On marital sex and marriage to a non catholic

My boyfriend and I are struggling to find common ground when it comes to contraception. We both agree to save sex till marriage but he believes that after marriage the use of condoms and other birth control methods are part of a responsible sex life if you are not ready for children (financial/time reasons). It is my understanding that this goes against my faith but would like to explain it more fully.

How do you view this issue?

Also what is your experiences with natural family planning?

I know little about natural family planning but i feel like the goal is the same as condoms except you may experience getting pregnant when you feel you are not ready for children.

Also those catholics married to noncatholics (my boyfriend is christian) how did those opposing views of faith affect your marriage? How did you raise children in faith?

We are currently at a position where our conflicting views on faith could cause us to break up but are deeply concerned at how in love we feel.

Thanks for all your input!!! God bless

If you were smart you wouldn’t marry the non-catholic.

This is one of a hundred issues you are going to have with your boyfriend if you marry him.

Why not marry an actual Catholic and fight about other stuff? NFP with a person that is not committed to NFP is really hard.

The Catholic Church holds a clear and strict position on contraception and that is that it is intrinsically evil and is never justified. Now in the secular world today, there is the strong presumption that people have a right to interfere with their fertility in order to allow for consequence free intercourse. To be Catholic means having to reject that theory of love and marriage with conviction.

You are in the best of positions to make NFP your friend since you are remaining chaste prior to marriage. It seems much harder for couples who have already habitually contracepted to embrace NFP since NFP relies on periodic abstinence.

The reason that NFP is not contraception is that while one aspect of it is avoiding conception… it does this by saving the sexual act, preserving the integrity of it, for its designed purpose only, whereas contraception seeks to interfere with the fertility, severing the sexual act altogether from its natural purpose. Sex is the outward expression of the marital communion of two people and to deliberately void the fertility of the union is to void the spiritual fertility of the marital union also. One would not go about making a cake without some vital ingredient for example, since the quality of the final product would be inedible and functionless.

Tough words but probably true. You may find him willing to become a Catholic and he might enthusiastically embrace the faith.

Or you may find that he would rather sleep in on Sunday morning and not support you in raising the children.

Tough words but probably true. You may find him willing to become a Catholic and he might enthusiastically embrace the faith.

Or you may find that he would rather sleep in on Sunday morning and not support you in raising the children.

He needs to understand that if he is going to marry a Catholic than contraception is off the table.

The reasoning is simple enough: “Because I’m Catholic”.

Also, nobody is actually ever ready to have children, ever. LOL.

My wife was Episcopalian so there were not any major differences. Now our daughter is attending Catholic Sunday school and my wife will be going through RCIA next year.:thumbsup:

We’re probably going to scare you off but it’s something you’ll need to come to terms with.

Contraception aside.

Does he know that as a Catholic you are, not only, obligated to Marry in the Church but part of your vows as a Catholic is to raise all children you may have within the Catholic faith? This means baptism and receiving all of the Sacraments and living a Catholic life?

Does he know that Sunday Mass and all Holy Days of Obligation for a Catholic are not just an obligation but actually mandatory?

Does he know that he needs to support you in this effort to raise his children Catholic?

If you look around the boards…you will see testimony from both sides. Mixed faith couples who live very Holy lives and are able to support each other and also support their Children within the Catholic faith.
You’ll also read plenty of cases where marriages are falling apart because their is too much of a big difference in faith.

Being Catholic is different. There are obligations that come with being Catholic that muse be adhered to.
Not so much within the non-Catholic communities.

I do have to say this…my husband is about as devote a Catholic you could find. He fully supports and agrees with the teachings of the Church and agrees that contraception is intrinsically evil.
BUT…he has never learned NFP or helped me out with NFP…basically citing the “I’m too busy with work” excuses.
It’s my job to interpret my cycles and to chart. I can’t tell you how hard this is when you are in your fertile period and your husband looks at you and says “how is the charting going.”
This is Catholic husband code speak for “is tonight a good night?”

He knows better now but it’s still frustrating and hard and we’ve goofed up at least once and got pregnant without intending to.

Imagine that happening with a husband who doesn’t support NFP. You goof up your charting and get pregnant without intending to and see what his reaction would be.

