Ideas for Introducing Protestant Spouse to NFP


#1

Okay, here’s my situation.

I will be joining RCIA in the fall, and I’d like to get off ABC. DH and I have been using barrier methods since our beautiful daughter was born two years ago. We have two beautiful kids. We don’t feel it would be responsible to have another child right now because DH is in school, we are both working part time, and we only have a two bedroom apartment. We will have to find a three bedroom soon because our landlord does not like us having a boy and girl in the same bedroom. But I don’t know how we will find one affordable on our very limited budget and with hubby in school. You get the idea. When DH finishes school, I will quit work and live on whatever he makes. I can be frugal, and I know that motherhood is my vocation.

So ANYWAY. Jesus called me to the Catholic church last summer and I’m totally in love with it. At first, my sweet husband was dead set against me even joining. It has taken all of my sweet submissive spirit and patience (lol) to get him to finally consent for me to join. SO RCIA this fall. But DH and I have not discussed the ABC issue. I have an old copy of The Art of Natural Family Planning. I’ve been charting for a month and a half. Because I have a long cycle (up to 38 days), I think Phase II will be something like two and a half weeks. Yikes.

My spouse and I both came of age in devout Protestantism. When we married, we were taught that birth control is responsible stewardship. My spouse feels guilty if we DON’T use birth control - hey, sometimes, so do I. This dear man is pretty patient; not at all selfish about our time together; but how do I approach him? Also, he is very, very private about female things. He does NOT want to hear about my biology. Him helping me to chart would adamantly not be an option. Does anyone have any success stories? I don’t want to hear anything negative, just encouragement or outside articles with suggestions :slight_smile: Thanks :slight_smile:


#2

Pick up Christopher West’s “Theology of the Body for Beginners” or “Good News about Sex and Marriage”. They’re Catholic, but it’ll give you the background you’ll need to explain why all forms of birth control, not just abortifacients, are sinful.

My husband and I are also converts. The birth control issue was one that he left completely up to me to explain to him. :rolleyes: He wouldn’t ask the priest about it, he didn’t want to read Church teachings about it, he wanted me to explain to him, in terms he could understand and accept, why tinkering around with our fertility was contrary to God’s plan.

However, your situation is different, in that your husband won’t be joining the Church and won’t necessarily agree with all that is taught. That’s why I suggest reading as much as you can about the Church’s teachings, so you can explain it to him in terms you know he’ll be able to accept.

Just out of curiosity, does your lease with the apartment complex anywhere cite that a brother and sister sharing a room is a violation of the agreement?

Cheers,
Cari


#3

It is truly a shame that there aren’t more secular or Christian books on NFP that don’t include barrier method as Taking Charge of Your Fertility does.

Maybe you can emphasize the unitive aspect and how most couples actually enjoy a better sex life with NFP.


#4

I’m not sure if your husband is into theology and logically seeing how different life issues fit together, but if so, I agree with a previous poster about the Theology of the Body. NFP makes so much sense when looked at from a holistic view and combined with the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality (Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body) and pro-life (Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae)


#5

It sounds like you and your husband are happily married.

Why don’t you just tell him that this is important to you - not in a “we have to do this my way” fashion. Rather, “this is important to me and I want to share it with you because I think this will help improve our relationship.”

Sometimes I think we focus on the religious aspects so much, we forget the relationship aspects. Just because he was raised one way does not mean he won’t listen to you. Of course he might not agree right away, but shouldn’t we give our marriages a try first?


#6

About a year before we got engaged, I was researching NFP. I’ll confess that I had sort of decided that we would use ABC, mostly because I hadn’t been exposed to NFP as a viable option. When I tentatively broached it with my then-boyfriend (we knew it was just a matter of time until we married) he was immediately sold on the idea, even though I was having mixed feelings. He liked the “natural” aspect, no pills or latex, etc. So that was really a shock because he only became Catholic last weekend :slight_smile:

The other posters have great ideas about how to present it too, in terms of relationship, not “dry” theology about the aspects of intercourse. I hope you’re in for a pleasant surprise like I was.


#7

Well, you’re in mortal sin. And NFP isn’t just a birth control method that is OK for Catholics…it may only be used for VERY GRAVE reasons. How about letting God decide when it’s time to have another child and leave everything to Him? Surely He will provide for all of your knees if you are doing HIS will.


#8

You mean man-centered and humanistic?


#9

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. Does anyone know of a website which has success stories or anything like that? I’ve found lots of websites with success rates and the ability to buy books, but no “we did it” stories. My hubby doesn’t do theology, but I do, and I will pick up some Christopher West at my Christian bookstore to give my conviction some meat :slight_smile: I also really appreciate the suggestion to make it about something thats important to me, rather than a command.

