Is it a sin when a spouse won't provide the marital gift?


#1

As some know here, my husband and I are separated. I don’t think there will be a reconciliation, although I put that in God’s hands because I no’longer feel any ability to control the outcome.

Our marriage was always very troubled. From the beginning he was not open to children and I had to be on some form of birth control. Eventually I think that fear of children led to his no longer wanting to have relations. As a result we had over 25 years of a sexless marriage – when I say sexless I mean there was no intimacy of any kind. How does a woman cope when a husband doesnt’ want her in that way? I didn’t know what to do and he was happy that way. I was only nineteen when I married. How was I to know that you were supposed to talk about these things pre-cana? I just assumed it would all be normal if we loved one another.

I did finally try to speak up about these and other problems but my husband didn’t want to discuss or go to counselling. This went on for five years. Finally, in my fifities something broke in me mentally and I began suffering from severe depression and anxiety. There were other issues, including a history of verbal and occasional physical abuse. It just became too much to bear. And to give my husband his due, he did not want to live me with me in that state.I think in some ways he is happier that I’m gone.

So we’re separated and not even talking. This has been going on for a year. I live feeling tremendous guilt for leaving. He is no longer a well man. But I felt dead inside.

My question is whether it’s a sin for a spouse to live a sexless marraige when they know it is hurting the other spouse and has led to childlessness. My whole life seems ruined because of this. And his is too because he will be alone just as I will in the end.

DId I sin too for not seeking the proper help when we were young?.


#2

Clearly something was wrong from the start; I wondered did you both have the proper premarital preparation thats now mandatory to explore whether you understood each others position on important issues like children etc.

But the bottom line is you cant undue whats done; its water under the bridge now. Feeling guilty is useless; you need to explore the issues with a spiritual councillor and be reconcilled about them yourself. You need to pray for help in comming to peace in yourself and repenting of whatever part you played in what was clearly a travesty of a marriage.

All you can do now is try to make sure that whatever life God grants you both is lived in a spirit of truth and Christian Love whether inside or outside of a relationship with each other.

Guilt isn’t from God but repentance is. Pray to God for true repentance and the grace to continue your life in a more positive way. Turn outward and start to spead some love into your community. Pray that you can both recover from what happened and trust in God.

I find the rosary a great source of spiritual guidance and comfort. If you pray it every day and ask to be guided in Gods will you will be led to the right places and people at the right time. The eucharist and all the churches sacriments will begin to be more important in your life.

I know Christ has a place for both of you in his heart but you must reach out to him in honesty and faith.

Love and Respect


#3

When we got married (over 30 years ago) we did have whatever pre-marriage counselling was mandated at the time by the Church, and I’m sure we both agreed to be open to children.


#4

Has he struggled with SSA?


#5

Sorry, what is SSA?

thanks


#6

Thirdec I meant to thank you for your post.

I know I made my share of mistakes in the M. My H is not totally to blame. I do own my share – I had alot of panic/anixety issues early on in the M, and perhaps these things turned him off too. The worst thing of all is that when I asked him once about why he felt no desire for me, his answer was we “never clicked in that area.” That made me feel really awful.

I guess we should have parted ways a long time ago. But I really believed in marriage and didn’t want to be divorced.

Now it’s so hard to do this in my late fifties, I wonder if I should even try to have a life apart from him.

I prayed alot during the years for God to change his heart and mind towards me in a lot of things but our problems just grew worse. I don’t understand that, but I don’t blame God either.

I will keep praying for an answer.


#7

[quote="nancymarie, post:1, topic:231320"]
From the beginning he was not open to children and I had to be on some form of birth control.

[/quote]

Your "marriage" seems to be non-existent at all. You may want to get an Annulment. This way, all your guilts will go away.

Of course, prayer and fasting are the best ways to get it all away. Oh wait, did I say also (if you are Catholic) go to Confession? :-)

Within the Catholic Faith, a sin committed without full knowledge or consent is a venial sin.


#8

Same Sex Attraction.

By the way, did you discuss these things with your husband before the 2 of you got married? Like having children and what not? What did you see in him that made you chose him? Also, if you knew from the beginning that he would not want to have children, why did you still marry him?

Withholding marital relations without serious reasons is a grave matter (potentially even a mortal sin). You might have the grounds for an annulment/divorce if your problems continue.

I don’t know what else to say, just my advice.


