Please know that I am not blaming you, I truly am trying to help, and I hope it comes across that way. You may or may not do some (or all) of the things I mention. So these solutions may or may not apply to you and/or your wife.
Let me begin by saying that generally, as a wife, I do not care how much my husband knows until I know how much he cares. In other words, when I am having trouble understanding a teaching because it’s emotionally difficult to accept, I don’t want a sermon or a lecture. I want to know that my feelings are valid (even if my ideas are wrong), and that my husband accepts and cares about my feelings and tries to understand them, even if he does not agree with my thoughts on the matter.
Let me repeat that part in different words, because it’s important to understand this: I want my husband to hear and respect my feelings, but he does not have to agree with me. I just want to know that he’s on my side, that he understands where I’m coming from, and he accepts that my heart and head may take a little time to “get together” on this. (Usually, it’s my heart first, then my head follows later. For my husband, it’s generally the other way around.)
You probably do “speak a different language” than your wife, in a sense, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if the goal is for her to follow Church teaching… and Catholic friends are getting her to do that and you are not… then perhaps you should respectfully encourage her to discuss it with them. Another option is to change your approach to something closer to what the friends are doing.
In your post, this jumped out at me:
…she had decided to stop after talking to a couple girlfriends about it who are Catholic and my wife began to wonder if she was being stubborn and resisting God in all of this. So she stopped even though she still doesn’t understand why it is wrong…
Since she doesn’t understand the teaching, I suspect her friends didn’t really use logic to get her to change her behavior, right? So why are you looking for the “right words” to explain the teachings to her? It sounds like you’re appealing to logic… but I don’t think that’s what she needs, necessarily. At least not at first.
Try this: instead of offering information or solutions (you don’t have to dismiss them, just put them on the back burner so you can adapt them as you gain more information about her concerns), first let her talk about it, and you LISTEN. Don’t interrupt with explanations, solutions, reasons, logic, Church teachings, etc.
See, your purpose in doing this is NOT to “fix” her perspective. If she’s resisting your explanations, then it may be sounding to her like that’s exactly what you’re trying to do (and she’s probably trying to subtly get you to acknowledge that she’s not “broken” just because she feels a certain way). Keep reminding yourself that the first goal is not to get her to understand the teaching or change her mind, but rather, to understand how she feels. Try asking her clarifying questions about what she says. Really pay attention to what her concerns are, what her feelings are. If appropriate, share with her your own struggles and let her know you are together in this, especially when it’s not easy. Then, when you have all of this information, you might be able to meet her on common ground and explain things in a way she will more easily comprehend.
Or you might find that she really just wanted her feelings validated, to feel heard and understood and accepted where and as she is, and then she may be ready to make those changes on her own, even if she still doesn’t understand the teaching, like she did with the artificial birth control.
After she knows how much you care (appealing to her heart), if she really wants explanations (for her head), I’d suggest showing her where to find the information in the CCC, and where to find other resources (such as Theology of the Body, Letter to Women, etc.) she can read as the mood strikes her–or that you two can read and discuss together (so that it doesn’t come across like a “professor to student” lecture).
It might also be good to encourage her to take some RCIA classes, even if she doesn’t intend to convert right now.
Will say a prayer for you! :gopray2: