NFP Uncensored: Self-discipline

NFP Uncensored is a series of candid accounts of the way NFP informs every aspect of life. You can follow the posts by searching for “NFP Uncensored” here in the Living the Love blog (use the search bar on the right-hand side of this page), or by searching #NFPUncensored on social media.

After six short months of marriage, my husband Dave and I learned we were expecting.

I had been very ill for weeks and pregnancy was the last thing we were expecting. We both had chosen to save sex for marriage and were enjoying our marriage, along with the craziness of remodeling a fixer upper house to make it look more like a home and not just a larger dorm room filled with all of our college belongings.

The pregnancy caught us both off-guard.

I am a Catholic high school teacher, and Dave at the time was transitioning careers from education to the medical field. Fast forward nine months through a crazy first pregnancy, and we welcomed our firstborn son into the world. Life was still chaotic as Dave was working three jobs and we were beginning to see his call to become a nurse. We made the decision to research more about natural family planning (NFP) in an effort to get a handle on planning for our next child.

As I researched NFP, I saw the need to really keep track of when we had sex and when my periods occurred. I had loosely kept track of this in the past using a trusted app on my phone, but for this to really work for us, I knew I had to be diligent.

Keeping track of this information was not fun by any means, but I was determined to make this work for us. My only fear was that becoming or not becoming pregnant would feel more like a job, thus removing the joy from this time of planning our family.

I was wrong.

Developing the discipline of knowing which nights were and were not optimal for becoming pregnant strengthened our relationship in an unexpected way. Though we were new parents and not far removed from being newlyweds, we had a goal to work towards together. There were many times that we were certainly NOT excited about our decision to refrain from our long awaited marital privileges. Some nights, we depended on the other to be strong enough to be the gentle reminder of our bigger goal.

When we had decided we were ready to begin trying for our second child, with careful tracking we attained our second pregnancy in just 2-3 weeks of trying. The same was true of our third pregnancy. My OBGYN was astonished at how quickly we were able to become pregnant. It was cooperation with the grace of God that allowed us to grow our little family so precisely.

I am grateful that we chose to develop the discipline of pursuing NFP in our marriage. It truly has strengthened my admiration of my husband, and has shown me that if we set out with a shared goal, anything is possible with God’s help.

— Andrea Bodinet lives in Highland, IL with her husband Dave and their three children; Camden (age 6), Emmett (age 4), and Isabel (age 2). She is a Spanish teacher at a local Catholic high school and her family of five recently opened their home to two foreign exchange students.