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Gifts for your NFP journey

As we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany this weekend, perhaps we can consider one lesson of the Epiphany: that it is a symbol of our own journey to Christ. The three wise men, we are told, believed the star of Bethlehem was announcing the birth of the King of the Jews. Still, they had much to discover about this King, who was not what was expected by most. Their journey to him must have included difficulties and uncertainties, but because they had an expectation of who they were going to see — however imperfect that expectation — they persevered.

There were different reactions to the birth of Christ. There was hatred, like that felt by Herod and his people who wanted to destroy this potential rival. There was indifference, such as seen in many priests and scribes of the time who ignored Jesus. And there was the adoration shown by the Magi and the shepherds who came to worship and adore him, to draw into relationship with him.

In our own journeys to Christ let’s pray we fall into the third group, that we are working toward finding someone — Our Savior — as we travel through the paths of our lives.

We often have couples tell us that NFP was a game-changer in their faith walk. Why is that? Perhaps because it involves a journey that couples take together toward a goal. At CCL we encourage couples to make responsible parenthood their goal or, more importantly, to make their goal to honor God through their sexuality.

How can we help NFP be something that draws us closer to Jesus? Like the Magi, start by thinking about what gifts we can bring to it. Here are some to consider:

Commitment – This is an important one. How successful will we be in reaching a destination or goal when one or both of us aren’t fully committed to idea of getting there? When there isn’t full commitment to the NFP decision, there will always be temptations to venture off course, which is a good way to get lost. Deciding to truly go all in with NFP is a wonderful gift for your journey.

Patience — We know that with NFP there are frustrations — big and small — that are part of using it. What a blessing to bring an increase of patience to your journey! Patience as you wait for the signs to cooperate with your wishes, patience with your harried spouse who has forgotten some observations, patience with the transition times of postpartum and premenopause as the body is adjusting, patience with each other when you are not on the same page with welcoming another child….etc.

Cooperation — It’s easy for the day-to-day work of NFP to fall to the woman. But deciding to bring the gift of cooperation to your NFP journey can work wonders for keeping you on course. It builds teamwork and a strong sense of being “in this” together. When participation mostly involves one spouse, it can set up a power struggle that should not exist in a marriage. As spouses, we are called to be cooperative and co-creators, not gate-keepers. So guys, if you hang on the perimeter and just wait for your wife to give the green light, consider the gift of participation! Find easy ways that you can help her and help discern your paths. Wives, if you haven’t been welcoming to your husband’s involvement in the charting or interpretations, your gift of more openness to him in this area can bless your relationship and built trust between you.

Commitment, patience and cooperation…just three gifts you can bring to your NFP journey that will make the travel easier and can help you find Christ along the way! Happy Epiphany!

— Ann Gundlach
Director of Marketing & Communication