Them folk are not like us folk. I really had to twist my brain to read this article from Touchstone on “contradeception”, because I’m finding it hard to imagine how screwed up in the head you have to be to think that way.
It’s an article against contraception. When these quiverful zealots argue that they love kids, I can sympathize; when they say they are trying to outbreed non-Christians, I can sort of understand the logic, even though I think they’re wrong; but this story…children are like an afterthought. The reason you shouldn’t use contraception is because getting pregnant is public evidence that you are fulfilling your marital duties.
It’s a kind of busybody’s idea of heaven and earth…or perhaps a very monkey-like one. Everyone is supposed to monitor everyone else’s sexual behavior, and the purpose of marriage is to make it easy for everyone to track who is screwing who.
Sexual relationships, while enacted privately, are public property. The lover declares, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” This protects the relationship from internal and external breach. Those within the relation-ship are bound to each other by their promise of troth, held in trust by the neutral third parties who witness the promise. Those outside the relationship know that this new unit of their community is being rightly founded, and also that any attempt to besiege the promise is illicit.
And shunning contraception means everyone will be able to tell who is sneaking around, and who is getting the job done in the bedroom. Well, at least it’ll make it easier to monitor the women, but then, that’s what this is all about…making sure that female fidelity is evident.
And in former times, when the married couple fulf lled their vows to God and each other and their witnesses, they produced, at God’s favor, babies to prove it. The lack of a baby indicated either a broken body or a broken vow. While both called for the community’s prayer, the latter also called for the community’s assistance in healing the marriage for the benefit of everyone, for a broken vow means broken people. When a baby gave evidence of a union where no vow had been made, it was similarly in the interest of the community to correct the situation in the way that would most benefit all the parties involved.
Again, it’s all about letting everyone know that the woman is having sex, by making sure she’s pregnant all the time. If you have sex outside of marriage, you are “damaged goods” and must be prominently labeled as such.
In marriage, a couple gives over supervision of their marital health to those who approved their avowal. A sexual relationship between people who made no vows would normally not remain a secret for long. But contraception blinds the community by concealing the sexual act outside of marriage, or its absence within marriage, and by leaving goods damaged in various ways unmarked as such.
It really is the public notch on the bedpost model of the purpose of pregnancy!
Why must we have physical, public evidence of the faithful fulfillment of even those marital vows most of us can’t imagine neglecting, at least at first? Who would lie about such things? Well, who would talk about them? Allowing nature to manifest our faithfulness is certainly more graceful than a verbal report.
Except…Mrs Murphy could be knocking boots with the mailman every morning, in which case her swelling belly is not a testimony to faithfulness, and Mr Murphy could be making regular visits to the bordello out on county road 6. Pregnancy is not a good evidence of fidelity, but only of the fact that a woman is getting inseminated.
The whole article is this bizarre. Not rushing to have children, practicing family planning, implies that maybe you aren’t having sex as often as you should.
This is also why the Church perceives discord in the decision of a newly married couple to take a few years to “enjoy being married” before ending marital enjoyment with children. Apparently, we are expected to take them at their word that they are fulfilling the vows made before us, although they refuse to tender the token. In those storied former times, we’d have worried that perhaps the sweet things weren’t quite sure how things worked. For now, charity ordains that we fill in the child-shaped marital deficiency with the sad assumption of trouble conceiving, except in the great majority of cases, where bride and groom make no secret of being confirmed window shoppers at the baby mall. If you’re going to be married, be smart, after all. Be ever copulating but never conceiving. Their debt to their witnesses (to say nothing of each other) goes quite unacknowledged.
I married at 23, and we waited 3 years to have our first child. I swear that we were not celibate for that period of time, nor would any sane person have assumed we were. I did not feel a need to get her pregnant instantly as a way of staking a claim on my ownership of her uterus.
And yeah, we were copulating all the time — I thought we were paying a debt to each other in building a bond. We owe no debt to witnesses outside of the marriage. I suppose if they’d insisted, we could have gone at it on the picnic table at a family reunion, but seriously — it was none of their business. Apparently, by abstaining from flaunting our fertility we were treating everyone else disrespectfully.
So also is the public treated disrespectfully by the couple who, 2.1 children later, give no sign of continued faithfulness to their vow. Is he so disgusted by the sight of his wife’s birth-changed body that he will no longer suffer its embrace? Is she using her maternal exhaustion as an excuse to withhold herself from him? Can this marriage survive? The only way we know a marriage to be sexless is when it comes out in therapy, on the golf course, at play dates, on the pages of The Atlantic.
This whole thing is very disturbing. We stopped with 3 children, by intent — we love kids, but we wanted to give each one the attention they deserved, and we had to plan ahead for that expensive business of making sure each one got a good education. The good of the children, however, is not part of the equation with these people.
So we stopped having babies almost 20 years ago…and apparently, this blue-nosed wowser would think from that that I’m now disgusted with my wife’s body, or that my wife is withholding sex now that the tiring business of making children is done. You know, it’s none of your business what any two people’s private sex life is like, but anyone can note that despite the fact that she’s had a flat belly empty of embryos for a score of years, my wife is still with me and we’re still happy together.
Who’d have thought that you don’t need to be in a state of constant pregnancy to have a good and productive relationship? It’s sad to think that there are women out there who feel the measure of their worth is determined by the diameter of their abdomens.