Contraceptive / NFP Advice


#1

I have asked my husband for a while now to try using NFP so that we follow church teaching, however I think I complicated things by also saying that I thought we should think about starting a family soon. While I went off of birth control (because of the moral implications) and started charting, he refused to stop using condoms because he didn’t trust NFP as an effective way to avoid pregnancy.

Recently he said he would be willing to try starting a family this November. Because he is now ready though he also mentioned maybe trying to be open to life (not using condoms) but avoiding the fertile time so that he could “prove” that NFP wouldn’t work. Basically he is expecting me to get pregnant anyway and prove me wrong. He is willing to try it not because he is accepting the Church teaching on it but rather because he is coming around to the idea of having kids.

So I am torn. While I want to start a family and don’t feel we should wait much longer (I’ll be 31 in Feb), I also feel it is important for him to learn/see that it is possible to use NFP to follow the Church teachings and avoid pregnancy. Even if he doesn’t understand or agree with why the Church is against contraceptives, if he is re-assured that it is possible to use NFP then eventually after we do have a child he might consider just using NFP instead of resorting back to condoms.

While having a child soon is what I am yearning for and would bring good to us as a family. Having him learn to practice a moral way to be intimate is also important… What should I do?

I know one question I haven’t asked him but would be relevant would be how many months of not conceiving using NFP would it take for him to accept it.


#2

I am confused.

Which church’s teaching are you following? You have protestant listed on your profile. Is your husband Catholic?


#3

Sorry for the confusion. I am going through RCIA (this is my second year) and will be entering the Catholic Church this coming Easter. My husband was raised Catholic then fell away from the faith. We both started attending Mass last January when we went through con-validation (since we were not married in the Catholic Church and did not receive dispensation) and while I was really drawn to the faith and started attending RCIA, he is attending Mass but still not convinced on some of the Catholic Church teachings (like contraception).

I hope that clears it up.


#4

Just my opinion…

I think you have bigger issues going on here than the mechanics of regulating family size. Communication and trust things you better work on before adding kids to your relationship.

Just for full disclosure we have never used NFP.


#5

For many (even very healthy) women, it is not that easy to get pregnant after 31. How do you know that God would give you more children than you would want, and that you would even need any contraception at all? Pregnancy is a miracle if it happens at all, especially in your 30s when you are way past your most fertile age.


#6

Talk to a gynecologist. 31 is not too old. My mother was 32 when I was born.

beginningcatholic.com/catholic-natural-family-planning

God bless,
Ed


#7

I don’t quite understand your response… I’m the one who is not wanting to use contraceptives and who wants to start having kids. I’m only trying to debate what is best at this time. While I don’t want to delay having children, I also would like for my husband to be on the same page as I am in regards to the morality of the marital act and I see this as an opportunity for us to get on the same page.


#8

I am sorry if I misunderstood. I guess I just did not get why you would be worried about contraception/NFP when you want to have children. The issue of contraception/NFP is only relevant to couples who are more fertile than they would like to be. It is possible that this will never be your case, so why worry about it at all. Your husband has his own spiritual path, and if he is willing to have children now, I would be happy and not worry about what happens in the future, when it is very likely that you might never have an issue of “too much fertility.” I guess the bottom line is: why do you want to push him into NFP, when you may never need to use it?


#9

If it helps any, it took my husband alittle over a year to see that it works. However, he only decided to try it because he knew how important it was to me. He isn’t religious so he didn’t have an opinion on Church teaching. I did inform him that the Church teaches that I can’t force him to not use condoms, etc. I also let him read the science behind NFP so that helped him feel comfortable with trying it.

I would suggest that he study the science with you and he should be willing to be part of the process of learning when you are fertile or not.

Good luck and don’t worry too much about age. A healthy marriage foundation is more important for the child (ren) to be brought into instead of hoping to build it after. I apologize if I misunderstood your post.

God Bless


#10

There are two seperate issues here.

  1. Nfp and when to use it and its effectiveness. And the more concerning…
  2. The almost demented thinking of someone who in trying to prove nfp doesn’t work chooses to have this be the dicerning factor if when to be open to life.

Nfp cannot and will not work in a marriage where one partner is actively working against the other to be “right”

You have to solve your marital issues before you can take on nfp.

That being said, you can provide the information to him on the various methods and thier effectiveness at not bringing life into the world.

I hope with your conversion that you both gain a better understanding of marriage and children and sex. I would caution you however that some of his “hostility” could very well have to go with your conversion.

Please try not to have your children be pawns in an argument over who is right before they are even concieved.

His view is ultimately one of power. The power to dictate when and where life will be created according to a person’s want and will while still having the sexual experience.

