this isn't healthy for our relationship.

And I know we need serious counseling, but for us to go to couples counseling she would need to agree, although I suppose I could go by myself.


Prior to getting married did you discuss using NFP vs other birth control methods? Did you discuss when you would have kids? I’m wondering if part of her hesitation is coming from not knowing how you felt prior to getting married or if this stance is new since getting married.


[quote="takers, post:6, topic:206617"]
Prior to getting married did you discuss using NFP vs other birth control methods? Did you discuss when you would have kids? I'm wondering if part of her hesitation is coming from not knowing how you felt prior to getting married or if this stance is new since getting married.


We never discussed NFP prior to marriage, and its only within the last 6 months or so that I've truly renewed my faith and am trying to follow it the best I can. We had discussed having 2 kids, and waiting a year after we got married so we can make sure we bring a child in to a stable environment. We never dreamed our marriage would be this rocky so soon.

Its a bit embarrasing to admit, but prior to me committing to God, we used to do all kinds of things that didn't end with intercourse, so now she's having a hard time understanding why we can't do that anymore as its the only way to express our sexual desires for each other without running the risk of pregnancy and bringing a child in to an unstable marriage. I have been trying to hold out and do as I believe God would want, but this "drought" is a tough one, especially considering I am still trying to overcome a masturbation addiction (4 months sober). Its hard enough having that pressure on me, but her pressure too is tough, and it sucks knowing that I am not fulfilling my wife's needs, even if this is partly her fault.


It sounds like you guys started off on the same page, but then as time went by you went to a completely new book. She's not following you to that new book and you're upset about it and she's upset about it.

I can see both sides of the story and agree with other posters that getting some type of counseling would probably be beneficial. If just to be in a neutral area where you can explain each of your feelings to each other without it getting into an arguement. I'm sorry you're having such a tough time early on. Hopefully as time goes by things will get better!


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