Natural Family Planning (NFP) method of spacing conception is approved by the Church for grave reasons and only for a short time?


#1

This threw me off on the avie maria site,

Natural Family Planning (NFP) method of spacing conception is approved by the Church for grave reasons and only for a short time, NFP can also be used for the wrong reasons and motive.

I’ve got a lot to learn, and I’m reading as much as I can. This statement refers to newly weds right? People that are trying to keep from having kids? That I understand.

So the fact that I plan to only have two kids and use NFP after, is that OK? I was starting to worry that practicing catholics were not having a lot of love-making going on after you’ve maxed out on the kids.

And from what I’ve read once I’m married, withdrawal during love-making is bad, so I better understand NFP or I’m going to be having more than two kids.


#2

The point with NFP is should always be open to life. Pope John Paul II said this about NFP in marriage "married couples can really attain, through God’s grace and commitment to the natural methods, a deeper and stronger conjugal unity. This unity flows from and is enhanced by the dialogue, shared responsibility, mutual respect and self-control which are achieved in their practice of natural family planning


#3

#4

Thanks for the replies. Couple more questions.

NFP can be used to space or delay more children but the couple should always be examining their motives and should be open to life at all times.

I live in california. I would feel it was being careless if I had more than two children. I want to be able to pay for their college, etc. So what I’m really wondering, if at the point that I know I no longer want to have children, then does that mean I should stop having sex? So as a catholic we are only suppossed to have sex during the life making portion of our lives? I’m confused.


#5

OK, had the big debate with the family. I guess I’m lucky to have strong catholic sister’s and mother around me. I guess I need to let it sink in, or maybe need some maturity to grasp things.

So I guess the next issue I would have to work out would be, “how bad is it going to be if I’m not a completely devote catholic”. I understand the blessing that having 12 kids would bring me. But I’m not that good of a man. I am somewhat selfish, would like to live next to the beach and give an education to my children and retire and travel one day. So maybe my soul will pay for my selfishness and I won’t reach that level of maturity. I know gods plan for me, I would have a heart attack after the third one, I don’t deal with stress very well. I’m stressing out just thinking about dating a catholic woman.

The other issue I have, from what I’ve been reading from marriage problems on this forum. Women feel loved through communication. Men in general feel loved through physical intimacy. So if I got to the point where I was serious with a girl, it would be important to find out if she believed that it was a wives duty to take care of her man (again being selfish, but baby steps for me) I don’t want to be in a loveless marriage. And it seems like popping out kids would be designing your life so that your wife will want to stop making love to me. I personally think it is emotionally abusive. It would be like a man planning to never talk to his wife.


#6

To IUNKNOWN: While your questions and comments are honest, they seem based on certain premises that are not. Getting things seems to be the goal. We live in a world where people “get” sex, and count how many days, weeks, and months since they last “got laid”. We also live in the world of disposables where a “mistake” means abort the fetus. Or if we give birth to that child, we define and scar them as “our little mistake”. No life is a mistake. (Ask someone who has had a difficult time conceiving.) We read that the latest scientific finding says that “men think love is physical contact” and women think love is…" and then we all jump on the bandwagon and say. "Yeah, that must be true."
But men aren’t all Neandrathal and women aren’t all emotional and frigid. Contemporary books, magazines, and media are often coming from a very sick, neurotic, erroneous place. We drive ourselves crazy trying to prove that the popular culture/general ideology is true and beautiful. Yet it is so removed from nature.

In a world where you are open to the life that sexual intercourse can make, you must first respect your partner, learn that love is more than “getting”, and occasionally practice self-control and find other ways to express love. This will not be a miserable or loveless marriage, trust me. You become more open to what our true purpose is. Keep listening to your Mom and sister and do some thinking for yourself. You can still have your beach and college and sanity…and maybe a whole lot more.


#7

I recommend two books:

Good News about Sex and Marriage by Christopher West
Life-Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn.

West’s book does an excellent job discussing human sexuality. I thought about Hahn’s book because of your insistance (way too early IMO) that you can only handle 2 children. How do you know 3 would give you a heart attack? It seems that you may be a bit presumptuous in all of your reasonings at this point.

Do some more research and be open to what the Church teaches. God bless you in your search.


