Wife No Longer Open to Marriage Act after Contraception Discussion

Started coming back into communion with the Church past several years. Been civilly married to my wife for 5+ years. Have had both girls (2 under 6yo) baptized in the Catholic Church, started going to weekly mass this year, more regular confession, almost daily rosary, lots of vices/deficiencies still struggle with but working on it.

Earlier this year resolved to get married in the Church, wife was open to it, parish priest did not require us to do marriage prep given the length of our civil union and I didn’t push him to, so he’s not entirely culpable(we may have given off a different perception of what we both knew of the Catholic faith). He ran us through the requirements, one of them being ‘open to children’, wife didn’t have any problems at the time. We abstained leading up to it, wife didn’t have any problems with that. Had the sacrament of marriage this summer.

We finally had the contraception talk, much too late, my fault, I know, after she told me she changed her mind and no longer was open to a 3rd+ child. Historically she has said anywhere from 2-4, often 3 or 4 and hasn’t been on a contraceptive since our first child. She freaked out, called me a crazy Catholic, we talked about a bunch of things(basis of morality, examples in trans-mutilation, abortion etc)(we had sadly done contraception and cohabitated prior to civil marriage). Apparently she thought she’d already been ‘open to children’ since she’d given us 2 kids and thought that was the entirety of what it meant. She says she wouldn’t have gotten ‘church married’ if she knew thats what it was going to be like, even though I told her I would have started practicing that(no-contraception) regardless. The sacramental marriage was in part, so we could be intimate morally, for me even if she doesn’t understand that or believe in that. She is not currently open to NFP.

Anyway I know I made many mistakes in bringing my wife along in the faith and being open to what I believe and values I need to hold, even endangering the validity of our sacramental marriage. Now she is still friendly, loving and things are ‘normal’ except at night, not that we were regularly intimate with small kids etc, but knowing that she has shut herself off and no longer wants to be intimate or open to the possibility given potential ‘consequences’ makes it hard. Was really hard the first couple nights, after she falls asleep I’ve taken to saying a rosary till I fall asleep, working to be a good husband and father in the daytime.

Just venting I guess, fully aware of my culpability in arriving here

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This is why, while popular in the Catholic-o-sphere, the Church does not use such a squishy phrase.

Each marital act must be ordered toward procreation. That is Church teaching, and it makes things clear.

Can we use our free will to disobey that teaching? Yep.

You may want to read “Sex Au Natural” and “A Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning”

No. No no no no no.

Your marriage cannot be made invalid because one or both of you commit a sin.


Thanks for replying Little Lady, she is not open to NFP at this time, will look into those resources though. As for the validity of the marriage I more meant that she was not fully consenting to the precepts of the marriage as she did not properly understand it when she gave her vows, I wouldn’t seek an anulment anyway regardless.

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“Accept children from God” is the vow. Pretty low bar.

If she found out tomorrow that she is pregnant, the vows do not mean she has to squeal with glee, it means that she will not go abort the child.

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This is an amazing resource.


Do you know why she is not open to having more children?

Could you ask?

I know that I was open to having several children, but I gained a lot of weight (60 pounds) with my second pregnancy, and I was horribly sick to my stomach for several days following the C-section (I have since discovered that I cannot tolerate certain anesthesia, and so have to have a special “mx” whenever I have surgery).

Also, I am not a person who can go without sleep–some people get mellow, but I get useless and angry and I eat entire bags of cookies in one sitting and then eat another bag a few hours later, and I get very very unapproachable and cry without stopping. I’m still that way, even after 62 years–if I go more than one night without at least 7 hours of sleep all at once, watch out!

So I told my husband no way after our second child. It didn’t help that we had no family nearby and anytime we wanted to go out, we would have to pay for a sitter, and we only had one income because I stopped working for pay after my second child was born.

I think it would be helpful for you to know why your wife has put the kabosh on more kidlets.

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But have you actually talked to her about this? It doesn’t sound like it to be honest.

I think I know what you’re referring to. We’ve talked about it several times since the initial conversation and the gist of her stance is that she’s happy with our family as is, with the 2 kids we have and as such is not open to any further intimate relations if it means being open to the possibility of procreation.

What are we talking about Cecilia? Thanks just for clarification

Your wife has already given you two beautiful children. I would quit pushing her for more. Marriages can and do break over that kind of consistent pressure from one spouse to the other. I would love the children you have with your whole heart. I am sure you already do.

With regards to the problem you have regarding contraception…she doesn’t have the same value system you do. I believe Church teaching is that it is OK for you to have relations with her, even if she is using contraception, as long as you let her know you don’t agree with her doing so. Check with your priest, though. And don’t be railroaded into using condoms since your conscience goes against it.

Your post I replied to has gone. You had posted as to wly you felt your wife did not want anymore children. You said she was hanging on to leftist opinions, or something like that.

I was just remarking that it doesn’t sound like you’d actually discussed It with her. As in properly dlscussed it.

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QwertyGirl thank you, I am not pushing her for more children, I just told her I wouldn’t be using contraception if we were going to be intimate, thus intimacy has stopped because she is not open to more children. And no the Church’s teaching is that it is absolutely not ok for one to have relations no matter who is using contraception just because one party does not share the same value system.

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I believe that Qwertygirl is correct in what she said. I have seen it posted here several times before with a suggestion to maybe abstain during the fertile times if you can figure out when those are, or something to that effect.

I’m sure that someone with more knowledge then I will respond in due time.

This is not true.

With that said, I am not trying to encourage you to go against your value system. I was encouraging you to talk to your priest for guidance and more information. That is all.


She is not open to natural family planning. We’ve discussed the issue several times since the initial time I brought it up. Her stance is she is not open to more children, thus will not be intimate without contraception. Thanks all, its a struggle we’re going through, maybe she’ll come around or God will bring something good out of it regardless I’m sure.

Let me give an example and it may help or not.

I have had a vasectomy for reasons I no longer wish to discuss on here. When I talked to my priest, he asked if I was sorry for having it done, I said yes and he asked again and I said yes. He absolved me of that sin.

When I am married again, I am free to have sexual relations even though I am technically always contracepting per this priest and a couple others.


Qwertygirl, it is not ok for one party to engage in an immoral act just because the other party doesn’t believe its immoral, this is basic catechisis, you need to cite something supporting your view.


I understand lonegreywolf, that is not my situation. thank you, Its not a sin either for older couples to engage in sex even when they’re past child bearing age, but that’s not my situation.

Here is some brief information. I suggest you investigate further.

"the clearest teaching of the Church came in a 1997 Vatican document called the Vademecum for Confessors. It notes that cooperation in the sin of one’s spouse, by continuing to engage in the marital act when the spouse has taken recourse to contraception, can be permissible when “proportionally grave reasons” exist for doing so, and when one is earnestly “seeking to help the other spouse to desist from such sinful conduct (patiently, with prayer, charity and dialogue; although not necessarily in that moment, nor on every single occasion).”


It doesn’t specify what ‘proportionately grave reasons’ are, and since it is a sin, I’m not gonna do it, there’s no reason to cooperate in that action when I can do the other stuff to help her desist (prayer, charity and dialogue when appropriate) without engaging in sinful actions.

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