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Elliot and Jackie’s love story

What is natural family planning?Real couples really do use NFP, and we asked them to tell us their NFP story. We will be sharing them here on the blog — the good parts and the struggles. Each of these couples is writing their own love story, and have chosen to do so by following God’s plan for marriage.

Here is Elliot and Jackie’s story.*

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Were you initially skeptical about NFP?

Yes. We had used contraception while dating but decided to abstain once we were engaged because we wanted to “do things right” for our marriage to give it the best chance at lasting.

Was NFP difficult to learn?

No, it’s great for postponing when you have a serious need. Postpartum was difficult for us as constant mucus signs are too difficult for me to read and temperature was impossible to take with a non-sleeping baby. Our second child was conceived before regular cycles returned. After our second child we opted to switch to Marquette to help space our third and fourth kids and have been happy with it because I can trust a machine to read my hormones instead of relying on my less-than-clear mucus signs.

Has anything surprised you about using NFP?

That it works! I was very skeptical at first but it was a good lesson in trusting God and not trying to control everything so much. This has helped me get through other challenges and difficult times.

Who participates in observations, charting and interpreting?

With the Sympto-Thermal method we followed what the book suggested. My husband woke me up and handed me the thermometer and recorded temps. I charted the other signs and we interpreted together. With Marquette, I take the morning tests and leave the stick in the machine because I wake up first to get the kids ready for school. My husband removes the stick later when he’s up and records the reading so he knows exactly where we stand fertility-wise and I don’t have to be in the position of gate-keeper. There are a lot less problems when we are both involved, especially during difficult times like postpartum that require more abstinence.

Was it difficult to transition to NFP from contraception?

Yes; I was scared. But since I was married, I figured that even if I did end up pregnant, it wouldn’t be as bad as not being married and my marriage would be blessed by trusting in God.

What aspects of contraception are you glad you left behind?

Low libido and feeling like I had to always be available for relations.

What changed your mind about contraception and caused you to choose NFP?

Getting married and knowing the Church’s stance on contraception. I didn’t understand it completely but trusted in the Church’s wisdom, and was afraid of messing up my marriage by not cooperating with God’s rules.

What changes have you seen in the dynamics of your relationship since starting natural family planning?

My husband is more open and respectful to abstinence when needed. Whereas before when I was on the pill and I said no, he seemed resentful and made me feel like the bad guy.

Did you and your spouse ever disagree on NFP? 

No, he was the one on board first and had to talk me into it because I was too scared. But he reverted to the Church first and having him so sure about this was attractive and helped lead my reversion to embracing the Church too.

Has using NFP affected your relationship with God?

Yes, we’ve learned to trust in God and the wisdom of His Church…even before we understand why they hold a certain difficult or unpopular position we just embrace it first because we believe God’s promise that He will never lead us astray. The understanding always follows later once we embrace the teaching and the scales fall off. I can hardly remember how/why I felt the way I did before anymore.

Does practicing NFP help you better understand the Church’s teaching on contraception?

Yes. It shows you what the proper role of sex in a marriage should be…very different than what the world portrays it as!

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons

Help write your own love story by following God’s design for your marriage. Read CCL’s new book, Your Love Story: A Guide to Engagement and Marriage by Deacon William Turrentine. On sale now!