Now, podcasting doesn’t lend itself to editing like writing does, so I wanted to make two addenda to what I said.
1. I briefly spoke about Providentialism, that is, a couple not using NFP or any kind of family planning and leaving everything up to God’s providence. In the podcast I made it sound like this was against Church teaching. I misspoke there. Providentialism is not obligatory, expected, or even encouraged by the Church, but it is allowed.
2. I was asked about how couples who struggle with prolonged abstinence due to the ineffectiveness of NFP can best make it through that difficult situation. I gave a couple of points in the podcast, but since this was recorded I have come up with more. Here is my current list of suggestions based on my personal experience of struggling with prolonged abstinence and it triggering a real crisis of faith:
Talk with people you trust about this struggle, don’t go at it alone. If you can talk with flesh and blood people about this you will be better off.
Talk with a priest (or spiritual director if you’re lucky enough to have one) about this, putting all your struggles and doubts on the table.
If there are peripheral things that are making this burden worse (stress from kids or work or whatever) then see if you can lessen those burdens (asking people to help watch the kids for example).
Try and spend more quality time with each other (going on dates or whatever), but if that makes things worse then don’t be afraid to try doing things separately instead like taking turns staying home with the kids so you can spend time with friends or hobbies individually.
If you think there’s any postpartum depression or anxiety (for you or your spouse) then go to a doctor or counselor. These things make long term abstinence way more difficult than it already is.
Pray for healing for your cycles and any other physical/psychological factors that may be contributing to the prolonged abstinance. Take advantage of any healing prayer ministry in your area.
And cling to each other. In times of doubt and spiritual desolation you can be Christ for your spouse. When you have nothing but anger towards God then lean into your spouse and the real tangible love you have for them. In other words, when your spouse isn’t feeling God’s loving presence then make an effort to be more lovingly present to them. If you find yourself unable to love God in the moment at least you can love your spouse.