Joy Stories: Church teaching changed our lives

by Tima Borges

Our conversion story starts 10 years into our marriage. While Dave and I were both raised in Catholic families, we had a vague understanding of what it meant to be Catholic. We attended Mass on most Sundays, prayed occasionally, mostly in time of struggle and went to confession once or twice a year. (Lent and Advent) We followed the minimum precepts of the Catholic faith.

Our change of heart happened when we learned the Church’s teaching on openness to life. When we read St. John Paul II’s Letter to Families, and learned the Theology of the Body we came to accept God’s plan for marriage and family.

We did not always follow the Church’s teaching. We obviously shared the responsibility in the decisions we made, but we made the choices we did partly because we did not know. No one ever told us, and if they tried too, we did not fully understand. We thought we had a choice on how to plan our family. Of course we had a choice to follow God’s plan for marriage and family or to let sin into our marriage.

Sin hinders intimacy

When we allowed sin into our marriage, our intimacy was hindered. We didn’t know why things were going wrong; we just knew something was wrong. Our arguments focused on how often we were intimate and who initiates. I felt like an object for his pleasure. Spending intimate time with Dave felt like an additional chore to add to my list. Dave could not understand what I was going through. When I tried to communicate with Dave, he took it personally. As a result, we grew distant and other parts of our marriage were affected too.

Once we positioned ourselves to learn God’s plan for marriage and family, we felt like our eyes were open. We learned that God designed marriage for the good of man and woman and for the healthy future of society. God created the world and all the creatures in it. But he gave human beings a special dignity, knowledge, intellect and natural law. He loves us so much. He shares his creative powers with his creation. Out of our love for each other, we too, can create new life in the marital embrace. We do the physical act and God implants the soul. It’s beautiful! How could we not want to be a part of this creation?

We realized God’s plan was in line with our human nature, and that it was about love and trust. He always wants the conjugal act to balance openness to life and unity. When we use contraception we take away the openness to life, which respects our full human nature, all because we want the focus to be solely on unity and enjoyment. Being able to create life is a precious gift, yet we want squander it, trample on it, for the sake of physical enjoyment.

Taking God out of the equation

Looking back we can see the consequences of our choices, both spiritual and physical. Spiritually we had taken God out of the equation. By using contraception we were saying to God, “I believe in you, but I don’t trust you to know what is best for our family.” We paid a hefty price for this choice: struggles in our marriage, unhealthy relationships and harmful habits that went against our marriage vow and disrespected our own dignity as human beings. Not to mention that I now know the “pill kills.” How many spontaneous miscarriages/abortions did I have those 10 years – only God knows.

As a result of taking the pill for 10 years my hormones levels are very low. My uterus probably has aged an extra year for every year that I was on the pill. It already shows pre-menopausal signs. This hormone imbalance also affects my mood and libido.

Dave’s vasectomy took something away from our marriage bond; we were incomplete. Thanks to our conversion, he reversed the vasectomy, offering up the risk he took undergoing the surgery and the pain in recovery for all the souls who are yet to come into the light of God’s endless mercy and love.

After the vasectomy reversal, we eagerly anticipated welcoming a new baby into our family. We prayed to accept God’s will for us, as we had now put this aspect of our marriage back in God’s hands, where it should have been all along. It took three years and the help of and Napro-Technology doctor for us to finally conceive. I became pregnant three times since then. We have six children, two in heaven as a result of miscarriages, three we are blessed to witness growing up and one more we arriving in June 2015.

We recommend further reading and education in this area of God’s teaching. Theology of the Body and the Pope’s letters on human dignity and God’s plan for marriage and family offer a treasure of information for husbands and wives. There is so much available to us within the Church 2000 years of experience. It is well worth learning.

(© 2015 Tima Borges)

Tima earned a certificate in a writers program from Long Ridges Writers Group in 2012. She rediscovered a love for her Catholic roots in 2007 and is now very active in her mission to be a light of hope for others through her writing for Faith Catholic and her blog. She also works with engaged couples preparing for marriage, and assists with coordinating faith-based events for women and families in her community. At such events, she shares her powerful testimony of God working in her life. Tima lives with her husband and three boys in a small town in Ontario, Canada. You can read her blog at http://timaborges.wordpress.com

 

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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