It’s the ultimate lie of artificial birth control.

He should be a partner that helps you achieve heaven. And you should will that for him as well. That is each spouses number one job. This does not sound conducive to that end.

Sorry, if that is a tad harsh. I know that you are new to the faith. I can work on being more gentile if this conversation continues.

For the record my wife and I are both converts who went from ABC (artificial birth control) to nfp, to neither. So we have experienced some of what you describe. My wife wished to use nfp when I did not feel the need to use it to space so we also have experience when one partner wants to use it and the other does not.

I will also say that his position has potential to be a self fulfilling prophecy. Nfp will not work if he is not on board with the knowlege of the method and marital continence.


#11

Interesting topic. My wife and I started late, married late, just had our second 15 months after our first at 40!

My situation is almost the reverse. I am Catholic and She is Protestant. We are quite happy with 2 children so quickly and at this late age, quite content. I fear it being an issue and I don’t know how to get her to buy in… Of course her gyno has talked to her about an IUD, and I have to convince her of NFP instead. I doubt on two levels she would agree. Based on her perception.

  1. Effectiveness and 2. Level of effort vs. contraceptive.

Can anyone help?


#12

Have a look at Lady Comp. It’s a little device which takes your temp and charts for you. Thus taking human error out of the equation. I trust it; it knows my body now better than I do! Even tells me to the day when I’ll likely start my cycle. If it helps, I’m in RCIA too and we used condoms before deciding on Catholicism. We already have five kids and don’t want anymore right now. So it was a real leap of faith when we went to NFP. I was worried it wouldn’t prevent pregnancy, but honestly, Lady Comp is very reliable. The main difference is learning to abstain in fertile times.


#13

Lady comp is great and also great if a partner is not 100 percent trusting of nfp.
I’d suggest using it in tandem with physical (sympto) checks.

It’s real easy and strait forward so her husband may trust it more.

Red light means don’t even look at me.
Yellow light means ok, but cross your fingers.
Green light means we are good to go.

My one caution is depending on your sex life and each person’s body, red light might be the time where sex is most desirable…


#14

What is it a thermometer? I haven’t researched NFP methods. I am generally aware of temping and mucuosal checking.


#15

Lady comp or its conception counterpart, baby comp, is a “computer” that uses daily temps and cycle information to calculate “safe” days. It is interactive in that the more months you use it to more accurate it can be. It is quite expensive. But it was incredibly reliable for us. Your first few months your red and yellow days will be quite numerous, as it “learns” more and more green lights will appear. You can google it. A “refurbished” one was about 500 dollars last time I checked.


#16

I should clarify that we have been abstaining during fertile times and he has a general understanding of how NFP works, he just isn’t confident that it can work on its own. So when we are intimate during non-fertile times he uses condoms. His thinking is that while there are signs of fertile times you can have odd things happen where you can’t predict it and may not know you are fertile.

so in a sense we do cooperate and communicate what is happening with my body, however he has a difficult time giving up control of this particular aspect. He hasn’t learned to trust God with our fertility and trust that NFP can help. Every other aspect of our marriage has been great.

As far as your comment about leading each other to heaven, I think that is mostly what my question was about. It isn’t that I so much want to prove i’m right but rather could this be an opportunity to set aside my desire to have children at the moment and help my husband see the bigger picture.


#17

Are there stats as to how effective it is at predicting non-fertile days?


#18

It looks like it has a pearl index of between .7 and 1.

If you google lady comp effectiveness you can read a lot of articles or see what the lady comp site says.


#19

It erroneous thinking to believe God will manipulate your fertility in accord with your wishes (if that’s what you’re suggesting).


#20

So, I don’t want to derail the point of this thread. Which is how to have effective nfp with a spouse who doesn’t quite trust it. You have some good starting points here. I would also encourage you to find an nfp instructor that can help. Many here will suggest couple to couple leage. The closest I can get to recommending them is that some people would recommend them…;). You can search the forums here and see that almost all nfp threads will get pretty argumentative. People talk about if nfp can be used with a contraceptive mentality.
It’s a fine line between postponing a pregnancy because it isn’t a good idea right now and postponing one because one spouse is trying to prove something to the other.

Nfp is a concession of mercy. Not every Catholic couple has to use it. Nor is it the default for marital relations. Your husband (and maybe even you) seem to wish to wield this control over your fertility. Actually, control is fine when done with communication with God. But.i think this goes deeper than you know. Sex is becoming something you are using against the other. Your husband is desiring sex and not caring that you don’t wish to have a barrier between you. You are using it to show him that a mechanism of birth control is reliable. Neither of you seems to be dicerning your marital vocation and when you should co create life with God.

It may be something to ponder.


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