I have been struggling with a few issues lately and could use some guidance (and prayers).
- Sex and Family -
DH and I have been married for 10 years. We have 2 children DS 3 and DD 1. After DD was born DH felt strongly that our family is complete. I was able to convince DH not to get a vasectomy and for us to stop using condoms and to give NFP a try (Praise God:thumbsup:). I was worried because I was (and still am) breastfeeding and my cycles had not returned. They recently have and charting seems to be going well so far. I have no problem abstaining during the fertile times but I seem to have a much lower libido than normal I think;). My problem? It is my understanding that the Catholic Church requires that each and all sex acts be “ordered toward procreation” even if they occur in infertile times. (There seems to be some debate about whether oral or manual stimulation can be part of foreplay or take place before or after sex that does finish in a procreative manner?) Before returning to the church we would sometimes engage in sexual acts that would not fit this description. DH on occasion still sometimes requests to give or receive sexual acts that are not in themselves “ordered toward procreation”. Sometimes these have been on fertile days and other times on infertile “green days”. Although I feel guilty about it, I have given in to these requests on a few occasions.
DH claims he has read the actual texts of Theology of the Body and doesn’t really care about Christopher West’s (in his opinion overly conservative) interpretation. DH believes that openness to life is over the course of a marriage rather than about policing each and every sex act. He says that he thinks that he is open to life, considering we have had 2 children - the first one even when doctors were advising abortion due to complications and the second even though it was an unplanned pregnancy. If we become pregnant again we will absolutely be open to having more.
DH proposed a situation with 2 couples: The first couple have steady jobs and good health, never engage in “non-procreative sex acts”, and use NFP to strictly restrict sex only to on fertile times in order to avoid having any or more than one child. The second couple have 6 children and hope to have more. They are using NFP to actively conceive more children. They are very open to life but on occasion like to “spice it up” with acts that are not in themselves ordered to life as part of the unitive aspects of sex and marriage (which is equally important with the procreative aspect). Which couple is actually more open to life?
It seems to me that engaging in non procreative sex acts during a fertile time, if we would not be willing to engage in procreative sex acts during that time would be potentially contraceptive. If such acts are done in a non-fertile time - I don’t know… I would just prefer to stick to plain old boring “making love the old fashioned way” but I know that it was a big leap of faith for DH to follow NFP and I don’t want to have him frustrated away from NFP totally… I also do want to consider his needs in terms of the unitive aspects of our marriage… I’m guessing that if I do not he will probably end up “sexually satisfying himself”
I have read that in some cases if one spouse insists on using contraception despite the concerns or the other partner that intercourse may not be considered sinful for the partner that does not want to use contraception. I’m not sure whether that would apply in this case, or whether it would depend if my husband is requesting to be on the receiving or giving end of acts that are not in themselves “ordered to procreation”.
I know that NFP can be morally used to space or limit births for moral/just reasons. I don’t feel like we are called by God to have another baby at this time. I do feel like using NFP to avoid is moral and acceptable at our current point in time. I want to keep my heart and mind open to the possibility that we might feel compelled by God to expand our family in a few years. DH says his intention as of now is to use NFP indefinitely to time intercourse to only infertile periods with the intent of permanently limiting our family size to its current size, unless of course God has other plans and we would gladly welcome another child if a pregnancy were to occur. Is this acceptable use of NFP?