I am a recently married man with a question on church teaching regarding sexuality in marriage. My wife and I are practicing NFP and are postponing having a child because we just got married and are trying to figure out finances etc and make sure we are ready before we dive in.
That being said, during phase 2 we would sometimes express our love for each other outside of sexual intercourse ‘fooling around’. It is my understanding that basically doing anything that results in climax outside of …let us say a way in which is open to life…is always wrong.
With that knowledge, and trying to abstain completely during our fertile period, we try to be good catholics…but I’ll be honest and say that since we have tried to be better, I am constantly battling the temptations of masturbation and pornography…and when I win those battles I find myself more and more frustrated, an attitude I can see affecting my marriage.
You know what I saw when we allowed ourselves to express a physical love for each other that didn’t involve sex? We cuddled more, we said I love you more, we spent more time together, and we were happier. If I am to judge things based on their fruits…what am I to make of this?
I understand the possible temptations to objectify one’s spouse or to use them as a sexual release…this is not what we did. I found myself inspired to love my wife in a certain way, and I did. Expecting nothing in return nor looking for anything, and sometimes, randomly, she would do the same. Each act was an act of us giving a gift to the other without expectation of anything, nor seeking anything selfish. But it just worked out to be a great way to show our love for eachother and at the same time it quelled any other temptations.
I understand the symbolism of sexuality as a sign of God’s love for us and the importance of being open to life (hence the NFP), and during the infertile stages we exclusively have sex. But I feel like maybe we are taking that symbolism too far…and that like all analogies there is a breaking point.
Am I crazy? Am I missing something? Where in the Bible does God say “I don’t want you to satisfy your wife and then hold her close and say you love her for an hour…that is bad”