July 10, 2009

I'm Not Sure How To Answer That: On Marriage

I'm getting married in three months. Scary, I know... My fiance is Catholic and it was important to him and his family that we have a Catholic ceremony. I am not Catholic, so it won't be a full mass, but it will still be considered a sacrament.

There are a lot of requirements in order to have a Catholic marriage. We had to go to marriage classes, take an hour long online exam, complete a lot of paperwork, and answer some very personal questions. The Catholic church takes marriage very seriously. I respect that.

For any normal woman in the hot seat, the questions wouldn't cause concern, but for a woman with vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia, it's a different story.

At our first meeting with the deacon, we had to meet with him separately to answer a series of questions. My fiance went first. I figured if there were any road blocks, he could navigate them better than I. He was asked, "do you know of any problem that would prevent you from having a physical relationship with your future spouse?"

Naturally he said no, but he felt that in some ways his answer was not entirely true.

When my turn arrived, I was asked, "is there any condition that could prevent you from having children?"

In both cases the answer is technically yes. Yes, there are times when I cannot have intercourse with my partner because I have vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia. And yes, because of those conditions it will be more difficult to have a child and natural birth is out of the question. But that's not the right answer.

I can't stand to be deceitful, but I don't think that line of questioning warranted a lecture on chronic pelvic pain.

The second time we met with the deacon, I was asked if I suffered from mental illness. I wasn't so cool with my answer that time. The question caught me completely off guard.

"That's an awfully personal question. What do they consider mental illness? I have anxiety sometimes, does that count?"

"I think they mean something debilitating like being institutionalized or having something like schizophrenia."

Hmmm. Aren't there HIPPA laws in place to protect my medical history?

I want to reiterate that I respect the desire of the Catholic church to try to ensure that their unions involve many children and don't end in divorse. I guess I just found it ironic that I got hit with those questions.

At this stage, I am capable of having fairly frequent intercourse and I see no reason why I couldn't have children. There is always the possibility that my world will come crashing down on me and I will lose those luxuries. I don't, however, think that's something that Catholic church needs to worry about.


Anonymous said...

I would reconsider this marriage if I were you. Your last few posts seem to have raised a lot of red flags about your current relationship. Or at least postpone it until some of your issues have been worked out.

And be forewarned: Catholic/non-Catholic relationships can become very difficult. Your partner is not allowed to be having premarital sex with you, and birth control is strictly forbidden I should know: I was in one while I was still a Catholic (have since lost my faith).

Good luck whatever you decide.


Lora said...

As a married chick with vvd, I say do not reconsider this marriage based upon what you've put here on the internet.
Your problems are my problems, and they are very minor in the grand scheme of marriage, provided you are willing to work at them.

Dave was raised Catholic, and our biggest problems come from family, not from our relationship.