Need help talking to husband about NFP


#1

My husband disagrees with church teaching regarding most sexual issues, including birth control. About 5 years ago, I refused to keep taking the birth control pill and he uses condoms now. We have a 2 year old son now, and I have told him that I feel the condom use is wrong, but he basically dismisses my concerns. I have even had a discussion with him related to the authority of the church and how we must do as the church says if we profess to be Catholics. I pray everyday for him in my rosary. We talked about starting to try for another baby around Christmas, and he was seemingly ok with that, but he has in the past changed his mind about this. The past couple days, I have been feeling like I should ask him since we are going to try again at Christmas, perhaps we could try NFP until then. Not like the world would end if I got pregnant, that's for sure. I have no idea what to say, he already thinks I'm a zealot in general and doesn't really care for how religious I have become, although I try not to nag him or even bother him with it. He goes to mass on Sunday, and that's about it. Once in a while he goes to confession, but I don't even know if he talks to the priest about the birth control because he doesn't feel it's a sin. I have Patrick Coffin's book, "Sex Au Naturel" but I don't know if he would even look at it. He doesn't read except magazines. I feel like he is using me for sexual release and that this is why he doesn't want to give up the condoms. He would have to use self-control. Please help, I feel the Holy Spirit tugging on me to talk to him about this, but I have no idea what to say. I also fear that my husband is caught up in pornography and masturbation, although he hides this from me. He also does not feel that this is a sin. Perhaps this is influencing his whole attitude about sexual matters. I feel like this is a big mess!


#2

Oh dear. He sounds like he is where I was at some time ago. I don't know the right answer to give you, nor do I think there is a magic bullet that will change his heart over night. I think it is a great idea to ask about NFP until the child comes. Or, if you are willing to hold off the child for a bit, perhaps starting nfp around that time would be a possibility to prove that it can be done.

As far as his desires for release (and the others you mentioned), I can say that I felt 100% like they were ok, and that I was not cheating. God tugged at me one piece at a time to conquer those desires. I can say the one source that was most helpful once I got started down the path of pullling away was Christopher West.

I think "Winning the Battle for Sexual Purity" would be a good one for him to watch.

May God bless you for your patience and your gentle call for conversion of your husband.

Cymonk


#3

Here's a great site for him (if he likes researching on the internet): dads.org/

Look up NFP in the search engine and you'll be connected to many sources geared toward men from a Catholic perspective (and not all by women if he would value a man's opinion and explanation more)


#4

[quote="cymonk, post:2, topic:201174"]
Oh dear. He sounds like he is where I was at some time ago. I don't know the right answer to give you, nor do I think there is a magic bullet that will change his heart over night. I think it is a great idea to ask about NFP until the child comes. Or, if you are willing to hold off the child for a bit, perhaps starting nfp around that time would be a possibility to prove that it can be done.

[/quote]

That's a very, very good suggestion. He'd have to learn some self-control over that period of time, but it would also demonstrate how effective NFP can be... and the post-ovulation time period could definitely be a very good one. That might change his mind on the practical side of things.

But the moral issue is not something you can solve to be honest. Praying for him frequently and suggesting some books to read or videos to watch is really all you can do. In some ways I'm like the OP's husband in that zealotry is a big time turn off for me. I don't mean in terms of sexual attraction, I mean in attraction in general. I'm all for following the rules of the Church and embracing them, but when you see people go way, way over the top (just look at some of the posts in the swimwear thread on the front page!) it's irritating and can spoil your view of the Church entirely as you see scrupulosity ruining good people and alienating them from their communities. I suppose most people would see following NFP as being a zealot and I do that but I mean more like people who think Harry Potter is from the devil or something like that.

At any rate, I know you feel like it's your job to bring your husband to heaven. In some ways, it is. But ultimately it's up to him. Pray for him, talk with him, gently, and pray some more. It took my father nearly 25 years to convert from Judaism to Catholicism after marrying my mother. I know that's not a timeframe you want to hear, especially with this issue, but I'm saying that God's timeline is not ours.


#5

Whoops... I may have not been as clear as I thought I was. If he doesn't thnk NFP will work... And especially if he has hesitation about having another one... then suggest to him to try NFP once you hit the point when you would have wanted to start trying for a child.


#6

Thanks for the suggestions! I am not sure whether he thinks it won't work or it's the restraint part he doesn't like. I'll try to chat with him about this keeping the suggestion of trying NFP around Christmas then if he doesn't want to try it now. I can be patient with him. I made it sound like he's an awful person, but in most ways he is a great Dad and honest man. But I'll keep praying about the sexual issues. I try not to be a "Harry Potter is from the devil" type, I don't want to turn him off or scare him. He brought me to the chuch and to RCIA. He used to love his church. I don't know exactly what happened, but I will try my best to love him through it without nagging. I feel like the condoms are a barrier between us that keeps us from fully being one. I know he would say this is nonsense. Am I being crazy? If so, I want someone to tell me!