As for the claim that I am in mortal sin, I have repented of the sin, based on the authority of the church. Even though I don’t “feel” any conviction, I acknowledge that I have done wrong. I don’t intend to do it again - that’s precisely why I am here getting advice. Since I am not allowed to join the Church until next year, I have no access to the sacrament of penance, but I am resolved in my heart to confess it when it finally comes around. I think that qualifies for not being in a state of mortal sin. But thanks for the admonishment. Perhaps that will motivate me. :shrug:

I would like to have another child, I honestly would. I have baby fever. But with not knowing where we are going to live, and with me having to work outside of the home (just till hubby gets through college), it seems like a wise time to temporarily postpone, If you’d like to talk me out of that (or tell me how to talk hubby out of it), hey, I’m all ears. I can’t wait to nurse another little one. :smiley:


#10

Ignore the post regarding only using NFP for “very grave” reasons. The Church does not teach this. The Church teaches the reason must be just and in conformity with moral norms.

As for “we did it” stories, I suggest you go to www.omsoul.com and look around. They have a lot of great info.

I suggest in addition to CCLI, you look into Creighton or Billings. You may have more days with a mucus method.


#11

Not the teaching of the church… so don’t worry about this post…
:wink:


#12

Oooh one thing that came to mind is to attack the problem from another angle… especially if your husband doesn’t “do theology”…

NFP is also a biologically healthier alternative…
Taking Charge of your Fertility is a great resource on the biology and the science behind the use of the NFP. It doesn’t touch on the religious/theological aspects at all (which is a shame, but not the point)… but it may be a good resource for your husband to feel comfortable with the method.

HTH!


#13

Rachel, even protestant faiths did not allow artificial birth control as morally permissable until 1930.

Approach your husband from the feminine aspect, i.e. you don’t like what the ABC is doing to your body. Don’t fret over the condoms for now, you can tackle that at a later time once your husband is comfortable with the knowledge that you are no longer drugging yourself. It’s not your sin if he is using the condoms, just don’t suggest the use of them yourself. And if you know you’re in a fertile time (after you’re familiar with tracking all your fertility phases of course), I highly suggest you abstain all together, don’t have sex at all during that time, even with a condom. Explain to your husband that since you’re now a normally functioning woman, that you’d best abstain because condoms have a miserable failure rate despite what the marketing and advertisements say, and you’re asking for trouble if you use them during your fertile time (I can give you some information on the lack of effectiveness of condoms, send me a PM if you’re interested). After a while, you’ll already be living the NFP lifestyle, so the condoms will become silly, and there will be no sense in using them at all.

I would absolutely put my foot down on the contraceptive drugs though. Don’t take them. Be forwarned, that once you stop taking the drugs, your cycle will take several months to normalise. You really should be doing this under the guidence of an experienced NFP counselor, especially because you are coming off of ABC. You can find a Couple Couple League teaching couple by typing in your zip code here. The class can be expensive if you’re on a tight budget, so save up a bit. Once you take the class, your counselors will be there for you to help you any time. When I first started learning, I would scan my charts to a file and e-mail them to my counselors with any questions I had. They can give you personal one on one guidence, it’s truely invaluable.

May God bless you during this major life transition! I hope all the best for you and your family. You’re doing the right thing, the healthiest thing, and the most loving thing!


#14

I did it. I practiced ABC for 11 years. I took Depo-Provera, “the pill”, Lunelle injections, another “pill”, and the patch. I was blessed with a pregnancy three months after stopping the ABC. I took the CCL Sympto-Thermal method class when my son was two months old, and a week from this Saturday he’ll be one year old. For me the NFP has been as effective as the ABC, although we are admittedly having sex less often. It’s more fun now though. Abstinance makes the heart grow fonder… :wink:


#15

Snarky!!! How about some charity???

Good grief. It is not up to YOU to decide whether a couple has a good reason to abstain from marital relations in order to postpone pregnancy. It is between the couple and God to discern through prayer. And CLEARLY the OP is wanting to be open to life and not wanting to use NFP for a contraceptive reason…why else would she be on here asking for advice. I hope she ignores your misleading posts.

As for the Theo of the Body being too “man centered” and “humanistic”…get a grip. Without these beautilful teachings MANY MANY people would not understand the Church’s teachings on marital love, and would probably end up contracepting.


#16

Actually Queen Anne there are objective standards on whether or not a reason is grave enough for the couple to use NFP, and it is for them to discuss with their priest. It isn’t just something they get to “discern” on their own and then decide to use it once they feel good about it. And cleary the OP IS using NFP for contraceptive reasons; if you read her post, she indicates that she wants to switch from using the barrier method to using NFP. How is that not using it for contraceptive reasons??