#8

A Catholic can never morally say “I’m done having children” . You have to still keep checking -husband , wife and God, to make sure this isn’t a good time. The answer might always be no , it’s not a good time we don’t have enough resources but you can never stop checking. Remember you always need to be open to God to over rule your human decision as well. He may call you to be more generous than you thought you were capable of. He will always give you the grace to overcome it. The marital act is part of marriage. You don’t stop it without a good reason. It is the renewal of your wedding vows. It isn’t healthy for most marriages to be void of the sexual act. There are exceptions such as if one spouse is completely rendered incapable or there is an unusual religious situation and vow of celibacy. For the most part though , we spouses are obligated to provide sex as part of our relationship. God created it for marriage and it is a holy part of it.


#9

Don’t confuse intimacy with sex. It’s not the same thing. Men do like sex but when physical intimacy is spoken about it really means men often require physical touch as part of thier love language. Not just the sexual kind. Think, caressing and hand holding and such. Limiting sex does not equate with a loveless marriage. There are a million other ways to communicate love. The key is to find out your specific language of love as well as your spouses and communicate well using those. Don’t limit expressing love only as a sexual thing. It’s so much more. Don’t believe in stereotypes either. Men cut sex off in marriage just as much as women do. Those are unhealthy marriages. You can avoid that by maturing and understanding marriage and what it means. When you are married you are a servant to the other. You don’t worry so much about the other person “taking care of me”. Men are called to Love thier wives as Christ loved the Church. That’s what you want to grow towards. And yes you do want to discuss things such as your sexual expectations with your future wife. We bring baggage to our relationships and some of that needs to be gone through. You want to pick a wife who will help you grow to be the man Christ wants you to be.And you will want to do the same for her. That’s Catholic marriage.Helping each other grow in holiness and get to heaven. Sex, as God designed it is a part that.

Read a book about Love Languages . I recommend also Greg Popcak’s book For Better , Forever - Lifelong Guide to Catholic Marriage.The Christopher West book - The good news about sex and marriage is good as well as the studies on Theology of the Body he has will shed some more light for you.


#10

haven’t read much of the thread but this caught my eye.
when i was in high school and my sister in middle school we told my dad we wanted him to be home more. he sat us down and told us that it would mean we would have to pay for a lot of things on our own, including most of college. we said we didn’t care. he cut back his hours to normal hours and i wouldn’t trade a min w/ my dad during those years for a paid for educatoin. God did provide too. i was able to attend a private Catholic college and pay for my tuition monthly. i worked hard to do it. i also paid for most of my own wedding. i learned resposibility and that money isn’t everything. i started my career as a Catholic school teacher making just over 17,000 a year. this was in 1998. i never ran up debt. i’ve always been responsible with money. (forgot to menion we had 5 kids in our house:) )

my point is this: don’t feel you are being irresponsible if you don’t have the education paid for. there are lots of answers to that issue.


#11

Just want to say that even if you use contraception, there is no guarantee that you will not get pregnant after just two children. However, if you use contraception and go into marriage with the attitude that you absolutely only want two children, that mentality is going to have a disastrous effect on your relationship with your wife and will make true intimacy practically impossible. I think if you are not willing to turn things over to God and cooperate with him when it comes to planning your family, you are going to be missing a lot of the grace that a marriage needs to flourish. It is naive to think that with contraception you are really in control.

I think your wife might feel a whole lot closer to you if you got to understand her body and her cycle and learned to communicate with her about what is going on with her body and with your needs as a couple.


#12

**Right!! That is how I was raised as well! Work for your education, car, etc. and you will value it more than if it was handed to you on a silver platter.

“The greatest gift you can give your child is the gift of a sibling” --JPII (I think I quoted him correctly)

So to me that says giving your kid a paid for college is not better than giving them a sibling or more time w/parents who love them. Besides, by time my kids reach college age, there will be no way we will be able to afford it even if we were saving for it right now, the price goes up so much each and every year!!**


#13

Actually, you cannot compare wanting to be able to pay for your childs college to giving them another child…they are two different animals.

I’m not an advocate of breeding yourself into poverty. I can see the OP’s point here to.
Back in the old days where people could afford to have 100 children was back in mostly the farming days, 1700/1800’s…where the continent had small population.

Sorry, but I guess some Catholics are going to have to tell God, “Sorry, I wanted to limit myself to 3 kids, because I’d be dead broke if I didn’t” I mean, I only make 20,000 a year!"

And also the deal with “holding off on sex” even on your honey moon night where you make love like bunnies, is illogical, there are some things I don’t buy…this is probably why alot of Catholics went to other religions

My parents BOTH sides of my family were ALL Catholic…now, alot of them are off and about to other religions, one married a woman outside his Catholic faith, and other’s are doing their own thing.


#14

Our youngest is 10. So we have using NFP to prevent pregnancy for a while.