#7

[quote="nurselisa99, post:6, topic:201174"]
Thanks for the suggestions! I am not sure whether he thinks it won't work or it's the restraint part he doesn't like. I'll try to chat with him about this keeping the suggestion of trying NFP around Christmas then if he doesn't want to try it now. I can be patient with him. I made it sound like he's an awful person, but in most ways he is a great Dad and honest man. But I'll keep praying about the sexual issues. I try not to be a "Harry Potter is from the devil" type, I don't want to turn him off or scare him. He brought me to the chuch and to RCIA. He used to love his church. I don't know exactly what happened, but I will try my best to love him through it without nagging. I feel like the condoms are a barrier between us that keeps us from fully being one. I know he would say this is nonsense. Am I being crazy? If so, I want someone to tell me!

[/quote]

Why not tell him that's how you feel? And again, as a great dad, dads.org is a wonderful organization!!!


#8

You are not being crazy...even on the scientific level, there are many chemical bonds that are formed everytime. Personally, I would think he would be able to feel the difference. I did not read your concern as your husband being a bad guy. May God bless you as you carry this cross.

Cymonk


#9

I am going to speak very plainly about this because I am just like your husband. I have to work constantly at overcoming my selfishness! I rely on God's grace to help me see the beauty of NFP. If I did not have a strong wife who insisted on NFP, I can tell you we wouldn't have been practicing it for the past 15 years. It is very simple,from my wifes perspective, no NFP...no me! My wife would not let me masturbate with her body. When you talk about sexual release that has me written all over it. I need my wife to help keep our sexual relationship pure and holy. I am not strong enough to see the beauty of NFP without my wife's constant reminding of how necessary it is to our marriage and our ability to parent effectively. Sometimes I hate NFP! We all have our crosses to bear. Sorry for sounding harsh but your husband needs to get over it! This isn't just about fulfilling a need, this is about holiness and eternal life! Like Father Corapi says " don't go to hell for anyone"!

I know a lot of people are not going to like how I have worded this reply. I am sorry to those I have offended. I know how I am and I know that many men are just like me. Sometimes we need to be hit over the head before we realize what we stand to lose if we don't fall in line with what God wants from us. I appreciate all the sincere folks on this forum and their charitable approach to this problem. Some times charity comes in the form of tough love. If my wife isn't tough with me, I can guarantee you that I would slip back into complacency about bc and other moral issues that I had no problem with before meeting her. We are obligated to help sanctify our spouses. How you choose to do that is up to you. Remember, there are consequences to all actions, righteous or not, it is important to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help your husband to hear what he needs to hear. However, you have to decide how to attack this situation.

I will pray for you. Be strong and good luck.


#10

Nice post cabsplus. :) Nurselisa's husband sounds like a great guy who wouldn't want to hurt her. If the situation is right, an 'absolute' approach may indeed be better. Either way, an "I feel" statement is always a good way to start. Like explaining how you feel it hurts you each time you use "protection". That it robs you of feeling truelly connected to him. Might also soften his heart. I know it would mine.

Cymonk


#11

We use the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP. If I was in your position, one of the things I might do is start charting without him. Record your waking temp every morning, and check your cervical mucus daily. Maybe even file the pages in a conspicuous 3-ring purple binder on the nightstand. =)

When he asks what you are doing, tell him, and explain, "today I'm not fertile," or, "I'm fertile today and tomorrow, but for the next 2 weeks after I'm not." This might open up the conversation at how scientific and reliable it is. If he hears you aren't fertile, he may not use a barrier.


#12

I could have written this post! I don't have any wonderful advice, but I want you to know that you aren't alone. My husband doesn't feel that NFP can possibly effective, esp since I have irregular cycles. I would love to leave my womb open to Jesus, to use as He pleases, when He pleases, but my DH does not want any more children.

Most people see my situation and say, "4 is enough! How many DO you want?!?!" It isn't a matter of how many I want, it's a matter of me feeling as if I'm being disobedient and that I'm impeding my own holiness.

One thing that I think would be wise is to keep the more children conversation seperate from the NFP conversation. You won't win him over for NFP if your argument is, "would a baby be the worst thing in the world?" I try to keep it seperate.

I just keep praying and praying and praying that he becomes more open to life and that we both learn to love and receive children as Jesus does. I ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother and St Joseph. And it's hard, but I try not to nag!!!!! Don't nag just pray!

He only "planned" on 2 children and we're up to 4 so my prayers must be working!

I'm also going to try to get him to pray with me that we just come to agreement on both ends. Not that I get my way over him, but that our unity is restored.

Bless you and best of luck!


#13

It sounds like you are in a very difficult spot and I certainly will pray for you and your husband.

As for the effectiveness of NFP, studies abound, and it is effective. Like you said though, it requires a certain amount of self control. That is difficult for people in general, but especially for those surrounded in modern American culture that seems to be all about instant self gratification.

