The Cascading Blessings of NFP In Marriage


Corbin and Emma share how NFP impacts the way they live as a family every day. It’s a life skill – something more than the thermometer, charts and app. It’s a lifestyle that has filled their lives with a cascade of blessings that they would never have imagined.

Something More

Emma and Corbin met in college shortly after Corbin had transferred from active-duty military to the Army Reserve. Corbin, a cradle Catholic, had stopped practicing his faith in high school and Emma was raised in a non-denomination home. After they married, they began to face some difficult times and felt the need to find something more. They felt they were missing some important life skills. “We had a bit of a bumpy, backwards start to our marriage. As hard as we tried, without having God at the center of our lives we just kept coming up short of having a happy, fulfilling relationship.”

Corbin shared that they searched for the right (faith) option for both of them, thinking they could compromise. But they found they couldn’t ignore the truth of the Catholic Church. Emma explained, “We both just felt a tug from the Lord as we started to grow our family. God led Corbin back the Catholic Church and I reluctantly followed.”

Answers

Emma started to meet some wonderful faith filled women through a mom’s group at the local Catholic parish . They began to open her mind a little bit.  Corbin suggested she give RCIA a chance after she had a “pretty big, anti-Catholic hissy-fit” one day following Mass. Emma met with the RCIA director at their church the following week. He had the answers to all of her questions – even if they weren’t the ones she wanted to hear at first.

“My heart was certainly hard as rock,” Emma shared, “but God had a very gentle way of softening it. It didn’t take long for me to be all in. Corbin joined me at all the meetings every week, and I loved watching his faith and knowledge grow with mine. I made the decision to enter the Church Easter weekend of 2019. Since then I have continued to learn and grow as a Catholic.”

A New Chapter

With Emma’s conversion came the Convalidation process for their marriage. They had been married outside the church for almost 5 years. Emma explained they opted to take the marriage prep program to “get on the same page and start this new chapter as strong as we could.” That was the first time I really had ever heard of this NFP thing.” She had been prescribed birth control as a teenager and they had contracepted most of their marriage. They knew they needed to embrace the Church’s wisdom and teachings on healthy marriages and bodies. That meant “ditching the pill!”

Emma and Corbin took an online NFP course to learn more and a dear friend, Emma’s Confirmation sponsor who was a teacher, was able to help them understand it more fully. Corbin relates that, “It has helped us to draw closer to one another because of the times that we needed to have self-control and wanted to find other ways to show love to each other. We have been able to fully embrace love as married couples should when we have decided, together, that the timing was right – whether that was because her chart was in phase 3 or we were trying to conceive.”

Navigating Decisions

Beyond planning their family, Corbin and Emma feel the life skill of the practice NFP has helped them navigate other decisions. “We have learned to weigh our options together in all aspects of our life,” says Corbin. Emma feels that NFP has challenged them to look at their health more seriously and ask themselves if what they are doing mentally, physically and emotionally are as God designed. “Being able to be examples to our kids of making smart choices for our bodies really has stemmed from our appreciation of how unique and wonderfully we are made. Growing in our temperance physically has also made it easier to say no to other temptations, whether that’s with food or drink, spending, or what we watch on TV.”

When asked if working together on determining the phases of fertility makes a difference, compared to using birth control, Corbin is adamant: “Yes, because I am taking ownership of my fertility, too!” While Emma does the day-to-day recording, Corbin checks the charts to get an idea of where she is at. “I don’t want her to feel the pressure of telling me “yes” or “no” all the time. I give reassurance and my input when questions arise or we need to discern times of abstinence or intimacy.” Emma agrees, “Now, there is accountability for both of us, because he has all the information I do.”

NFP As A Life Skill

When Emma and Corbin think of NFP as a life skill, something more than the thermometer and charts and app, they say it impacts the way they live as a family. For Corbin, “At the end of the day, it truly strengthens our marriage and helps all communication. Making decisions as a couple is a lot more enjoyable than having to carry the burden alone. It’s been rewarding.” For Emma, “It’s allowed us look at each other with a sense of partnership verses the self-gratification we were seeking before. That trust has even spilled over into our finances, our geographical location, careers, and homemaking.”

For couples who want to use NFP but haven’t yet made the commitment, Emma and Corbin have this advice: “Just remember that you are on the same team. The priority should simply be doing your best to honor God and each other in the process. It’s not always going to be perfect or pretty. Have grace with yourself and each other as you learn and grow together.”


Originally published in Family Foundations magazine, a publication of Couple to Couple League.