Our serious reason is my wife’s health and some medicine that she takes that causes defects and is an abortificant.

We wanted more - well, we wanted at least three, because then you have a household that is kid-focused ( in our view) because mom and dad are outnumbered. Just our view, your mileage may vary. :slight_smile:

So, we have four - one is in heaven.

Since you have no idea what your health, your resources, your burdens are going to be ten, fifteen years from now, don’t go into marriage with a set idea of how many children you will have. Go into it being open to HAVE children. Every month, you decide if it’s the right time to try again. That’s what’s great about NFP - no side effects, you know the fertile times, and you make your decision all the time. You are OPEN to life.

Many NFP couples have large families. That’s not due to NFP failures. That’s due to the mind set - we are open to being co-creators with God of new life, that springs from our love for each other.


#15

Is is so refreshing to see a post from someone who lives in the “real” world. I, too, understand the OP’s point. My DH and I wanted 4 children…we could afford 2. We’re happy with that. We are close to empty nesters and are looking forward to it being “just us two” again. We waited 2 yrs after we got married to have a child, and 21 mths after that for the second one.

When having children, it is prudent that couples have some sense of their finances. The electric company and the mortgage will turn your lights off and foreclose on your house whether you’re Catholic or not. Catholic tuition isn’t free by any means. When my kids attended Catholic school, I worked there…and still paid full price tuition. No break there. It is good that the OP asks these questions. NFP can be a good thing, if you can follow it. It’s just like any other method. It has it’s pros and cons.

Note to Seatuck: I am not, (as the wife) obligated to provide sex as part of our relationship . It’s mutual or it isn’t happening. :wink:


#16

**Completely agreed…

BUT

it is impossible to know what our futures hold. Prayerfully discerning our calling every month helps to keep us focused and living in “reality”.

Saying, way before marriage, that I could only handle two children is foolish. We can’t know what we’ll be able to handle (financially or otherwise).

Sure there are some parents of large families that had always imagined their lives that way… but many thought they wouldn’t be able to handle more than one or two as well.

Keep God at the center of a marriage and you really can’t go wrong.

malia
**


#17

[quote=900MHZ]Actually, you cannot compare wanting to be able to pay for your childs college to giving them another child…they are two different animals.
[/quote]

I think that you missed the point. I think that you can compare the two by simply showing how valuable it is for a child to have a brother or sister versus having college “paid for” by mommy and daddy. One can make it through college without having mom and dad pay the bill. However, one cannot have a brother or sister without mom or dad. It has been my experience that those who are an only child would have given anything to have a brother or sister growing up. That bond, that relationship means more than having your college paid for, IMHO.

[quote=900MHZ]I’m not an advocate of breeding yourself into poverty. I can see the OP’s point here to.
Back in the old days where people could afford to have 100 children was back in mostly the farming days, 1700/1800’s…where the continent had small population.
[/quote]

I don’t think that you are going to find many parents that would “breed themselves into poverty” Catholic or not. Personally, I think that your comment is baseless and I am still wondering why that was included? How does openness to life make one “breed themselves into poverty?” Are we cattle? We breed now? This entire part of your post simply makes me say :ehh:

Just because we, as Catholics, are called to be open to life, follow NFP, does not mean that everytime we have sex that God will bless us with a child. Through NFP we can know when the time is right to have a child and when the time is right to avoid. The church teaches this through the Catechism.

[quote=900MHZ]Sorry, but I guess some Catholics are going to have to tell God, “Sorry, I wanted to limit myself to 3 kids, because I’d be dead broke if I didn’t” I mean, I only make 20,000 a year!"
[/quote]

And what would be wrong with only having 3 kids? Are Catholics not allowed this? Why is it that everyone thinks that Catholics have to have a large family. It is possible to stop having children, by choice for a justifiable reason. According to the Catechism:

2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:

When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.

Bold added by me.

[quote=900MHZ]And also the deal with “holding off on sex” even on your honey moon night where you make love like bunnies, is illogical, there are some things I don’t buy…this is probably why alot of Catholics went to other religions
[/quote]

A baseless arguement. Who says that you have to hold off sex on your honeymoon? Because you do not want a child? Hmmm, if we follow the teachings of the Catholic church, everytime that we have sexual intercouse with our spouse we have to be open to the possibility of new life. Why is this any different?

[quote=900MHZ]My parents BOTH sides of my family were ALL Catholic…now, alot of them are off and about to other religions, one married a woman outside his Catholic faith, and other’s are doing their own thing.
[/quote]

Pray that they return to the fullness of the faith.