#9

Unfortunately, there have been more than a few cases of people getting married while one or the other was struggling with SSA, so if is his case, you were his “cover”, but then because he was not attracted to women, the two of you “never clicked”.

In my experience, if the breeze blew just right, the men get aroused their women, but if he was not getting aroused, then this might be a very real struggle for him. (and he may not even have admitted it to himself - or he has, and is ashamed, but does not know how to deal with it, so he hides it).

Not accusing anyone of anything, but it was just a thought that popped into my head after reading this.


#10

I honestly didn’t know he didn’t want children when we were engaged. It was a long time ago but I’m certain we talked about chidlren and he never made it known to me he didn’t want them.

It was after we were married that I sensed he wasn’t open to children.

SSA? I’m not sure. Some of my relatives thought he might have that inclination, but I never saw any evidence of it. If true it would explain why things have been so difficult for us, and perhaps even why he seemed to get so angry with me over small things.

He always said he loved me but without the element of intimacy it never felt right.

I only know I felt lost and lonely alot of times, but especially before we separated.

I wanted answers and he could give me nothing.

Going to Mass now and will pray about this.


#11

I have a friend who went through the same thing, and the lack of sexual intimacy broke her heart as well. In her case she was not married nearly as long as you were, but she and her husband never consummated the marriage.

I tell you that to help you feel less alone. You have my prayers.


#12

Your best bets for dealing and coping during this time:

  1. Get yourself a good spiritual director -preferably a priest who can also second as a confessor- start speaking to him openly and honestly

  2. start journaling - preferably on a computer - every thought you have about your pre-Cana and your marriage so when your divorce is done or even before that if you want you can start writing your annulment statement. You will not be able to turn this paperwork until the divorce but at least that way it will be done and it will be out of your hands. At this point for me all I have to do is include a stamp, a signature, and a copy of my divorce papers from Florida and I don’t have to deal with it again until the Tribunal talks to me. The annulment process is a healing one - not one meant for ripping off scabs.

  3. Reconcilliation, Penance, Eucharist, Repeat

  4. Get involved in ministry - make friends - do not be alone - but do not be around men - enough said - no offense guys not all men are as wonderful as some of the men are on CAF or as devout and they will take advantage of your wounded state.

God bless,


#13

[quote="joanofarc2008, post:12, topic:231320"]
4) Get involved in ministry - make friends - do not be alone - but do not be around men - enough said - no offense guys not all men are as wonderful as some of the men are on CAF or as devout and they will take advantage of your wounded state.

God bless,

[/quote]

Absolutely preposterous. I suppose you think she shouldn't ever leave her home to avoid being around men. I find your statement here to be very misandric in nature and just a projection of your own hurt that was caused by a man abusing you in your life. Just because some men do bad things does not mean that all men are bad people. That's just like accusing all men of being rapists, pedophiles, brutes, murderers, criminals, you name it, w/e. If anything, I would suggest that she surround herself with trustworthy responsible men so that she does not fall into the erroneous line of thinking that most (if not all) men are bad and unworthy of her attention and so that she does not accumulate hatred for all men when only 1 man is the perpetrator.

Also, how can you tell her to get involved in a ministry and go to a priest for spiritual direction/reconciliation yet avoid men? What sense does that make?


#14

No Daegus you are jumping to conclusions - this is advice that just about any trained therapist or counselor or anyone that cares about a friend would give in this type of situation as the chances of looking to fill a void are there. This ends up with a two part issue - one on the part of some men, and the second on the part of a very broken woman getting out of a very long relationship who has not yet learned how to be alone.

I am not saying that you are to go to female masses or stand behind screens - it is just meaning that you should not put yourself in situations of temptation with men or situations where you can easily be befriended or tempted until you are on more solid ground.

This is how the world works - it was the best advice I ever got from a few different priests and a counselor and a male friend who was probably twice your age.


#15

[quote="geekborj, post:7, topic:231320"]
Your "marriage" seems to be non-existent at all.

[/quote]

If the marriage was sacramental, it is not a "marriage," it is real in the eyes of God.

[quote="geekborj, post:7, topic:231320"]
You may want to get an Annulment. This way, all your guilts will go away.

[/quote]

A person can't just get an annulment, it is not a Catholic divorce. If the marriage were declared null, it would mean that their marriage was never sacramentally valid. Even if the marriage were declared null, guilt and other emotions don't just go away.

