Protestant husband insists on getting a vasectomy against my wishes- can I get a legal separation?

My husband is scheduled to get a vasectomy against my wishes as a Catholic. We have talked about it extensively and he does not care about my feelings in the matter. Because of this, I honestly feel that if he goes through with this, I will not be able to be a normal wife to him. I will not be able to have sex with him as I will see it as him using my body for pleasure alone. And especially since he will have done this completely against my wishes eventhough I may want another child in the future someday, I don’t know how I can love him really (just being honest sorry). Does anyone know if a Catholic can get a legal separation, rather than an official divorce? We have 5 children. thanks

You need to talk to your priest about this before breaking up your family. And it sounds like couples counseling might be a good idea, as well. The Church does not advocate people breaking up over one spouse committing mortal sin. The family is much too important to dissolve it for such a reason. No matter your feelings, he’s your husband and you have 5 children together. I reiterate, you need to talk to your priest and perhaps get counseling.

I have talked to my priest alone, and honestly he did not say very much. He was very casual. My husband is going to have this done in about 10 days, so it’s basically too late to get counseling before he does it. I have asked many times for him to cancel it or at least postpone again. He just repeats over and over that he has cancelled twice before and does not want to. He is digging in his heels. what now?

Try another priest–one who is known for his wisdom, seek him out, and pray. Have you asked yourself why your dh is so insistent on getting the procedure? What does he fear? Why would having more children be so bad in his eyes? This is where counseling comes in–sorting out what’s behind his decision. And ten days is not too short a time to find someone to help you. Call your diocese and ask for counselors who deal with family issues. But whatever happens, don’t give up on your marriage over this.

My understanding is that you can continue to have intercourse with him. You have made your objections known to him and refuse to be complicit in his sin. His choice to have a vasectomy renders HIS end of the marital act sterile - but not YOUR end. You would not be sinning by having intercourse with him.

Please, please, please consider counselling before you decide to end your marriage. My DH went through a divorce (the marriage was annulled - his ex stated that she didn’t see marriage as an indissoluble covenant and left him) and it was extremely hard on him and DSD (dear stepdaughter). You might consider Retrouvaille.

First point, sorry if this sounds harsh - you have 5 children so I don’t think blaming him for stopping you having any more children is fair or valid. Look at some other threads regarding infertility and count yourself lucky you have been fortunate enough to have 5.

Second point, if you have 5 children, I’m guessing you have been married for a while? Woe I understand your hurt on this topic since you are catholic and this sort of thing is not allowed in the catholic faith - I am finding it hard to understand why it would be the reason to stop you loving your husband and thinking if separation? Is there something else at play here? Maybe other reasons which have built up over time and this is just the last straw.

I’m still learning the catholic faith so I don’t know if this is true, but since your husband is Protestant, this sort of thing is allowed - would it mean you were also committing a sin even though you have not improved? Surely it would just fall onto your husband? (From the catholics perspective).

I think there is more at play here and you need to try and have open communications with your husband and ask why he needs to go through with the procedure and not just through NFP. Maybe he thinks you are being greedy? Maybe he is happy with the children you already have, doesn’t want anymore? Maybe it’s a way for him to make sure there is no other children? Women can be very sneaky with birth control even if it is via NFP. I’m not saying you have a dishonest nature, but I know how being broody feels and the power of the hormones at play.

I hope it works out for you :slight_smile:

I guess I just don’t see the “point” of intimacy when it comes with such a massive betrayal and renders us only being partially intimate (for lack of a better word) in the eyes of God.

Your first paragraph is outrageously offensive. Also, if you are not Catholic, why are you contributing here? You don’t seem to have an understanding of what this issue means to a true Catholic.

Thank you for responding.

I do understand what it means for you but your husband is Protestant. Even though the catholic belief sees it as a sin, his doesn’t but more importantly you have openly opposed the idea so you yourself can’t be in sin. Which another poster has pointed out too. You can’t be that much opposed to his difference in belief, otherwise you wouldn’t have married him.

