NFP Resentment


#1

My wife and I have been married for 15 years. After a “reversion” back to the faith about 8 years ago we began using NFP. We have four children.
I have struggled with pornography and sins against chastity in a profound way. I also have generalized anxiety disorder. I go through periods where I blame NFP for causing a rift in my marriage. When I am in a reasoned state I know that is not the case. However, I can get very angry with the abstinenance periods. When I’m in that frame of mind I cant even stay in the bedroom at night because my anger level is so high. Unfortunately, it has not been my experience that NFP brings couples together. If that has been your experience, lucky you. I’d like to hear from people who have experienced something like I describe and found a way to feel better about it.

By the way, daily mass, rosary and 2 periods of prayer arent the solution for me…I’ve tried it. I need to reframe the issue psychologically. PLEASE HELP!


#2

I am very sorry for your struggles.

Can you explain a little further. Is there a rift in your marriage? If you know (in your reasoned times) that NFP is not to blame, what do think is the real issue? Have you studied the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality (e.g. TOB or Chrsitopher West), so that you understand WHY the Church teaches what she does?

If you can explain more, I will try to help.

God Bless


#3

Thank you for responding. The rifts are basically a clash of the baggage that we each bring into the marriage. My issues are manifested in chastity issues, hers are manifested in anger issues. I have studied TOB and done all the reading. For whatever reason it just doesnt do it for me. Bottom line is I feel like NFP keeps me from my wife. I’m fully aware that my chastity problems create an illusion and/or exaggeration of sexuality. On the other hand, when we are both laying there in the mood to make love and then we cant its maddening. Sure there are the “green” days, but frankly her desire isnt really there at that time. Then I get angry because our relations tend to be mechanical.
We simply cant have any more children. We cant deal with any more emotionally or financially.
This notion that we cant make love when we want really inflames my chastity problems. The more I focus on trying to be chaste the more difficult it is. Frankly I’m at the point of giving up. Confessing the same stuff every other week just keeps me focused on the problem. I’m very tired of this.
I’m also confused, because I do believe that our lives should be conducted in a way that makes Our Lord the end and everything should be a means to that end. So why is it that when I apply it to my sexuality I feel tortured? Shouldnt these efforts bring peace. Ugh. Yes our Lord does require sacrifice. But sacrifice that hurts a marriage with four children? That doesnt make sense. Tired.


#4

From what you write, I would think that the real issue is your chastity problem and your wife’s anger problem. If you can get over this, and regain control over your sexuality, I think NFP would become easier. Have you gotten any help with this from a good priest or a Catholic counselor? I don’t think it will ever be easy, and there will always be frustrations, but it should be manageable. Likewise, has you wife sought help for her anger issues?

Having 4 children, you must have faced the issue of having to abstain for much longer than 7-10 days during your wife’s recovery. How did you deal with it then?

God Bless


#5

I agree with what Bilop wrote, that the real problems are chastity and anger, not the NFP.

I would highly, highly suggest that you make an appointment with a Catholic counselor. These are issues that we just can’t handle ourselves.

Also, I would highly, highly suggest that you look into a 12-step program for the chastity problem. This is the way to reframe the issue psychologically. Spiritual works, like daily Mass and the rosary, while good in themselves (and you should continue to do them) aren’t effective in some cases because grace builds on nature. If our natures are so wounded, it’s as if there is a gap between spirituality and our daily living; they don’t connect. What you said makes me think that this is true in your case. Knowing the theology, also, is not sufficient, because the problem is not a matter of ignorance. It is much deeper in your psyche and in your heart.

At the very least, read some literature online about sexual addiction. Sexaholics Anonymous seems to be very much in line with the Church’s teachings. There are other groups, of course. But at least read what they have to say:

sa.org/

You may say, “I’m not addicted.” But as long as the chastity problems continue, this may be the only solution. There is hope out there, so please don’t give up!

I will pray for you. God bless you.


#6

Your comment regarding grace building on nature was very helpful.

Thank you for your input.


#7

In addition to all the great advice you got above - and I agree with Bilop’s post about getting to the root of the problem, spiritually - I wonder, how long is your wife’s fertile period, typically? Does she have any conditions like PCOS that might make the mucus sign confusing? I ask because I used to have a very confusing mucus sign that effectively resulted in a 2-week long fertile period. I then started taking vitamin B6 and found it to be very helpful in clearing up “confusing” mucus and making the fertile mucus easier to detect. There is a great book called Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition that gives nutritional advice for improved health and making NFP easier.

Does she have an NFP teacher locally? Perhaps you should consider investing in a fertility monitor (I know there have been a couple of threads on the LadyComp) or investigate another method of NFP. Don’t give up!


#8

Sounds to me like pornography still has a tight hold on you. I understand it fully. I personally found that the more I surrounded myself with Christ the easier it was to get the pornography out of my head. Whether it be reading books, watching EWTN, going to Mass, going to confession, or going to adoration all these things will help. Also, spend time with your kids and wife. If your with friends and the conversation turns south, excuse yourself. You must do your best to blot it out.

I think it came down to me wanting to always receive the Eucharist on Sundays worthily. Addiction to pornography is very real, and by the tone of what I have read above, the anger is not just your wife’s but also your own. And the porn is causing it! Whether or not you still actively look at it now or not, it lingers in your mind for a long time.

I don’t think NFP is to blame, I think its a combination of other factors and it seems like it is. Yes, its hard to abstain, but in the end you will be happier. Like you said, you can’t handle anymore children. Giving up sex for a little while we’ll definitely pay off in this situation.

Another thing is whenever you watch TV or movies, look for programs that are morally solid. Of course its hard to know the content of everything out there, but there are some obvious shows to avoid.

Don’t let the devil win this battle! Good luck and may God be with you.


#9

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