#18

Interesting you pulled out the wife from what I wrote. I didn’t mention wife I said “spouses”. Here’s where I’m coming from.

V. OBLIGATION

BY marriage a man and woman grant to one another certain rights
over their bodies for the begetting of children, the increasing
of love, the healthy ordering of passion. The fulfilment of this
concession is a matter of justice, its denial an injustice,
though a couple who are still newly in love may smile at such
terms. Justice, however, is a living virtue and not confined to
cold legal forms.

The principle is this: whenever either the husband or the wife
seriously and reasonably asks for the marriage due the other is
bound to render it. Reasonably asks: no one in marriage engages
to become a convenience for another’s passion; neither must force
their every wish on the other; they are equal and, particularly
as regards the marriage act, have the same rights. It is most
desirable that the action should be mutual. This will not be too
difficult if the two love one another in a human way and are
ready to be considerate and make sacrifices, if each tries to
serve the other, and if it is realized that for their happiness
together the act should be the comfort and content of both.

There are exceptions to the obligation of rendering the marriage
due. A married person is not strictly bound to grant it if the
other has been unfaithful to the extent of adultery. Normal
relations are only re-established by the generous forgiveness of
the injured party. There is no obligation if there is a danger of
the infection of disease. Or if the request is unreasonable, if
it be under conditions that are genuinely harmful and
distressing, then it may be refused. This particularly affects
the woman; she has not promised to be the man’s slave, but the
sharer of his human life, of his control as well as of his ease.
It is commonly held that a woman to whom pregnancy would be fatal
or highly dangerous is not bound to render the due; the request
for it would be unreasonable. Finally, there is no obligation of
granting it, rather the reverse, if it is going to be abused by
the sin of onanism.

There is no obligation of asking for the due except when harm
would be done by abstinence, a weakening of love, a risk of
impurity. In this connection, husband and wife will learn to
interpret and anticipate the wishes of each other.

By mutual consent married couples may abstain from intercourse
either for a time or for ever, not as evading the obligations of
their state, but as an offering and sacrifice to God. They must
not deny the existence of the right, but may forgo the exercise
of it.

ewtn.com/library/MARRIAGE/MORMAR.TXT


#19

However, one cannot have a brother or sister without mom or dad. It has been my experience that those who are an only child would have given anything to have a brother or sister growing up

I was an only child, I didn’t really feel I had that desire for a brother or sister.


#20

Putting the cart way before the horse, I think.

You don’t have to live in California, and you may not always. People are not physically tied to a piece of land. DH and I were raised in California. We did not move back after his stint in the Air Force, because we knew we could not afford to live there.

Not every kid goes to college. That mindset that every child should go to college needs to die. Some people have no desire to go, some people do not have the ability to handle college. We need to accept that some of those people are going to be our kids. Our family rule is that if you don’t go to college, you will be going to a technical school or apprenticeship to learn a trade, entering the military, or finding an entry-level job at a really good company with lots of room and opportunity to move up and make a career.

The kids who do go to college should pay for at least part of it, preferably the majority, themselves. The kids I remember in college who cared the least, and who would start partying on Thursday night and not stop until Monday morning, were the ones who had everything paid for by others. Those of us who worked our butts off to get scholarships and filled the rest in with loans and part-time jobs cared more and worked harder. Every time I felt like skipping class, I had to remind myself of how much of my own money I would be wasting, how many loan payments that missed class was going to cost me.

Children don’t have to cost a lot. Healthy food cooked yourself costs much less than processed convenience foods, and I can buy the same brand names at Walmart for less than at regular grocery stores. Quality clothing can be had for very little at secondhand stores like Once Upon a Child. Quality shoes can be found cheaply at places like Payless. Every child does not necessarily have to have their own bedroom. There is no reason for a household to have more than one television, phone line, or computer. We bought a used minivan to haul the brood, only a year old with 22,000 miles on it, for only $10,000. (And it has only a four-cylinder engine, so we save on gas.) If you are willing to wait a few weeks, you can see movies at the $2 theater instead of first run. I could go on for days with this list. Many of the things people think of as needs are actually luxuries.

I am not saying any of these things to convince you to have more children. I am just saying that many of the expenses we think we have are not things we must have, or can cost less if approached differently. My husband and I thought we were done having kids at four, mostly for financial reasons, but God touched me in a very obvious way, and we are expecting our fifth in the next 8 or 9 weeks. And I just found a brand new Evenflo carseat on clearance at K-Mart for only $26!! :eek: (And yes, I checked, no recalls on it.) If you keep your eyes open and really look for ways to save money, they are there.


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