His, Mine, and Ours-Our NFP Journey
I have four siblings. Growing up, my mom said that I was the only one planned but said it in a way that the surprise of my siblings were a blessing not a burden. Public school health class in 5th grade was my first introduction to family planning and by that I mean condoms. But even in my public school health class we were encouraged to abstain from sex until we were adults. It wasn’t until I was in college that I heard of Natural Family Planning but once I heard it things really clicked. My life experience had been children are good even when unplanned, God loves children, and God created intercourse for the married couple to be fruitful. As a young adult I was beginning to understand that family planning would be important for my future family. Natural Family Planning fit that consistent message that I had grown up with.
When I was 13 my mom took me to a lovely mother daughter tea at our church. There were several different presenters throughout the day one of them was my Sunday school teacher’s fiance. She was young, fun, and engaging. She talked about why she and her soon-to-be husband would be using natural family planning (NFP) in their marriage. I just remember thinking if I ever get married I want to do that! Even at the tender age of 13 I saw a real merit to a married couple approaching intimacy in this way. Using the woman’s signs of fertility throughout her cycle to avoid, or achieve, a pregnancy. While at the same time communicating with each other month after month about what is best for their family.
Fast forward a few years. Ben and I dated for only 6 months and I don’t recall us talking about NFP. When we got engaged and started planning our wedding we chose our master and mistress of ceremonies (Ben’s boss at the time). They answered, “Of course! Now you just need to sign up for our NFP course!” We didn’t hesitate to do as they said and it was a wonderful experience! They taught the sympto thermal method of NFP with Couple to Couple League. We got to know several other couples in our class and our instructors exuded joy. They mentioned that statistically couples who use NFP are less likely to get divorced (1), and these two math majors were hooked that this was the right thing for us! Learning about the way God designed our bodies and focusing on our marriage instead of just the wedding was so exciting for us.
We were just kids but I am so thankful we started on this wild journey of marriage on the right foot. We did not go into it thinking that using NFP in our marriage would fix everything. Nor did we assume it would be easy. (Anything worth doing rarely ever is.) But we felt armed with the understanding of God’s design for our marriage and that NFP is a way to help us grow in holiness particularly during times of abstaining.
12 years later I can honestly tell you every one of our 4 beautiful children were planned and expected. NFP has given us the ability to have full knowledge of our window of fertility and to have a conversation about our openness to life at that moment. We are so thankful to God for granting us this understanding from the beginning of our marriage and we pray for all of you who have also taken this leap of faith. For those of you who feel unsure or uneasy about NFP please reach out to friends that are using it, and if you don’t know any contact me. The Lord’s plan for your marriage is better than you can even imagine and by trusting Him you will be greatly blessed as He unfolds His plan for your fam.