We celebrate National NFP Awareness Week, sharing couples’ stories of growth, gift of self and hope.
By: Christopher Yurasko, Staff Spotlight
Natural Family Planning is a concept that can strike unnecessary fear into the hearts and minds of so many engaged and married couples. I know this both as the Marriage Preparation Coordinator for the Diocese of Arlington and as a married man. My wife and I went through marriage preparation in the Diocese in 2007. I admit, at first, I was unenthusiastic about using NFP in my marriage. I thought it was going to be unreliable and unromantic. During our engagement, my wife and I took NFP classes to learn the Cervical Mucus Method using the Creighton Model.
Throughout the first couple of years of our marriage, as we faithfully placed a succession of green, red, yellow and baby stickers on our chart, we started to feel as if this method was not really for us. We could have despaired, given up completely on NFP, or compromised our faith life by introducing contraception into the picture. But, as I tell my friends, the big secret about NFP is that there isn’t just one method, and the method you try first might not be the one that is the best fit for you.
After some internet sleuthing, we found the Sympto-Hormonal Method using the Marquette Model. What a difference it made for us! The Marquette Model uses the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor to measure a woman’s hormone levels to determine days of fertility. This model does not require a woman to take her temperature or observe other signs of fertility. For us, practicing this particular method of NFP has been very beneficial. Often, a woman can feel responsible or bear the burden of recording and interpreting data to pinpoint days of fertility. Using the information provided by the monitor, together we are able to make prudent and prayerful decisions about when to be open to welcoming new life into our family and when to wait.
A common misconception is that couples who use NFP have to have as many children as the wife can physically bear – this is not the case at all.
After three kids and eight years of marriage, I truly appreciate what a blessing NFP is in our lives. NFP allows my wife and I to fully live out our vocation in harmony with the Church’s teachings on life and sexuality with hope and faith in God’s plan for our family. Not only is my wife able to avoid all of the health risks and side effects that are associated with hormonal contraceptives, but, by our awareness of my wife’s fertility cycle, we are also able to gain valuable information regarding her overall physical health. This also provides an open line of communication for us to discuss whether we feel God is calling us to be open to more children.
There is not a “one size fits all” approach to Natural Family Planning. In fact, there are three methods with various models to choose from. NFP allows you to tell your spouse every day, “I love and accept every part of you – including your fertility.” This unconditional love mirrors God’s love for us and is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your spouse.
For more information on Natural Family Planning, click here.
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