I’m the non-Catholic in my marriage. From the outside looking in this is one of the teachings that seem “odd” to put it kindly. Some of the language commonly used to explain it may or may not be helpful in explaining this issue. Though I disagree, I think it can be explained as:

In my faith we that the marital act is meant to strengthen the union of husband and wife and also to be open to life as the fruits of such unions. We believe it is wrong to alter ourselves (the pill, sterilization) or alter the act (barriers, withdrawal) from God’s design.

How do you view this issue?

I’m not Catholic, so obviously I disagree with the Church on many things. I believe it is a great point of friction for mixed faith and even Catholic couples. But my view isn’t important. What is important is your view on how this affects your salvation vs your desire to marry this man.

Also what is your experiences with natural family planning?

Virtually none. I understand the basic idea of it.

I know little about natural family planning but i feel like the goal is the same as condoms except you may experience getting pregnant when you feel you are not ready for children.

Once again, I’m not Catholic, but it is more about the method than the outcome. NFP changes the timing, other stuff changes the method. I believe NFP can put couples in an odd place of making life creating decisions in the heat of the moment when they may have decided otherwise in a different frame of mind.

How did you raise children in faith?

No children yet, but like other aspects of a relationship it is about compromise. For the most part I plan to stay out of the way except that I demand our future child understand and agree with the faith before attaining confirmation. (As opposed to doing so for culture or obligations.)

We are currently at a position where our conflicting views on faith could cause us to break up but are deeply concerned at how in love we feel.

Thanks for all your input!!! God bless

Such language can be problematic. There are practical concerns that can derail even the deepest of emotions. I’m sure someone else can chime in and explain it better.

Hi and welcome! Glad you’re here asking questions.
Call your chancery and ask if there are Natural Family Planning clinics available, and go and take them. I had variable periods, some longer, some shorter, and I found that with NFP I could tell when ovulation didn’t happen, and when it did. I think every Catholic girl should learn NFP so that she could understand her body much better, and avoid those awful surprises when a period comes when it’s not exactly expected.

When you’re a Catholic kid growing up, you learn some basics like God loves you, don’t lie, don’t steal. etc. but now that you’ve reached a certain age it’s time to explore in more depth what it means to be Catholic and live a married life. There are books to read, to really pause and soak in. Again, it’s too bad we don’t give our kids this info sooner but you are an adult and responsible. Ask what books you should be reading in preparation for married life.

May God guide and strengthen you during this time!


All very true.

I’m not sure how old you and your boyfriend are, but I have some recommendations for you to read/listen too.

A book on Theology of the Body (written for teens and young adults) –lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/title/theology-of-his-body-her-body?promoCode=104130

A number of CDs on Catholic Family Life & Catholic Parenting: lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/categories?promoCode=104130&category=family-parenting

Other books on Theology of the Body: ascensionpress.com/t/category/books-and-pamphlets/theology-of-the-body

Also, as note: I married someone when I was away from the faith. Now that I’m practicing again, it is very hard. The top two issues in any marriage are money and how to raise the children. When mother and father are of different faiths, even if they are both Christian, it can be difficult.

And even if you agree now, it’s possible that once the kids come, someone’s heart might change (for the better or worse).

So my personal recommendation is to only marry Catholic. But if you don’t, please do everything possible to make sure your kids are raised Catholic and that you are married in the Church or with dispensation.

God Bless!

As a Lutheran Missouri Synod married to a Catholic, who was lapsed when we married and agreed to basically “be” Lutheran, then changed his mind 8 months into our going on 9 years marriage, I would phrase his comment this way:

If your boyfriend is smart, and doesn’t want his life dictated by the phrase “because the Catholic Church says so”, he would not marry a Catholic.

We are making it work, and honestly 6-7 years ago I would have argued that an interdenominational marriage can work…it frankly SUCKS in a lot of ways.

I was fine with NFP before our first kid…it’s failure led to #2 sooner than planned. Now I’m done having kids, two extremely hard pregnancies, and coping with PPD and PPA afterwards are just too much to go through again. My husband is adamantly against me being permanently sterilized. So basically we are abstaining, apparently we will be for a LOOOONG time. Fun Times, and really tough on our marriage.

Issues we have now range from how to raise the kids, where to go to church on holidays, his inability to miss mass for ANYTHING, including a vacation, decorating (seriously how many crucifixes can you hang in a house…). It has become the biggest single hurdle in our marriage.

