Is a celibate marriage sacramental?

Is the sacrament present in our marriage? My husband has no desire for sexual intimacy with me. We have been married eight years and have been celibate for the last six. I married expecting intimacy and the possibility of children.

Assuming there were no obvious impediments to your marriage at the time of the marriage, the Church would presume your marriage to be sacramental until proven otherwise before a marriage tribunal.

The real question is what options are open to you since your husband is not open to marital relations now.

First of all, there is a grave obligation on the part of both parties to be open to marital relations. Within reason, and presuming that the requests are just, a husband and wife should be able to request marital relations from each other and have their requests granted. (Of course, if one or the other is unable for some reason, he or she can say so and expect to have that respected; but that person should be aware that he or she is asking for an exemption to an otherwise grave responsibility.)

If someone has had no desire for sexual relations for an extended period of time, that person should consult with a physician to see if there is a physical problem. Medicines and therapies that assist a couple in performing marital relations are permissible. If there is no physical difficulty, only a lack of desire, then the couple should consult with a Catholic-friendly marriage counselor for further assistance. For a referral to a specialist in your area, I recommend contacting the Pastoral Solutions Institute or

**Recommended reading:

For Better … Forever!** by Gregory K. Popcak
The Exceptional Seven Percent by Gregory K. Popcak

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