[quote="geekborj, post:7, topic:231320"]
Of course, prayer and fasting are the best ways to get it all away. Oh wait, did I say also (if you are Catholic) go to Confession? :-)

[/quote]

I agree with this with one exception, if Nancy is having psychological issues, fasting may not be the best idea.


#16

[quote="joanofarc2008, post:14, topic:231320"]
No Daegus you are jumping to conclusions - this is advice that just about any trained therapist or counselor or anyone that cares about a friend would give in this type of situation as the chances of looking to fill a void are there. This ends up with a two part issue - one on the part of some men, and the second on the part of a very broken woman getting out of a very long relationship who has not yet learned how to be alone.

[/quote]

Any conclusions I'm jumping to don't seem to be so unreasonable in regards to what you said. What I said was perfectly in line with what you said. If what you said was not what you wanted to be construed, your message should have been constructed differently. On top of that, I did not know that you were so well versed in therapy as to know what every trained therapist would give as advice to someone in such a situation.

If the OP wants to be alone, she does not need to hide from men or ignore their existence/what not. All she needs to do is learn how to reserve herself from trivial, inane, worldly matters and stay focused on God.

I am not saying that you are to go to female masses or stand behind screens -

Of course not, because no faithful priest would ever hold a "female mass". A gender segregated mass would only divide the Church, not unite it.

it is just meaning that you should not put yourself in situations of temptation with men or situations where you can easily be befriended or tempted until you are on more solid ground.

This is how the world works - it was the best advice I ever got from a few different priests and a counselor and a male friend who was probably twice your age.

Your advice was to "not be around men". You did not say much more than that. Going off of what you said, your advice is not reasonable because it asks the virtually impossible. Just because a priest gave you that advice does not make it good advice. Also, if you go to confession regularly, you would inevitably have to be around men and males in general, where temptation could arise at any time. There's also the fact that half of this world consists of men, so you will bump into them pretty much everywhere you go. Closing your eyes and sticking fingers in your ears will not solve problems, nor will it negate reality.


#17

[quote="Daegus, post:16, topic:231320"]
Any conclusions I'm jumping to don't seem to be so unreasonable in regards to what you said. What I said was perfectly in line with what you said. If what you said was not what you wanted to be construed, your message should have been constructed differently. On top of that, I did not know that you were so well versed in therapy as to know what every trained therapist would give as advice to someone in such a situation.

If the OP wants to be alone, she does not need to hide from men or ignore their existence/what not. All she needs to do is learn how to reserve herself from trivial, inane, worldly matters and stay focused on God.

Of course not, because no faithful priest would ever hold a "female mass". A gender segregated mass would only divide the Church, not unite it.

Your advice was to "not be around men". You did not say much more than that. Going off of what you said, your advice is not reasonable because it asks the virtually impossible. Just because a priest gave you that advice does not make it good advice. Also, if you go to confession regularly, you would inevitably have to be around men and males in general, where temptation could arise at any time. There's also the fact that half of this world consists of men, so you will bump into them pretty much everywhere you go. Closing your eyes and sticking fingers in your ears will not solve problems, nor will it negate reality.

[/quote]

It seems to me that you fail to understand that "stay away from men" is a basic English slang that means stay away from relationships or those friendships that could lead to them. I could sit here an quote multiple sources but there is no reason to do it.


#18

[quote="joanofarc2008, post:17, topic:231320"]
It seems to me that you fail to understand that "stay away from men" is a basic English slang that means stay away from relationships or those friendships that could lead to them. I could sit here an quote multiple sources but there is no reason to do it.

[/quote]

Now you're just playing a game of semantics and you've shown me that you've given up on the conversation because you know you made a mistake. You structured your sentence in a way that could easily be misconstrued.

What a shame, really.


#19

[quote="Daegus, post:18, topic:231320"]
Now you're just playing a game of semantics and you've shown me that you've given up on the conversation because you know you made a mistake. You structured your sentence in a way that could easily be misconstrued.

What a shame, really.

[/quote]

I am sure that if others had the same problem they would have made the same observation - but you seem to be the only one - so please don't derail the thread which you really do not have a vested interest in by trying to stick your two cents in with word games on adult matters where you cannot understand all of the thoughts, feelings, and dynamics that go in to these situations.


#20

I don’t claim to be a reference for correct post interpretations, but I did interpret joanofarc2008’s initial post the way she meant it to be interpreted. On with the thread.


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