People on this sight will paint NFP like it’s some sort of solve all problem in marriage…it makes you closer, you will show your love more…etc. It’s not true. It’s work, EVERYDAY. You will have to do some combination of the following: chart, take your temp, pee in a cup, buy monitors, check your mucus level etc. It’s basically a TON of work. I did it for a cumulative total of three years. You have to be very cautious and if you really want to avoid you are limited to days you can have sex, and you cannot make exceptions. period. I know, we messed up one time…and had #2.

This will probably not dissuade you. I know I fought tooth and nail telling people they could make it work and to go for it when we were first married. Now…I say run for the hills to the non catholic spouse. It’s actually kind of sad…because I used to think the Catholic Church was beautiful and had wonderful tradition…now all I think when is how much pain it’s brought to my marriage with it’s no compromise, no negotiation, no quarter stance.

Also, many people here will also tell you these happy fuzzy stories about how it was tough in an interfaith marriage, but eventually their spouse went through RCIA, and now everything is rainbows and unicorns. This may happen for some, but for many it doesn’t. So don’t hope for it…because it’s unfair to you and your boyfriend. I’ve also talked to many people in my husbands parish that converted simply to keep the peace, but will freely admit it wasn’t what they wanted. You don’t want that either.

So think about it carefully before you do this and get TON’s of counseling, from someone not in the Catholic Church, before moving forward.

Wow…you know there are faithful protestants out there too. We don’t all just sleep in and ignore our kids. I am the protestant in an interfaith marriage and I actually do most of the child rearing and go to church regularly.

Just to clarify, my boyfriend is not opposed to nfp he doesnt actually know about it. I just found out about it yesterday. Could anyone point me to some resources about it? I only know very little about it. How long do you have to abstain?

It depends on your personal needs and physiology. Best case scenario, about two weeks of abstinence per cycle. Conservative NFP would be about 10 days available for marital relations per cycle (with the possibility that the cycle will be very long). Breastfeeding and perimenopause or other weirdness may involve yet more abstinence.

You figure out very quickly how motivated you are.

Good luck!

So NFP did NOT fail.

I sincerely sympathise with your position. Your husband seems to be excerpting a higher degree of control over you than he is entitled to. I think that you would benefit from expressing your case to your husband in the presence of a Priest or someone in the Church that a Priest could refer you to for counselling. I think your situation warrants that.

That’s really great advice for two people who love one another.

Having been married for 20 years to a non-Catholic I can list lots of problems, but not unsurmountable if both are considerate.

There are 4 commonly used methods used in the US.

  • Billings Ovulation Method
  • Creighton (based on Billings)
  • Symptothermal (taught by Couple to Couple League)
  • Marquette

Each has advantages and disadvantages, but generally follow the same rules in general.

For abstaining there will generally be 3-5 days during heavy bleeding during menstruation. In Billings and Creighton you have to abstain the day after intercourse in the pre-fertile phase (roughly half of that phase is abstaining), all of the fertile phase + 3 days past peak fertility. For my wife and I it is generally about 14 days out of a 28 day cycle that we have to abstain if we are postponing pregnancy. A typical breakout might look like:

4 days abstain during menses
5 days pre fertility (every other night available [2 days abstain])
5 days of fertile mucus (5 days abstain)
3 days post peak (3 days abstain)
11 days post fertility (0 days abstain)

As you can see “available days” are back loaded in the cycle. For the first 2.5 weeks of her cycle we might only have 3 days available. How do we deal with it? By having 6 kids. Everyone of our kids were planned atleast 5 minutes in advance. :wink:

What many people that practice NFP find is that their reasons for postponing may not be as important as being intimate.

Before my wife and I became Catholic we used contraception. Basically then we saw children as something you chose rather than a natural good and outcome of marriage. Not having children is the passive default position, so it’s easy to put it off for years. Once we converted and embraced NFP we had to change our mindset. Instead of only saying yes to children when we felt like it, we started to ask if we wanted to sacrifice the marital embrace for a short time. It is a question we ask ourselves every month. If it’s not a positive “yes, we need to delay for x, y, z reason” then we just let nature take it’s course.

I see the strong desire during a woman’s fertile phase as a God given gift to cooperate with him in creating life. To turn down that gift is an act of will and should be done with full intent after careful consideration.

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