Religious Husband Forbids Wife From Using Birth Control Methods. Why Do Men Think They Own Their Wives?
It’s a known fact that people change with time. Yet, while it is expected and predictable, it’s impossible to foresee how a person will change and what new attributes and values they will adapt. Recently, my best friend showed me her slam book I had filled a decade ago, and oh boy, was I different. I wanted to become an IT professional, preferred dogs over cats and jeans over dresses. Today I am a crazy cat lady who writes for a living and wears jeans only when I haven’t waxed. When I think about getting married, I wonder what if the person who seems so compatible with me, changes in a way that makes us not get along well. What if a guy who is a sweetheart right now end up becoming an ass, five years down the line? It’s scary, especially because women’s autonomy (and right to contraception) has always been under threat, especially in relationships.
A woman posted in a parenting group on Facebook seeking advice in a very heartbreaking situation with her husband. Apparently, her husband “found God” and is forbidding her from using contraception, in compliance with his religious beliefs.
The man has become very religious in the past two years and got baptized as a catholic. According to the Church, birth control is evil and one should instead do family planning by tracking their menstrual cycles.
When she was pregnant for the second time, he told her that taking contraceptive pills is a sin and has ordered her to not invest in any unnatural ways of family planning. However, this puts the woman at risk as this isn’t a very reliable way of not getting pregnant. She doesn’t want another child and has had health complications in the second pregnancy.
She has been suffering for over a year now but they are far from reaching a solution. “Apparently all forms of contraception are sinful besides cycle tracking, which doesn’t work for me,” she writes. “Telling him this lead to disagreement, then argument, then resentment,” she adds.
The woman believes her husband is a “good man” and a “wonderful father” but his strict adherence to religious beliefs is ruining their marriage. “I’m so tired of it all,” she expressed in the post. “I feel that religion has no right to govern who loves who and how they do so, which has lead to more arguing,” she added.
She said she doesn’t want to leave him but this situation is making her suffer. “We were both agnostic all our adult lives. He said having children made him seek God, I feel so lost on what to do,” she explained. “I never imagined in a million years I’d be in this situation,” she added.
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Why is it so difficult for women to claim what is rightfully ours? It’s our bodies that carry the child and goes through the wear and tear of conception and childbirth each time. The husband has no right to “forbid” his wife for anything. If he woke up two pregnancies later up to condemn contraception, it’s his problem and there’s no way, she has to go through child-bearing without her consent. This is a violation of human rights and her bodily agency.
Several people commented on the post offering advice. “This is so hard. I respect all religions but don’t understand how people cannot accept modern medicine,” a woman commented. Another one added, “I feel so so much for you deep in my heart. I’m so sorry.” Another woman said it’s nothing but controlling behaviour. “Narcissistic control disguised as religious belief. Girl, red flag. Run,” she wrote.
“You have birthed his children, your body has grown both your children and if you have had complications and do not wish to have any more children your husband needs to respect your wishes,” another woman explained it in very clear terms.
Honestly, how can a man who loves his wife be so selfish and ignorant towards her wellness? I am not surprised because men tend to feel like they own their partners, their mind, body and soul. They take decisions for them and “forbid” them because they feel they are entitled to have things their way. Having different religious beliefs is okay but you can’t force another person to follow yours. In fact, making a woman pregnant without consent is violation of her body. That kind of sex should be put under sexual abuse, even legally.
Some people tried to find a way out without getting divorced. Some women suggested her to take a pill secretly, some suggested her to insert an intrauterine device, without her husband’s knowledge. But I really want to know, if a man is disrespecting you and your body like that, how will you even want to have sex with him? Yikes.
“I’m Catholic and believe in doing what is right for you! I take the pill, basically my theory is the church isn’t raising my children, I am, so I will choose when to have my children,” a woman revealed. Another woman said she should stay true to herself and choose a life of freedom. “He can still be an amazing father to your children. My ex is. Don’t ever live your life in unhappiness,” she wrote.
Some people who shared her husband’s perspective advised her to seek guidance from a priest. “As a Catholic I can relate to your husband’s point of view, and so it is a shame that natural family planning does not work you,” a woman wrote. “I would suggest seeking advice from a priest – I am not saying this to be biased but rather so that you have a platform your husband will be happy with. Perhaps once you explain your issue with cycle tracking you will be given some other options,” another woman added.
A woman asked her to go to a marriage counsellor, “I’m Catholic and don’t believe in contraception either, natural family planning is just as if not more effective than contraception if used correctly. Having said that, it sounds like you both have very different and conflicting views. A marriage counsellor may help you reach a compromise somehow?’
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Church’s aversion to contraception methods has several Catholics wanting the teachings to be revised. “A 2008 study suggests that most practising Catholics are ignoring the Church’s teachings on contraception and sex. The Tablet magazine surveyed 1,500 Mass-goers in England and Wales; 40 years after Pope Paul VI forbade birth control use in his encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life),” BBC reported. It further added that most people still lived together and used contraceptive pills. “82% of people are familiar with the Church’s moral teachings but more than half of 18-45 year olds still cohabited before marriage. The contraceptive pill is used by 54.5% and nearly 69% had used or would consider using condoms. The survey also found that more than half think that the teaching should be revised,” the report added.
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I don’t believe anyone has the right to challenge our bodily agency. Unless they are going to get pregnant for us and raise our children, it’s nobody else’s business. And a man who thinks he can forbid his wife for anything, especially this, is not a man worth having sex with. I’d ask her to stop having sex with him altogether. When he is at loss here, he will come around, that is if she still wants to be with him. I wouldn’t.