We are almost to the end of the Easter Octave and it’s time to look ahead. We’ve rolled away the stone that was Lent, have celebrated and rejoiced in the Resurrection, and now it is time to enter into a new beginning, a new life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Just as Easter offers us a fresh start and new beginning with our faith life, NFP also offers us the same promise with our marriage! Through NFP and understanding the Church’s teaching on the topic of marriage, we can come to realize that sex is about more than just physical satisfaction, but part of how we are called to by God to a deeper and renewed relationship within marriage. Just ask NFP couple Matt and Shannon.
Like a lot of other practicing couples, Matt and Shannon didn’t start out using NFP in their marriage, or even before marriage! When they first started having sex, Matt and Shannon followed the lead of many other couples and put their trust in multiple different forms of contraception. However, they began to have trouble with various side effects and eventually achieved pregnancy unintentionally. In addition to this, they experienced a separation and disconnect within their marital intimacy. Both Matt and Shannon started to feel that sex was more of a duty to preform than a sacred act.
Now enter NFP. After becoming pregnant unexpectedly for the second time, Matt and Shannon knew that something had to change. Just like Jesus gave us the promise of resurrection after death, Matt and Shannon started to learn how NFP could do the same for their marriage. And for the first time in their marriage, Matt and Shannon had a total transformation of the heart and mind.
Matt: “Starting with NFP was a total lifestyle change. It changed the way we view our sexuality, our marriage, each other, our children, our goals and nearly every other aspect of life. This has taken us from the brink of just being another divorced statistic to having a marriage that keeps getting better, stronger and more joyful. But the biggest gift has been trust. We no longer have to trust a chemical to control Shannon’s fertility, nor do we have to trust in artificial gear to keep us ‘safe’. Instead, we’ve come to trust in each other, from reading Shannon’s signs of fertility together, to making informed decisions about abstinence together.
Shannon: For the first time, we were a team when it came to our fertility. Because of this, communication opened up in every aspect of our lives. Nothing was assumed anymore, and nothing was only one spouse’s responsibility. This helped us both feel more secure, as we made all of our important decisions together.
Matt: We work on our relationship, not from the exclusive angle of sex, but on the whole picture of being married. Because of this, sex has become a gift we give each other, and not a chore or an obligation.
By learning about and practicing NFP, Matt and Shannon were given a fresh start and experienced a deeper intimacy that has led to more joy in all aspects of their marriage. No longer did they have to close their eyes and cross their fingers, hoping that at the end of the day contraceptives would be their savior. Instead by ultimately placing their trust in God and in NFP, they were able to move forward into a new strengthened relationship.
Just as Jesus brings us the hope of new life through the promise of the resurrection, NFP can also do the same for our marriages. What sometimes can be lost and forgotten in marriage can find a new beginning in NFP.
Matt and Shannon are just one example of a real couple experiencing a fresh start in their marriage. For more stories check out our Real Couples, Real Stories.