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 David and Jane’s story.*
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Were you initially skeptical about NFP?
Yes! I was really nervous about getting pregnant because we could not financially afford it. I also wondered if I would really be able to interpret the signs correctly and if I’d remember to do it. Anyway, we took the class and I felt pretty good about it. Since then, the biggest way we overcame our doubts has been that our teaching couple has been with us the whole time.
Tell us more about your class experience and teaching couple.
Our teaching couple was so, so sweet. The woman, Sharon, has spent probably hours on the phone or via email looking at my charts and helping me feel confident in my interpretations. There’s a learning curve for sure — but you aren’t alone. As far as the class went, we are not Catholic (we are evangelical Protestants), so sometimes when they talked about the teachings of the Catholic Church it was a bit strange to be the only non-Catholic couple there, but it was definitely interesting to learn about it anyway.
Has anything surprised you about using NFP?
Yes, how CONSISTENT my body is! It’s amazing. I knew the stats said it was effective, but I was obviously skeptical. However, since we started doing this we have successfully avoided conceiving a child, and what’s more — we haven’t had a single “could I be pregnant?!?!” moment. It’s nice to actually feel in control of or understanding what’s happening with my body, instead of relying on something else.
Who participates in observations, charting and interpreting?
I’m [Jane] the only one who observes/charts/interprets but I don’t want to say it’s just me because we talk about it a lot. I let David know what’s happening and he will look sometimes to make sure he agrees with my interpretations.
Was it difficult to transition to NFP?
Not really. My husband was kind of nervous, and I have to admit I was, too, but we just decided to live our lives out of fear was sinful. And contraception was a way for us to control out of a place of fear instead of trust in God.
Practically, NFP was easier. It’s far more flexible than trying to remember to take a pill at the same time every day.
What aspects of contraception are you glad you left behind?
The crazy hormonal feelings it gave me. It killed my sex drive. It made sex painful sometimes. It is not good for a woman’s health long-term. It was expensive. Cancer risk! The risk of aborting a child that might be conceived accidentally and constantly worrying about that. The list goes on.
What changed your mind about contraception and caused you to choose NFP?
Several things. We heard a sermon at our church about how birth control played a part in the sexual revolution and how that has affected our culture today, and felt pretty convicted about personally participating in the use of something that has destroyed so much. Secondly, I was consistently forgetting to take the hormonal birth control (HBC) pill anyway. Thirdly, I found out about some scary side effects and health risks that HBC has that no one told me about. I won’t eat out of plastic containers for fear of the hormone-imitating compounds in them, but then I’ll take a pill with similar chemicals in it? Seemed backwards to me. We felt for my health and to honor God, HBC was no longer an option for us.
Did you and your spouse ever disagree on NFP?
My husband was really worried about me getting pregnant and being able to provide for a child. I laid out my reasons and asked him to pray about it every day for one month, and then come back to me. He did, and after a month said, “I don’t feel any less scared, but I believe you and want to trust God.”
Occasionally even now he gets worried, but I just show him my chart and explain the interpretation again, and that assures him.
Has using NFP affected your relationship with God?
Yes. We feel at peace that we are not violating our consciences in any way with NFP.
Because you are non-Catholic, tell us about your decision to use NFP in regards to religion/morality/spirituality.
We are evangelical Protestants. We just wanted to use some sort of fertility awareness method, and I looked up the stats and NFP had excellent effectiveness rates.
We chose to use NFP because we didn’t want to participate in a culture that treats sex as casual and bodies as disposable. We learned (after taking them) that HBC can sometimes, in rare cases, act as an abortive agent. We are very strongly pro-life and couldn’t fathom this.
Finally, we felt that (at least for us) taking HBC was done purely out of fear. We feared being pregnant and not having the money to provide for our child and having our plans ruined. We believe that living out of fear is never a good reason to do anything.
I could write novels about this as an evangelical. We still differ from the Catholic Church in some aspects of belief about NFP, but wish evangelicals talked about this more. I can say that, at least in our neck of the woods, they finally are.
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.
Do you have an NFP love story to share? Contact Ann Gundlach at CCL at 800-745-8252 ext 1033. Or share this story with someone who needs to hear it!
New from CCL! Your Love Story: A Guide to Engagement and Marriage by William Turrentine. Learn more at www.ccli.org/yls.