I suggest that you study up on all the different methods of NFP. Become very knowledgeable. You can even learn the particular method that you feels suits you,(I personally recommend Billings; it is easy, no temps, cervical exams, highly effective, and you can even learn it online now! That is a bonus with a little one!) as knowing where your body is at in a cycle makes you more knowledgeable in general about your reproductive health. Though now that I write that I realize that learning a method usually requires a couple of weeks of abstinence. Maybe you could ask a teacher about that though since your husband's use of condoms might not mess up your interpretation. Or, maybe it just might take you a bit longer to learn it. Anyways. You get the point. Learn, learn, learn!!

I also suggest that you seek the guidance of a priest or deacon (yes, deacons can be married so they may have a good understanding of this one!). You can't change your husband. But, you can pray for him and you do have your own dignity to protect.


#14

Wow, you guys are great! I can really feel how much you all want to help me and understand my situation. This afternoon, I wrote him a letter putting all of my feelings in it and asking him to help me be obedient to God and use NFP. I am praying for the courage to give it to him. I hate to nag him, and I'm trying not to, but sometimes that's all that works with him. Pleas pray for me! I asked our Lady, Joseph, St. Therese, and Archbishop Sheen all to pray for me. I'll keep you all posted.


#15

Here's an update:
After talking to you all on here and being encouraged to share my feelings with him, I wrote him a letter explaining why I wanted to try NFP. I left it on his nightstand when I went to work yesterday and asked him to read it after he put our son to bed. He read it and all he said was "We can discuss it", but his tone was light and he didn't seem angry or anything. I let it go at that, not wanting to nag at him and give him some time to think about it. Any suggestions on what points to cover when we do have this discussion?


#16

You may want to discuss how he can get involved.

My husband loves NFP, because he doesn't feel "excluded" from fertility decisions. He likes that it isn't reduced to me popping a pill or stopping sex to put on protection. NFP requires both of us to be on the top of our game.

I would show him your charts and help him understand the whole thing. I use FertiltyFriend.com for my charting, and DH can log on the computer and look at it even if I am not there. {Plus, you track when you do have sex on FertiltyFriend.com which is kind of fun...so when he says "we never have relations!" you can show him that you do. :p}

It doesn't have to be all serious. More than once {when we were avoiding right after marriage} one of us said, "Darn! I wish it wasn't a fertile day!" Or when we were TTC we'd make jokes.

I think some people get so wrapped up in how "intimidating" the idea of keeping track of temps and cervical mucous is that they forget that you can have fun doing it too.

Involving him was definitely the best decision we made. It isn't like he is obsessed with my charting or anything, but just keeping him in the loop makes it easier for him.


#17

If he is fairly open, tell him how you feel when you are outside of what you feel you should be doing. Then be direct with where you are hoping to get eventually. Wouldn't hurt to ask him if he had ideas on how to get there so that you don't have to feel that way. (Men are problem solvers, see if he will find a way). Throw in suggestions that seem worth while to you.

Or if he seems less open, mIght want to ask him if he'd be ok with obtaining more information if you found some (i.e. Christopher West video i suggested, or other books, etc). If he says yes, then you can start the process of looking for some good stuff to give him.

Pax Christi!

Cymonk


#18

Just remember that you are fighting for something good and pure in your marriage. You are in God’s corner on this and your position is wholly and purely correct. Be strong and compassionate. Do not compromise your principals. Read this article and stay focused on what the Holy Spirit is telling you.catholic.com/library/Birth_Control.asp


#19

Here is an update on this. Sorry it took so long, but I didn't even know what to say. Husband said that he is not willing to try NFP and that he just knows it doesn't work. He says that he does not feel that condoms are wrong because they don't bother his conscience, and that he does not even confess this to the priest when he goes to confession. He was so far off from church teaching and no matter what I said, he was not ready to listen. So, I decided to pray for him. I also sent him a link from here about mortal sin and confession. I said along with that I didn't feel like he should play fast and loose with the state of his soul, but obviously nothing I said was going to change things. Just on Sunday, the priest gave a sermon about not being a "Cafeteria Catholic", but this also did not seem to sink in. I was very hurt by the lack of concern for my feelings and the lack of spiritual leadership from my husband for our family. But, I guess I have to let it go and leave it to God to work on him. I ask Our Lady to pray for him every day and I have him on the prayer board for the nuns at work. Is there anything else I should be doing?

Thanks


#20

nurselisa, i am in your same situation! i can’t even mention the letters “nfp” in my home anymore. my “Catholic” husband wants no part of it.

we aren’t even at a place where we can talk about it. so i’m just going to pray.

my situation is a little different in that my dr prescribed the bcp for irregular cycles, but i still really hate taking them. PM me if you’d like to commisserate!

i feel like this is the kind of thing that can rip a marriage apart. :frowning: so i just keep praying and i’m trying to not bring it up…stay out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do it’s work, if you will.

best of luck to you and i’ll keep you in my prayers!


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