help me. I have an agnostic husband who wants to get
sterilized. I am beside myself over this. Right now
our marriage is in good shape. We have eight
children, some of which are adopted. They are all
beautiful children. My husband is a good provider.
But he is terrified of the possibility of having
another child to care for. He doesnít trust NFP.
What can I do to dissuade him from having a
vasectomy? I know that this is against Godís plan
for us, and that it will have many bad consequences.
First of all you need to be very thankful for the blessings
of a good marriage and eight wonderful children. You have a
very rich marriage and family life. You and your children
will learn much about love, generosity, commitment to one
another and how to appreciate diverse personalities. Help
your husband to count his blessings too.
Regarding the vasectomy: you have no right to give him
permission to do this. If you do give your permission, then
you share in the evil deed as an accomplice.
If he does this on his own, despite your disapproval, then
there is not much you can do to stop him. He has free will
also, and wants to abuse it by turning against the goodness
of his God-given fertility.
Here is what I recommend: Tell him that you are not going to
have relationships with him if he does that because he is
not open to life and open to the way God instituted that act
of love. And if he wants to live that way, thatís fine, but
you need to put your foot down with him.
The two of you need to take a thorough course in NFP. When
learned well, and practiced correctly, NFP is 99% effective.
If you come to the decision that you cannot support another
child, then the thing for the two of you to do is to expand
the times for periodic abstinence, and be on the safe side.
The Church would not recommend NFP if it were not reliable
as an effective means of spacing pregnancies. NFP is very
reliable, if it is learned thoroughly and practices
faithfully. Now the responsibility is in your court and that
of your husband.
Help your husband understand why every couple is to be open
to the total goodness of love and to the total goodness of
life in their spousal acts. Help him understand that the
spousal act, as God designed it, requires that both spouses
make the total personal gift of themselves to each other.
That means no conditions, no reservations, and nothing held
back. This includes your fertility. God has a magnificent
plan for spouses and their spousal act. And He never asks
the impossible from us. He only asks that we learn that
self-sacrifice is part of real love.
Help your husband understand that he shares the task with
you of teaching your eight children the virtue of
self-possession, self-control, and self-sacrifice. How can a
sterilized father, or mother, do this? Their children know
if their parents are contracepting or are sterilized.
You are in my prayers. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Ask
the Holy Family to give you the strength to do what is
Fr. Dan McCaffrey
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