An Explanation for Natural Family Planning
by Trudy Whittaker
used with permission
Donald DeMarco once explained it this way.
When you are getting married, you send out invitations . However, there is always a limit to how many you can invite. Some people will not get invitations.
Abstaining when you are fertile is the same as not sending an invitation to God inviting Him to add a new child to your family.
Of course, you send a wedding invitation to your grandmother who is in a nursing home, even when you know that she cannot come. You probably send some invitations to far away friends and relations who you know also can not come.
This is like having sexual relations while infertile.
However, would you ever send out un-invitations? That is, would you send out notices telling people they weren't invited? Of course not, you answer, this would really hurt them. Why would we do this?
But this is what we do to God when we contracept or are sterilised.
Now this analogy is not perfect but it certainly explains, in a simplified way, what happens when we attempt to separate our fertility from our married life.
My own impression is that this 'separation' of fertility and marriage in the form of sterilisations and contraception weakens marriages.
In the very act that God has designed to unite us, we no longer accept the total reality of the other. We no longer accept our mutual fertility as a wonderful gift, but we see it has a burden, a medical problem.
When we had to abstain during the fertile time, this was a time of real growth in our relationship. I can remember spending most of the night talking, I can remember times of abstainance that led to wonderful times of prayer and spiritual growth.
As an N.F.P teacher couple, we have reviewed the reasons that couples give for wanting instruction. Most indicate dissatisfaction with current means of contraception. More than half the couples were not Catholic, and few indicated that they were seeking this information for religious reasons.
I can still remember our excitment when we first learned N.F.P. From the start we were comunnicating about things that we never had before. We have learned much about ourselves and about each other, we have grown in our trust of each other. The times of abstainance have been gifts of love, and have helped us to truly be a gift for each other.
Also we have been able to be a witness to our teenagers, that chastity and self-control are very possible. Because we are a teacher couple, our children have been aware of our Family Planning choice, and they whole- heartedly approve. It is a great joy that our teens are staunchly pro-life and pro-chastity. One of my daughters once did a high school English assignment on the topic that N.F.P. enhanced family life.
I guess that my testimony is that contraception was bad for me, emotionally and physically, and that N.F.P. has been very good for me personally, for my marriage, and for our relationship with our children.