Family “the Catholic Way”

40 Years of Life ... and Counting

40 Years of Life ... and Counting

This week is the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s letter pertaining to marriage and family life. Most people associate this encyclical with birth control (specifically, the Church’s teaching against the use of artificial birth control … ). And yet, there is much more to it.

This week at “Mommy Monsters” I’m doing a series of posts that reflect on what I consider to be the highlights of HV, including:

A husband who loves his wife will never force himself on her (whether overtly in sexual assault, or passively by whining and nagging), and will moderate his passions out of love and concern for his wife’s wellbeing. (I was tempted to staple this particular paragraph to the forehead of a non-Catholic relative who once informed me that he and his wife had tried to prevent pregnancy “the Catholic way,” and she promptly got pregnant.)

If the Church loves babies, why is it against in vitro?

Civil authorities have both the right and responsibility to protect the most basic building block of all society: the human family, as well as marriage.

That a married couple who experience intimacy as God intended will both help each other get closer to heaven (no kidding) and permit themselves the opportunity to become “co-creators with God” in raising up new life.

*  That science and technology have a proper order, to be used to diagnose and even treat underlying causes of infertility — but may never replace the loving embrace of a husband and wife, according to natural law.

Would you like to read this wonderful letter? Click here!

2 thoughts on “Family “the Catholic Way”

  1. I have been struggling with a big problem in my marriage since the beginning. i feel my life is not mine to control anymore. The problem is that my wife makes herself the primary caregiver of her family of origin, although it is NOT needed to the extent she does it, neither have i been fairly warned before we were wed about the situation.

    She treats her widowed mother more like a spouse and her brothers more like her children and of course they all use her in this role to their advantage and she puts up no boundaries about it.

    This behaviour by her and her family overwhelms our lives. she is either physically not at home or when she is home, even after spending an entire day with them, she is gets on the phone with her mother almost every hour… It seems i have spurts of time with her in between calls and even when she is not on the phone she is thinking of them constantly… Even if we go out together, it turns into a shopping trip for them. I never feel i have her attention for more than a half hour at a time.

    I am very deperessed and frustrated. She never puts any real work into any relationships outside her own family of orgin, including my family of orgin, friends or even me…

    She tells me she loves me often, but it certainly feels like a low priority and she never has any energy left for us (she is always tired when she is home). She make plans that always involve taing care of her family somehow without disucssing it with me, and many times it involves my involvment and my home…

    I have tried to speak to her about this many times since we were first married, but have always been met with violent defensiveness and denial and she says accusses me of exagerating. She also trtioes to lay guilt… As a result i don’t bother saying much anymore at all and I live generally feeling betrayed, alone, isolated and disrespected in this marriage.

    I love my wife very much but feel she has left me even though she still is here. i have no life of my own anymore as i can never make plans with freinds – she never says no but she is always tires or too busy or worried about her family to think about anthing or anyone outside her family.

    I feel cheated, It almost feels like she is having an affair with her family of orgin. I can’t seem to change things.. I am now certain she knows what she is doing (and feel her family does too) but won’t change things even though they know it disturbs me.

    I have more and more anger and resentment as i go along and find myself hating my life more and more. i don’t want to separate but it seems like it is the only way to have a life….

    I was hoping that there is a place or a movie or that someone cold you have a show that specifically talks about this kind of problem (NOT mention this letter specifically at all), that way my wife would see it and with recongnize how this behaviour devistates my life, our marriage.

    It is so unfair, i really want and try to have a good marriage, put all my effort into it, i feel i don’t get the same in return. We am certain we will never have our own family as i think that when she is home she is so stressed and uptight..

    I mostly i just want to dissapear, i feel trapped and i certainly don’t feel very important. So my question is now what do i do?


    • Dear Friend:

      My heart goes out to you. You don’t mention how old you and your wife are, or how long you knew each other before you were married. However, it sounds as though these patterns have been going on for quite some time … and the longer they go on, the harder they are to break.

      I married my husband in 1999, both of us for the first time. He was 45, I was 35. His “life” had been working for his family in two family businesses. If I had it to do over, I would have insisted that he get a new job before we got married, but that didn’t happen. Once we were married, I had to learn to accept my husband for what he is – a wonderful, kind, intelligent, hard-working man whose identity is very much tied up in his family. I’ve had to relinquish my dreams of marriage in order to grasp hold of the reality, which is different but wonderful in its own way. I suspect part of your task is going to be learning to build relationships with your wife’s family, so she doesn’t feel she has to choose between you. But I could be wrong … all I have to go by is an email, and my own experience.

      You don’t mention whether you have tried counseling. If your wife will not go with you, I urge you to go by yourself. If you do not know how to locate a counselor, I suggest that you call the Pastoral Solutions: Call Today 740-266-6461 or Email:

      You don’t mention if you are Catholic; if you are, perhaps your priest can also refer you to someone in your area who may be able to help. Or perhaps you’d consider a Marriage Encounter weekend for the two of you.

      I am praying for you and your wife. God has not forgotten you, and sees your pain. Marriage is a life vocation, it gets us ready for heaven by stripping us of everything that is contrary to love. As they move through life together, a married couple rubs off on each other, helping each other. But this only happens as long as they continue to talk to each other, and pray for each other.

      Please let me know what happens.

      God bless you!

      Heidi Saxton


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