How do I talk to my wife about NFP (I'm terrible at these talks...)


#1

So...I really want to start using a family planning method that is in concert with what is right. My wife and I have been using "coitus interruptus" as a method for a long time...very successfully actually. I know it is wrong and wish to change. :blush:

I don't even know where to start for basics on NFP...it all seems very daunting and MUCH more complicated than what we do now. I also want to talk to my wife about this as she is the proponant of the method we use now even though I have repeatedly asked that we complete the act the way God wishes it be done. My choice has been to do as she wishes...or don't do it at all. :-(

I was hoping I could get some adivice on how to approach my wife in a loving way to discuss this with her. Anyone gone through this? Should I learn a method in advance of talking to her? I want to be as charitable and patient as I can. Thanks for the advice.


#2

Are you both practicing Catholics? How long have you been married? Do you have any children yet?

Where does the Church and your faith fit into the rest of your lives?

I'm guessing if you are nervous about even sitting down and just having a discussion about something that is important to you, that your wife has some control issues in your relationship.

It's not good when one partner has fear of discussing something with the other, and if that is the case, I think you have some other issues you need to work on as well.

Might as well lay it all out on the table and tell her you want to be partners and come to decisions together and learn how to work through things as a couple.


#3

Are you both practicing Catholics? How long have you been married? Do you have any children yet?

We are both Catholics and attend weekly mass. I practice a lot more of the faith than she does. We have been married 10 years and have three wonderful kids.

Where does the Church and your faith fit into the rest of your lives?

The Church is a daily part of our family life. We pray as a family and attend mass together. Lately we have been trying to enhance our faith in our family.

I'm guessing if you are nervous about even sitting down and just having a discussion about something that is important to you, that your wife has some control issues in your relationship.

My wife does not have "control issues in our relationship," I am just not the best communicator and I would like some help on framing and approaching the issue.

It's not good when one partner has fear of discussing something with the other, and if that is the case, I think you have some other issues you need to work on as well.

I suppose it's not so much that I am afraid; it is that I want to do it in the most effective way possible. One that isn't sanctimonious or condescending. I want to do it right...that's all. Thank you for your response as I appreciate your concern to help me try and be a better Christian husband.

Might as well lay it all out on the table and tell her you want to be partners and come to decisions together and learn how to work through things as a couple.


#4

I think it could help if you had some small idea of the options that are available to you first. Then, if she has a concern like, "I hate thermometers, they are so impractical", you won't be stumped, and have to start the conversation up again next week. :) You'll already know there are ways without thermometers.

Do you know why "talks" never go to well for you? Any ideas on that?

In my marriage, sometimes one person does most of the research and then the other one gives input. It simply saves time. Do you two have a pattern like that that you can latch into?


#5

"I think it could help if you had some small idea of the options that are available to you first. Then, if she has a concern like, "I hate thermometers, they are so impractical", you won't be stumped, and have to start the conversation up again next week. You'll already know there are ways without thermometers.

Thank you so much for your response! I appreciate it. I like this idea...go into the conversation with a little background research first.

Do you know why "talks" never go to well for you? Any ideas on that?

Yeah I do. It's a long story but some things in my past make it difficult for me to deal with things like this. Something I've been working on with a professional to be a better man, husband, father. Day by day! I try to push myself to have discussions like this with the people I care about as it helps me grow. This is why I am looking for ideas on how to approach this topic.

In my marriage, sometimes one person does most of the research and then the other one gives input. It simply saves time. Do you two have a pattern like that that you can latch into?"

Yes. We do. We live on a small farm and my wife is a very studious person. She reads and reads and reads. She is also extremely practical which is why I read all the philosophy/religious material and she reads about planting seasons and whatnot. This topic is a bit of a hybrid as it mixes practical family planning and religion. Also, isn't most the work/responsibility hers in a NFP practice?


#6

I'm not an expert on NFP but I do think the husband is actually supposed to be pretty well involved. So that you no not to even initiate on days that are fertile, if in fact your trying NOT to have kids for now. Rather than always make her say no...

Anyhow... here's a link
that seems to have some good QUICK info.

I'd read that...

THEN, I would approach your wife. Hey honey... You KNOW how we're trying to enhance our faith within our family. I was hoping you'd take a look into NFP... And that we could learn about it... and then once "mastered" we can move on from "interruptus". What do you think?

Then if she presents you with any objections.. you can investigate those, and go from there...

Good luck!


#7

I'm going to suggest a sideways approach because of what you've mentioned already...

How about taking the medical approach and showing her that it is medically effective?
There is a fabulous book and website called Taking Charge of your Fertility. Now, it's not "NFP" (they use the term "FAM", family awareness method) because they recommend using barrier contraception during the fertile phase. This is against church teaching, so you'll just have to alter it to your beliefs, but it is medically a very sound book. It's the same method as the "Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP".
It may help break the ice, so to speak, so that she feels more comfortable with it's effectiveness. Sometimes that makes the transition easier and then you can just simply continue to pray that God opens her heart to the true teaching on it...