I didn’t mean to offend, I was only being honest. I find it offensive that you think just because I’m not a catholic I won’t understand. But i guess thats the problem with todays world, most can only see it from their own perspective/belief system, which is why you want to separate from a man who is doing something perfectly acceptable in his religion but not in yours. Go look at other threads and you’ll see I’ve offered advice from a catholic perspective even though I’m not catholic.

I guess I’m just in shock you would want to separate from a man who is having a vasectomy when you already have 5kids (note I’m not saying wanting another child is wrong only it’s not like you don’t have any and he is going through with it) and there will be no sin on your part. But then what do I know…I’m not catholic…:shrug:

You want to get a legal separation because you chose to marry a protestant man and now you’re shocked that he isn’t obeying Church teaching on sexual ethics?

I always felt like topics of this enormity are undeserved being discussed over an internet forum, especially given the tremendous emotional weight attached to them, but getting a civil seperation is a mortal sin except for the sake of extraordinary circumstances, such as protecting yourself from an abusive spouse. You can’t leave your husband because he’s contracepting (I mean, technically you can, but that action is going to be on your head). You can make your objections abundantly clear and then work on the marriage from there. Setting aside that you have no just ground to get a divorce for such reasons, you also have 5 children, which makes a civil divorce all the more outrageous, and even an informal separation would be enormously uncharitable for them. This is something you’ll have to cope with, with prayer and patience. To be perfectly honest I cannot conceive how this is going to be anything other than extremely difficult, but that’s okay, because in our weakness, God’s strength is made perfect. You must go above and beyond in striving towards holiness with this matter.

Either way, you should talk extensively to a Catholic marriage counselor and/or priest about this. Gathering in opinions over the internet can probably do more harm than it can do good. You’re prone to either run into people that are mindlessly sympathetic to your cause and entice you to do what is evil, or you’ll get guys like me that are as about as graceful as a ball of lead.

God bless. You are in my prayers. :hug1:

There are a couple of things here to look into. First, of course, is your feeling of betrayal. That needs to be worked on. It is really, really harmful for kids to have their parents separate or divorce. Go to counselling, speak to a wise priest, pray to God, speak with your husband, find a way to work through this feeling of betrayal, to try to understand why your husband feels it necessary, to forgive him, and to heal your relationship. Do not even begin to think about separating until you have truly done everything you can to fix and heal your marriage.

Second, why do you think it will be only partially intimate in the eyes of God? Marital relations are not less intimate simply because they are sterile. Post-menopausal and pregnant women do not have a less intimate marital relationship than fertile women. Which means that what you are referring to as being offensive to God is not the sterility, but the sin of the act of making oneself sterile. Here’s the thing though, that is a one-time action. Even in the Church when one repents after a sterilization there is no requirement to have it reversed, all that is necessary is the repentance and confession. Your marital relationship will not be less holy, or intimate simply because your spouse is unable to conceive. Yes, what your husband is planning to do is wrong, and it injures you by taking the possibility of future kids away from you. But it is a one-time wrong, and as Catholics we are called to forgive those who wrong us. You have protested against this act, it is not your sin, and having relations with a sterile spouse is also not a sin. The only offense against God involved here is your husbands act of getting sterilized, and even then there is a very definite chance that he would not be culpable for that act, at least not gravely so. Your relationship will not be offensive to God, nor would it be less holy or intimate. What we do know would be offensive to God is if you broke up your family, broke your vows over something that was not sufficiently serious (such as physical and emotional abuse to you and your children).

No, and tell him he is an idiot. He should laugh, unless the relationship is sketchy… If so, sorry, and I hope he doesn’t get one :wink:


Sorry, steph410. TK421 is right.

Your husband has made 2 previous appointments and cancelled them. Did you attempt to get couples counseling after he made those two appointments?

You talked about this very thing, here over a month ago. What happened then?

