Finding Common Ground in Marriage

When two young people come from different upbringings, it can be a challenge to find areas to build a marriage on. But, when they have both discovered the wonder and beauty of God’s plan for marriage, things can fall quickly into place. Shawn and Felicity are one couple who can attest to the connection that can be made when the common denominators are TOB, NFP and faith.

Foundational Events

Having parents that were both scientists, Felicity learned about her faith and fertility as a natural part of growing up. She witnessed her father loving her mother as they lived out their faith. Her mom let her know that natural family planning was a practical and viable way of life. She was told that she and her siblings were all wanted and planned.

Shawn, on the other hand, had a different experience, coming from a divorced family. He was fortunate to be in a Catholic youth group where he learned about Theology of the Body. He instinctively recognized that if his parents had been able to live the way Saint Pope John Paul II was teaching, their marriage could have been so different. They could possibly have had a happier life. Learning what the church taught about natural family planning was the catalyst for him to dive deeper into his faith. “By the time I was looking for a spouse, I was very excited for the process of practicing NFP with my future wife.”

Loving “Like That”

Shawn and Felicity met through mutual friends while she was in grad school at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. They immediately made a connection. “It was really cool that the second phone date that we had, he told me his witness story,” shares Felicity. “There was an awkward pause after he told me that TOB was the reason he was practicing his faith. I don’t know about other girls, but I assured him it was really romantic that someone wanted to love me like that. That he was praying for someone to love in that way and have kids with astounded me.”

Fast forward a bit and their wedding becomes the first post-covid ceremony at the Notre Dame Basilica. Marriage prep at the university required at least an introduction class to NFP, but they opted for a full CCL NFP course. They were fascinated with the science and started using the charting app even before their wedding. Shawn shares, “Living a NFP lifestyle encourages communication. You are actually talking about all the aspects of your fertility. It was special to know that, when we were trying to achieve a pregnancy, we could be looking at our chart and know that we were possibly going to be parents.”

Giving Back

Felicity teaches Anatomy and Physiology at the university level. What she considers very special is sharing the basic biology of fertility. Her female students become excited with the knowledge that they can take ownership of their fertility. The male students are fascinated that a women’s cyclic hormonal changes can be so varied. “They are gratified to learn that they can take better care of the women in their lives in a way they never thought they could before.” It is Felicity’s favorite unit to teach every year. She knows it makes a practical impact in their lives. At the end of the course, Felicity asks for an evaluation. One female student wrote that she felt she “could actually be a woman in a way that is more real.”

Shawn is a 7th grade teacher. Loving opportunities to teach together, they are now training to be a Teaching Couple for CCL. “We noticed there are not a lot of opportunities to learn NFP in an economical way in our area,” explained Felicity. “Shawn and I want to give back in a way that is true to us. We loved learning NFP from CCL and love teaching together.” Shawn described how, even early in their marriage, they had both wanted to do some kind of evangelizing. Teaching NFP ticks all their boxes.

Advice for Couples

Asked what their advice would be for couples wanting to practice NFP, Shawn wants them to know the blessing NFP can be for a marriage. An actively involved spouse lets his wife know that he does care and is there for her. Felicity shares how blessed she feels knowing that “her sons are being raised by a dad, like her dad. One who will teach them about the reality of their fertility. They will be part of the men of the church who will love on their wives, like Shawn has loved on me, and my dad has loved on my mom.”

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