As for other resources, first contact your diocese to see if there are local classes available. Call the instructor and see if they have any advice... they often have a lot of experience with all aspects.

Next you can research more online:
Sympto-Thermal info:
ccli.org/
nfpandmore.com/

Creighton Model:
creightonmodel.com/

Marquette method:
nfp.marquette.edu/

HTH!! Prayers for you and your wife...


#8

If it were me, I might start out by talking about how effective it is, MORE effective than the method you are currently using, btw. So if you are done having kids or trying not to have them right now, you can be much more certain this way. So it is only practical that you would want to do what is most effective.

I would also say how great you think it is that your family's faith is becoming such an important aspect of your lives and wouldn't it be great if you could incorporate this aspect into your growing faith. Also, you can always mention how much closer it could bring you as a couple since you both have to be intimately aware of her cycles and find other ways to be close on her fertile days :) It's good bonding.


#9

Just a FYI - NFP falls totally on her plate and unless you ovulated - you really have nothing to do with it.

I'm not saying don't try it - or it won't work but let me give you a real working couple prospective. My husband and I have been married for about 10 years and didn't practice NFP until after our 3rd child was born. My husband had always wanted to but we didn't have the resources available to learn it. So I agreed - we both ended up beyond frustrated with the method because of the extended length we went without sex, confusing signs, limitations on when you can have sex (only in the evening, every other day when not futile) and he really didn't like the fact I would have the remove the semen after we would have intercourse. And no, I didn't/don't have any medical problems - was cleared by one of the best medical clinics in the world.

Just be forewarned - NFP isn't for every couple and it is presented with rose colored glasses lot of the information and the details you aren't told until your 3 or 4th session.


#10

[quote="antihippy79, post:5, topic:229406"]
Yeah I do. It's a long story but some things in my past make it difficult for me to deal with things like this. Something I've been working on with a professional to be a better man, husband, father. Day by day! I try to push myself to have discussions like this with the people I care about as it helps me grow. This is why I am looking for ideas on how to approach this topic.

[/quote]

You may need to be ready to say, "I know I've fumbled in talks like this before, so interrupt when needed to let me know if you need me to approach the talk differently as we converse about this today."

Yes. We do. We live on a small farm and my wife is a very studious person. She reads and reads and reads. She is also extremely practical which is why I read all the philosophy/religious material and she reads about planting seasons and whatnot. This topic is a bit of a hybrid as it mixes practical family planning and religion. Also, isn't most the work/responsibility hers in a NFP practice?

It is and it isn't. All the methods require the woman to observe her body. But some methods encourage the man to be the record-keeper, interact with the charting, or read the thermometer. You can ask your wife how she would like it, what things would make her feel best for you to do. Maybe she'd freak out if she had to trust your chart analysis. :hypno: Or, maybe she'd like the opportunity to watch you read the thermometer, squinting in the early morning light, while she lolls in bed. :p *

I see what you mean that you two cover different reading topics. She might want to be the one to pick the exact method to learn well, after having researched them to her satisfaction. But I think you should offer to provide whatever research she would like, be it in your field, the theological, or the practical.

Just a thought, you might want to provide method effectiveness information from a website that is not an exclusive NFP site in your initial talk, so that she will trust the effectiveness statistics.*


#11

[quote="convert38, post:9, topic:229406"]
Just a FYI - NFP falls totally on her plate and unless you ovulated - you really have nothing to do with it.

[/quote]

Our teachers taught to get the husbands as involved as they wanted to be. In fact, they discussed the possibility for the husband to record and check all of these signs for his wife...
I personally don't mind doing everything myself, but just saying it doesn't have to be totally a one-way street.

[quote="convert38, post:9, topic:229406"]

So I agreed - we both ended up beyond frustrated with the method because of the extended length we went without sex, confusing signs, limitations on when you can have sex (only in the evening, every other day when not futile) and he really didn't like the fact I would have the remove the semen after we would have intercourse. And no, I didn't/don't have any medical problems - was cleared by one of the best medical clinics in the world.

[/quote]

Wow, that's not anything like I learned... no sex in the evenings? Every other day? Not cleaning yourself afterward? (that's certainly not a "teaching")

That sounds like the techniques that some use to TRY to conceive (sex every other day during the fertile period, preferably in the mornings), but certainly nothing I've ever read as a suggestion for avoiding conception?
What method did you learn????


#12

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:11, topic:229406"]
Wow, that's not anything like I learned... no sex in the evenings? Every other day?

[/quote]

I think I know some of what she is talking about.

It is not no sex in the evenings. It is wait until the evening to have sex, so you have a full set of mucus observations for the day. I learned this for phase 1 of sympto-thermal. It wasn't for phase 3. Every other day was also for phase 1, so that the after-effects of relations would not confuse the mucus. These were for avoiding. Maybe they don't use those rules anymore, though. It probably depends on your method of NFP.


#13

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I really appreciate it. I will post again after "the talk". :)


#14

[quote="Pug, post:12, topic:229406"]
I think I know some of what she is talking about.

It is not no sex in the evenings. It is wait until the evening to have sex, so you have a full set of mucus observations for the day. I learned this for phase 1 of sympto-thermal. It wasn't for phase 3. Every other day was also for phase 1, so that the after-effects of relations would not confuse the mucus. These were for avoiding. Maybe they don't use those rules anymore, though. It probably depends on your method of NFP.

[/quote]

Okay, yes - for some reason I was thinking about phase 3 and it wasn't making any sense. Yes, that makes sense for phase 1...

My point is... that even in the MOST CONSERVATIVE use, where couples abstain *entirely *up until phase 3, at that point you have the *entire *luteal phase (9-17 days) that are totally free from restrictions like those.


#15

Antihippy79, it sounds like you already know what you're going to say to your wife. But I just wanted to suggest that perhaps you should look into your diocese's NFP class schedules. Perhaps you can suggest to your wife that you two should take an NFP overview class together.

The class might be a good way to get the real--more than just an "I want to learn about it"--discussion going. You two will be given the argument for NFP from the Church and can, perhaps, just go out for coffee or tea afterwards and talk about what you just heard. "How did you feel when the instructor said....?"

Your post reminds me of my husband and myself. I was interested and he was not, but after going through an overview class together, he had a change of heart. I have a difficult chart, and so it has not been easy. But we both love it, and I feel very loved by how involved he is.

I observe my mucus; he records it. And sometimes, when my most fertile mucus comes at night, I show it to him and we both decide what it is. He gives me the thermometer in the morning and records my temperatures. He helps in making sure I get enough sleep to record my temps.

Someone else recommended the book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility," and so I also just wanted to give a nod to it, too. NFP and the understanding of a woman's body that it promotes can be very empowering. This book made me feel empowered, and maybe it can help your wife, too.

Good luck!


#16

Everyone else has great advice. :) I just want to suggest you look into FertilityFriend.com (a lot of people at this forum use it and love it). I used it to chart my fertility while we were using NFP to avoid conception AND while we were using NFP to conceive. It takes all of the "math" and guesswork out of charting which for me was a very good thing! :) Basically you just input your data and let their algorithm do the rest.

Here is my chart, for the sake of example:
fertilityfriend.com/home/300ca6

(Note that the featured chart at the top is atypical because it's a pregnancy chart.)


#17

Ok guys...I did it. We had a nice talk privately over dinner tonight. It went well except now I have a bigger problem...

After talking with my wife about completeing the act in a way that is acceptable to the Church (and using NFP) she explained that she feels a very severe burning sensation from the transmission of the fluid. She didn't want to hurt my feelings before and so she didn't explain the severity. She said this has been since the day we were married. I knew she felt discomfort to some degree and she had expressed it before (not the severity that she explained tonight). She said this is why she has been so reluctant to use any method other than coitus interruptus. She did agree that she wishes we could do things the right way.

She suspects she has a serious allegy to "me..." but not me directly (I'm trying to be a little discreet, so I hope you get my drift here). Her Doctor does not know the reason for this and also suspects irritation or allergy as she has no other medical issues. She said she was only able to bear the burning/pain when we were making kids (and even then she would complain about it but shes very stoic). This issue only happens at the end of our embrace and lasts for about an hour after. She hates it.

Now I feel terrible. It's very painful to think that I am causing her this pain if we were to follow the Church's teachings. Would the Church allow us to use coitus interruptus so as to reduce the medical issue my wife has? Is this ever allowed? I'm confused and frustrated and I don't know where to turn on this problem.:(

Thanks for your compassion and advice.


#18

Actually, this is not the first time I've heard of a woman having an "allergy" to her man. All that I can really suggest is that you ask another doctor. Perhaps you wife's current doctor isn't familiar with this issue, and doesn't know what's causing it. Perhaps her doctor has never heard of this before. Has her doctor offered no solutions to you? The burning sensation is not normal, and it's really in your wife's best interest to figure out what is causing it.

As far as the morality issue goes, coitus interruptus would still be considered immoral.


#19

DEFINITELY worth discussing with her doctor!!!!

Do some google searches... this came up when searching for "semen allergy"...
essortment.com/semen-allergy-26287.html
mayoclinic.com/health/semen-allergy/AN01225

I would first contact her OB and then ask about recommendations to see an allergist that can help with this.
It's not unheard of... so there is HOPE!!! :thumbsup:


#20

I know you are now in a new bind, but I'm still glad the talk went well for you. I've heard of a medical issue somewhat like this before. You may need to go to a specialist doctor to get the full scoop. Your marital relations are worth it to spend the time to find out what is wrong and if it can be fixed/helped. I think fixing it is the best solution all round, if it is possible.

You may need to talk with a good priest to find out what your options are after trying the medical route and finding out all you can, so you can tell the priest exactly what you have to work with.

:gopray:


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