*Please note that many of these examples used in this entry came from Dr. Janet Smith in her CD "Contraception: Why Not?"
Of my many passions, natural family planning has got to be near the top of the list. I love telling people about it and am always advocating that people give it a try. Before I tell you why, I should state that I believe NFP should only be used to avoid pregnancy for grave reasons such as not being able to afford a child, rather than because you want to drive an Escalade and live in a 5,000 square foot home. That being said, here are the reasons why NFP rocks:
Communication Between Partners: How often do you think people who are using artificial contraception have to talk about expanding their family? I figure maybe once every few months at the most. In fact, I would say that for most couples it is more like a few times a year. Couples who use NFP, however, HAVE to talk about it at least once a month, if not more often. They are in constant discernment about whether God wants more children for them in this part of their lives and must make a decision to either be apart during a women's fertile time or come together and have more children.
Communications with God:A faithful Christian couple who uses NFP must also always be in communication with our Lord as to what he wants of their family. Because our fertility comes in cycles, the couple must consistently reevaluate God's wants for their family. If the couple is using NFP to avoid pregnancy for a grave reason, they must also pray and discern if these reasons still exist and if God wants them to be open to more children.
Same as Birth Control?: Some people say that NFP is the same as birth control because both are used to avoid pregnancy. I will say that NFP, when used to avoid pregnancy for reasons that are not grave, can be used with a birth control mentality. However, to say two things are the same because they share a common end would be like saying shooting your grandma in the head is the same as letting her die naturally. In both cases you end up with a dead woman, but the way she got there matters. In one case we are cooperating and working with the way God made us, and in the other we are using unnatural and sinful methods to achieve the same end.
Respect of the Women's Body and Growth in Virtue: Unlike artificial contraception, NFP involves both people in the relationship. It isn't a woman taking a pill every day filling her body with unnatural hormones. I find it funny that in a society full of nature crazy feminists, not a one has a problem filling their bodies with artificial hormones to stop an otherwise completely natural process. They have no problem with a woman taking contraception so that she can essentially be used for her body. When a couple chooses to use NFP the man is forced to respect the woman's body and fertility, because it is not always available to him 24/7 as it is if she were using artificial contraception. Furthermore, NFP trains both the man and women in the virtue of self-control when the couple must abstain. Contraception, on the other hand, sets marriage up for infidelity by telling the man that he can have any woman any time without the consequence of pregnancy. How many men do you think would cheat on their wives if there was no form of contraception and pregnancy was a common consequence of the action? I would guess not many.
. The Honeymoon Effect: Why is it that when we are away from our spouse we tend to miss the marital act the most? Often times a couple who has been apart for some time experiences a sort of "second honeymoon", as if they were newlyweds. Couples using NFP often find they have more exciting and romantic marriages because they can't be with each other all the time. They must abstain and then come back together, thus experiencing this honeymoon effect quite often in their marriage.
Openess to Life: In every sexual act between a husband and wife using NFP, God is welcomed in to use His creative power. Bonding and babies are always kept together and God is never shut out of the marital act. If a couple is avoiding pregnancy, then they are abstaining from sexual relations during the fertile period and therefore abstaining from both babies and bonding.
We as Christians need to prayerfully and willingly discern if we are using our bodies the way God created them to be used. Are we using them for His glory and the growth of our marriage? Or are we using them for our own selfish sexual desires? I hope your marriage can benefit as much as mine has from an openness to life and the gift of Natural Family Planning.
I am a Catholic wife and mother of four, striving to grow holier by the day. I have a son and three daughters and am currently homeschooling the oldest two. I am a doula and have a special passion for all things birth related. This blog is my life and thoughts escaping from my head to the computer screen. So pull up a chair and come along for the ride!