The Church’s teaching on contraceptive is pretty simple. Many couples didn’t and do not use contraception because the Church says it’s a sin, and against natural law, BEFORE Christopher West and the “beautiful” teachings of TOB. *“Oh, I get it now…since the sexual act mirrors the love of the Trinity, the barrier method is wrong but NFP is OK…” * Makes sense! :rolleyes:


#17

Show me where it lists the standards in Church teachings, please. And please provide documentation for the statement that couples must discuss NFP with their priest, instead of “discerning” it on their own.

Thank you,
Cari

p.s. Three conditions exist for the matter to be a mortal sin, as you know. Nowhere has the OP indicated that she has suffient knowledge of why all forms of b/c, including barrier methods, are evil. Without suffient knowledge, she isn’t committing a mortal sin. In fact, if you re-read her post, she hasn’t even joined RCIA yet. For all you know, based on her post, she hasn’t the faintest idea about the Church’s teachings on the subject, other than we “shouldn’t do it”. Hardly suffient knowledge.


#18

Perhaps the book “**Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception (Paperback)
**by Sam Torode (Author), Bethany Torode (Author)” would be of assistance?


#19

Artificial contraception, including barrier methods, is objectively a mortal sin as it violates natural law. One does not need to know what the Catholic Church specifically teaches to know it is a mortal sin, just as one does not need to know what the Church says on homosexuality to know based on natural principles that it is gravely immoral. As St. Paul would say, “They are without excuse.”

The following article, written by a priest in 1948, will shed light on the morality of NFP and its uses. Although the article is specifically addressing the rhythm method, the underlying moral principles of the rhythm method and “Natural Family Planning” are the same.
sspx.org/against_the_sound_bites/rhythm_unhappy_compromise.htm
And I know someone is going to bring this up as an objection anyway, but yes, this article is from the SSPX website, but it was written in 1948, and the Church’s moral teachings have not changed since then.
Here are some exerpts:

Contrary to widespread misunderstanding, Rhythm is not the same as contraception. It’s true that often the aim of the married couple is the same—they use Rhythm to avoid conception—but their method is not the same as the birth-controller. The practice of Rhythm is natural so far as the biological aspect is concerned. The practice of contraception is unnatural, against nature, a perversion just as truly as homosexuality. But just because Rhythm is “natural” doesn’t mean it is always morally good and permissible. The practice of Rhythm proceeds from a free and deliberate will—the will not to have children—that is directly opposed to the primary purpose of marital relations as ordained by God. Is such a free will choice contrary to the will of God and sinful?
he Church neither approves nor disapproves of the Rhythm Method as a system to be followed. The Church merely tolerates the use of this method. Tolerates indicates reluctant permission. And the Church only tolerates this method, when three definite factors are present. These three are:** First, there is sufficiently serious reason for a given couple to use this method, sufficiently serious enough to justify side-stepping the first purpose of marriage**; Second, both husband and wife are truly willing to follow the method —neither one can force the other to adopt this system; Third, the use of this method must not cause mortal sins against chastity nor become a proximate occasion of such sins. The breakdown of any one of those three factors makes the use of Rhythm sinful. So the correct attitude is this: The use of Rhythm is sometimes no sin, sometimes venial sin, sometimes mortal sin. Please stop saying, “Oh, it’s okay, the Church approves it.”

Now study carefully those three factors. First, a sufficient reason; theologians admit there are at times solid reasons to justify the use of the Rhythm system. These reasons may be permanent or only temporary —poverty, poor health of the mother (real, not pretended), frequent still-births or Caesarean births, medical necessity of spacing births because of the unusual fecundity of the wife, in other words, solid and honest reasons for avoiding births for a time, or maybe for all time. But even when such honest reasons are present (and so often today they are not) it still remains true that husband and wife must both be truly willing.

But all too often in actual daily life, one spouse is unwilling and is being high-pressured by the other. All moral theologians would condemn as a grave sin the exclusive use of the sterile period when it is not a truly free agreement on both sides. If not free, a grave injustice is done the other spouse. Such dangers and such mortal sins are frequent in our materialistic age. Confessors would do well to investigate the close relationship between “cheating” by married people and their use of Rhythm. So a good reason by itself is not enough. Circumstances change cases. A confessor’s help is advised. More about those three factors later.

Hope this puts the issue to rest!


#20

Natural Family Planning Blessed Our Marriage is a “we did it!” book.

I hope that is helpful.

I am marrying a protestant man, and I brought him over to the idea of NFP by enrolling us in the classes. I told him that this was something I wanted to do, and that it would be good for both of us. He attended, out of love for me, and once he learned the realities of ABC, he was all for NFP!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.