I just looked into some more of your posts and it looks as though the issue here goes far far deeper than just his decision to get a vasectomy. OP, in July you posted that you hated your husband and wanted to get a divorce, despite being Catholic. I’m sorry for how harsh my previous post must have sounded, there is clearly a lot of background and emotions, on both sides, tied up in your current desire for a separation. I am afraid I do not really have good advice for you beyond finding professionals who can help you try to fix your marriage, but I will pray for you.

Also… the way you phrased things in another thread makes me wonder, how many children did you conceive while trying to avoid using NFP? You said

He claims nfp “doesn’t work”. To me it has worked to space the kids, I don’t think it was meant to eliminate the possibility of kids.

I have to say that your husbands actions would be much more understandable if it turns out that multiple of your children were conceived while trying to avoid.

Having gone back and looked at some of your previous threads, it really does sound like you’re looking for an excuse to leave your husband. Have you considered that one of the reasons he wants the vasectomy is he doesn’t think bringing any more children into a bad situation is wise?

How old are the five children you already have? How would you support them once you and your husband separate? Yes, he’d be ordered to pay support, but trust me, your standard of living will go way down. And that is assuming he’ll pay the support and not go to the extraordinary lengths some men go through to not pay support.

My aunt got pregnant and had a baby after her husband had a vasectomy. My cousin is for sure the child of my uncle because 1) they did a potency test and found two swimmers. It only takes one, 2) They did a paternity test, 3) My cousin looks just like her dad. If it’s really God’s will for you to have another child, a little thing like vasectomy won’t stop it.

It’s always hard when your partner isn’t on the same page as you regarding sexual and religious issues. However, he has “free will” and that includes the choice to make bad decisions.

That said, if he really doesn’t want more kids, then that’s something you need to respect. It sounds like things are already unstable in the marriage and adding another kid into the situation might just make things worse than they are now. Like others have said, find another priest to talk to. One that seems more attentive and understands the urgency of the situation…(though, that could be hard given that it is Advent - just being practical.)

(Also, while I understand that OP is a Catholic and this is a Catholic forum, I feel led to say that there are people who aren’t Catholic who have experienced these issues as well. I’ve found that most the people (regardless of religious status) on CAF really do want to help and be supportive towards other members who are seeking advice. Blowing up at our non-Catholic friends isn’t helpful. That post just bothered me. A lot.)

I hope that you find the help that is needed. Separation is a huge step and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I can’t imagine being a single mom caring for 5 kids. I still can’t figure out how people do it with one or two - except through sheer willpower. I’m so glad to have ‘backup’ when I get overwhelmed. You don’t get that as a single parent. Not often - anyway.

If you are serious about leaving, you shouldn’t do it in an emotional fit. You need to plan it out. Make sure you’ve got a job, money to afford living in your own place - take care of you and your kid’s needs, etc. It’s a lot cheaper to try to work out your problems. Child support and welfare only get you so far and that’s assuming you get sole custody of the kids. Don’t expect to have the same standard of living than when you are married.

It’s said that one of the biggest predictors of being in poverty is being a single mom.

Good luck to you.

Please don’t separate over the vasectomy. Your children’s world will be rocked by this. They are not directly affected in a daily way by a vasectomy, any more than they would be if you chose to use NFP indefinitely. They will not be directly affected by the decline of your romantic life. I’m not saying it is ok, or that they won’t be INdirectly affected, but not to the degree that their lives will suddenly become worse because of this choice of his. But they will be monumentally affected by their world being split into 2 by a separation. If there is something else going on in the marriage that makes a home with both of you living together unsuitable for the children, then yes, do separate. But for the sake of the kids, please don’t do it over the vasectomy.

And go to counseling AFTER the vasectomy, if you can’t get in before, and if your husband won’t delay it. You can still benefit from the counseling, and your kids will benefit from it, even if your husband goes through with the procedure as it appears he will.

I think there was a thread very similar to this one where an apologist even got involved and answered. I think he basically said if the spouse of the one having the vasectomy had made her wishes clear, she was not involved in any sin, didn’t need to have to worry about that.

Can you go to a Catholic Counselor, or Retrovaille rather than separate over this?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit