With holding sex vs. Using ABC -- what is "worse"?


#1

Here is a situation:

A Catholic married couple have 3 children. The wife wants another child. The husband does not. He feels they can not afford another, and that he & his wife are not emotionally capable of nurturing another child.

The wife decides to withhold sex completely until he changes his mind. She claims that she is just being a good Catholic by refusing to have sex with her husband, who wants to use protection. He says she is NOT being a good Catholic wife, due to her withholding the marital embrace. He says he is willing to be the one to take precautions, so it is not her sin. He knows her real motive -- to strong-arm him into another baby. He knows because she has told this to some other people, who then told him.

I think the wife is wrong here, even though I know the husband wants to sin by using ABC. I think he has a good reason to not want another child, as this whole situation seems to prove that their marriage is in peril, and it would be bad to add another child into the equation. Others disagree with me. What say you?


#2

The wife is in the right. The husband should not use ABC; if the husband is intent upon using ABC the wife should withold sex; for to concede to that both would be in sin.

The family should either abstain or use NFP.


#3

Does the wife know about the finances? Does she handle money well? Does she have rational reasons?

For instance, it might seem good to have a big age gap, but as children grow older this is much harder. It's tough when all are young but having pre-teens wanting to do things and a toddler is MUCH harder in my opinion.

To me it seems that the husband just wants sex and is willing to put himself and his wife into a sinful position to get it. (artificial birth control). There is NO reason to use ABC unless sex is the only thing that matters. It sterilizes the act. The wife wants a baby and is being manipulative but not necessarily sinful.


#4

They both need some good, solid, spiritual counseling. Neither is doing the right thing. Both are at fault.


#5

[quote="Jennifer_J, post:4, topic:208058"]
They both need some good, solid, spiritual counseling. Neither is doing the right thing. Both are at fault.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#6

[quote="Jennifer_J, post:4, topic:208058"]
They both need some good, solid, spiritual counseling. Neither is doing the right thing. Both are at fault.

[/quote]

I agree to a point. Howver, the wife has a right not to engage in contraceptive sex. The husband doesn't have the right to insist on contraceptive sex.

Step One - meet with a priest. Lay out all the particulars and, together with the priest, determine if there is a good reason to delay another pregnancy. The wife should agree to abide by this.

Step Two - if #1 is "yes" go to a good NFP class together. The husband should agree to abide by this.

Concurrent with #1 and #2 above, get to a good Catholic marriage counselor. The couple is using sex and babies and weapons and that never ends well regardless of who is more right/wrong.


#7

[quote="Jennifer_J, post:4, topic:208058"]
They both need some good, solid, spiritual counseling. Neither is doing the right thing. Both are at fault.

[/quote]

Correct. Absinence for a married couple is only by mutual consent and for limited time.[BIBLEDRB]1 Corinthians 7:3-5[/BIBLEDRB]

Also, ABC is a sin. They should be encouraged to use NFP - if the husband is involved (i.e. taking and recording her basal temperature) then he can perceive more control over the matter.

If the husband persists in using ABC over the objections of the wife, she is not guilty of sin. He cannot force her to take the pill, however. If she consents to that then she becomes guilty as well.


I do know one couple who completely abstained for a couple of months while one of them insisted they were done with children (they otherwise use NFP). It was actually the higher-libido husband who suggested this and the wife agreed. They have since resolved the issue.


#8

So is she not willing to use NFP because she wants another baby? And I assume the husband wants to use a condom because his wife will not use NFP and he doesn't like the idea of being strong-armed into having another child. Sounds like we have a Mexican standoff going here and they are just waiting to see who flinches first.

I would say they are both in the wrong; they really shouldn't be threatening each other with babies and contraceptive devices just to get their way.

Makes me wonder though: is using NFP a right or a privilege? Does the wife have to provide the data needed to have sex while avoiding children in order to fulfill the marriage debt? I assume she is willing to fulfill the marriage debt she just isn't willing to provide any data about her fertility.


#9

[quote="Corki, post:6, topic:208058"]
I agree to a point. *However, the wife has a right not to engage in contraceptive sex. The husband doesn't have the right to insist on contraceptive sex. *

Step One - meet with a priest. Lay out all the particulars and, together with the priest, determine if there is a good reason to delay another pregnancy. The wife should agree to abide by this.

Step Two - if #1 is "yes" go to a good NFP class together. The husband should agree to abide by this.

Concurrent with #1 and #2 above, get to a good Catholic marriage counselor. The couple is using sex and babies and weapons and that never ends well regardless of who is more right/wrong.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: I think the bolded is a very important point. But yes they should both compromise and use NFP until they cam come to an agreement (with a spiritual director/priest) to when to stop avoiding.


#10

This marriage is in serious trouble. There is indication of sinfulness on both sides as well as immaturity and selfishness. Clearly they need counseling.


#11

I'm not married but I don't think you have to be to see what's going on here. Both partners are in a power struggle over what they want which brings to mind the the Pat Benatar song "Don't Use Sex as a Weapon"...good advice even though it's just a song. I think both are wrong in the way they are going about their argument.


#12

[quote="Seatuck, post:10, topic:208058"]
This marriage is in serious trouble. There is indication of sinfulness on both sides as well as immaturity and selfishness. Clearly they need counseling.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:8, topic:208058"]
Makes me wonder though: is using NFP a right or a privilege? Does the wife have to provide the data needed to have sex while avoiding children in order to fulfill the marriage debt? I assume she is willing to fulfill the marriage debt she just isn't willing to provide any data about her fertility.

[/quote]

If the husband is actively involved (as he should be) then she can't hide the information. If he consents to use NFP but refuses to participate in taking temperature/analysis, then she must provide the information.

Also, she should not plan an "accident" while using NFP. First, it is deception (false witness/lying). Second, the husband would be less likely to continue using NFP.


#13

[quote="SonCatcher, post:12, topic:208058"]
Also, she should not plan an "accident" while using NFP. First, it is deception (false witness/lying). Second, the husband would be less likely to continue using NFP.

[/quote]

On the other hand, both parties need to use NFP with a heart open to accepting new life. It's part of the marriage vow - openness to new life. Using NFP in any other way is just contraception.

Sounds to me like they need to pray together about where God is calling them.


#14

[quote="StJudePray4Me, post:1, topic:208058"]
Here is a situation:

A Catholic married couple have 3 children. The wife wants another child. The husband does not. He feels they can not afford another, and that he & his wife are not emotionally capable of nurturing another child.

The wife decides to withhold sex completely until he changes his mind. She claims that she is just being a good Catholic by refusing to have sex with her husband, who wants to use protection. He says she is NOT being a good Catholic wife, due to her withholding the marital embrace. He says he is willing to be the one to take precautions, so it is not her sin. He knows her real motive -- to strong-arm him into another baby. He knows because she has told this to some other people, who then told him.

I think the wife is wrong here, even though I know the husband wants to sin by using ABC. I think he has a good reason to not want another child, as this whole situation seems to prove that their marriage is in peril, and it would be bad to add another child into the equation. Others disagree with me. What say you?

[/quote]

No spouse has any "marital rights" to contracepted sex. And... a spouse* does* have "marital rights" to uncontracepted sex.

A loving spouse would not try to "strong-arm" the other. I'm not saying that the wife is handling this in the best way she can, but the husband is also trying to "strong-arm" her to get his way.

He may have a good reason for wanting to avoid more children, but that decision is not his alone to make-and he's going about avoiding children in a way that is directly against the Church teachings and his wife's wishes. Quite frankly, her husband saying that she's "not being a good Catholic wife" for refusing to participate in contracepted sex is an awful thing for him to say. Contraceptive sex--and perhaps especially contracepted sex against one's will--is NOT the real marital embrace. He has no right to do that to his wife. :(

If he really wants to avoid more children, then his wife has offered him a 100% effective means of avoiding more children. If he wants something else, then he needs to talk to his wife about Church approved methods of birth regulation, like NFP and/or the possibility of being open to more children at some point in the future.


#15

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:14, topic:208058"]
No spouse has any "marital rights" to contracepted sex. And... a spouse* does* have "marital rights" to uncontracepted sex.

A loving spouse would not try to "strong-arm" the other. I'm not saying that the wife is handling this in the best way she can, but the husband is also trying to "strong-arm" her to get his way.

He may have a good reason for wanting to avoid more children, but that decision is not his alone to make-and he's going about avoiding children in a way that is directly against the Church teachings and his wife's wishes. Quite frankly, her husband saying that she's "not being a good Catholic wife" for refusing to participate in contracepted sex is an awful thing for him to say. Contraceptive sex--and perhaps especially contracepted sex against one's will--is NOT the real marital embrace. He has no right to do that to his wife. :(

If he really wants to avoid more children, then his wife has offered him a 100% effective means of avoiding more children. If he wants something else, then he needs to talk to his wife about Church approved methods of birth regulation, like NFP and/or the possibility of being open to more children at some point in the future.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:
BTW, how do we know for sure the wife has discerned it would be licit for her to participate in "contracepted" sex. She may have discerned it is not ok (its not something automatic, there are 3 "requisites"). If nothing else, there was a lack in prudence in discussing the matter with others and saying what she said.


#16

The husband is more wrong because he has asked her to sin.

If she really IS unwilling to use NFP then yes, she has some growing up to do. However, if I was married and all of a sudden my husband asked me to let him use a condom, I would be very mad. In the heat of the moment I would threaten to never give him sex again and make the mistake of saying to an untrusworthy person who would repeat it to him.

I think if he started to repent for asking her to sin, she would come around to using NFP for the time being. (If she didn't, then yes she has a problem as well)

Also, you don't mention the woman's age. If she is less than 30 and has the luxury of waiting a few years to have another child that is one thing. But if she is over 40 and her time is running out, why wouldn't her husband give her another one?

CM


#17

So she is witholding, because she wants to strong-arm him into another baby. :frowning:

Bith husband and wife should realize that babies are not something that they are owed from each other…but gifts that God gives.

This is a sad situation…both are wrong.


#18

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:17, topic:208058"]
So she is witholding, because she wants to strong-arm him into another baby. :(

Bith husband and wife should realize that babies are not something that they are owed from each other....but gifts that God gives.

This is a sad situation...both are wrong.

[/quote]

Babies deserve to be wanted by both parents. How good would the baby's life be knowing that the father didn't want them? I was an accident, my father didn't want me, and it still hurts today. :eek:

If I was the man, I would be scared to have sex with her, she might have an "oops" baby on purpose. :eek: A child is not a weapon to use to threaten or trap someone. I personally think that they should use NFP, and the woman better not lie to try to finagle a baby out of it.


#19

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:17, topic:208058"]
So she is witholding, because she wants to strong-arm him into another baby. :(

Bith husband and wife should realize that babies are not something that they are owed from each other....but gifts that God gives.

This is a sad situation...both are wrong.

[/quote]

Yeah, but they owe it to God and to each other to be open to children in every single marital act, something that one of them is willing to do, but not the other. Children are a gift from God that married couples are called to be open to, to receive, by always keeping the marital act open to children.

Plus, we don't even know the whole situation, and will never be able to know it as an outsider. They are the only ones who can know whether or not they have serious reasons to not be open to more children. Furthermore, we cannot know what she discerned regarding whether or not it would be "licit" for her to have contracepted sex.


#20

[quote="lifeisbeautiful, post:19, topic:208058"]
Plus, we don't even know the whole situation, and will never be able to know it as an outsider. They are the only ones who can know whether or not they have serious reasons to not be open to more children. Furthermore, we cannot know what she discerned regarding whether or not it would be "licit" for her to have contracepted sex.

[/quote]

You are so right.

I kind of felt like I knew what both were thinking...but I guess I can't really fully understand the situation. I have tended to side with the man, as I see his point about not being able to support a larger family, and I thought his wife was just punishing him by denying sex. But that's not necessarily true, I can't know what's really in her heart for sure.

He doesn't trust her to use NFP, as he believes she will get pregnant accidentally on purpose. I guess the lack of trust is probably the #1 problem with the marriage.

I guess all I can really do for them is pray, and encourage them to seek counseling, and stay away from "taking sides."

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies.


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