My wife and I are NFP instructors and both of us are convinced of the truth of the Church’s teaching. However, I am struggling with what I teach and the reality of how NFP is working in our marriage. There are two issues, we teach that an average fertile phase (phase 2) is around 5-7 days. Our phase 2 is more like 15-17 days. We also teach that periods of abstaining can create a “honeymoon” effect for the couple. We have no “honeymoon” effect. By the time we enter phase 3, my wife seems to have no interest. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
**NFP, as you well know, is just information. What you are describing seems like the typical variation in marriages/people. NFP CAN have a honeymoon effect, IF both spouses have that attitude. But it’s not going to magically make it happen if there are other things going on in your marriage.
You and your wife need to sit down and have an honest, heartfelt discussion about this. Figure out what you each need to do to improve the situation. Focus on your marriage first. The couples you teach may pick up on your feelings and sense that NFP isn’t as great as presented.
Thanks! Points well taken:)
**You’re welcome. I had to end that post a little quickly (my baby is sick today:() so I hoped I didn’t come off too cold.
I’ll send some prayers up for you and your wife and hope you can get to that “honeymoon” phase! Hubby and I are going through some really difficult times with NFP right now because of breasfeeding and can’t wait to get to a point where we can feel that magic again…
Thanks Malia. No, you were fine, don’t sweat it. I pray your baby feels better. I will also keep you and your husband in prayer. I know how challenging breastfeeding and NFP can be. What I didn’t mention in my original post is that my wife and I have 5 children, 11 and under.
God Bless You!
**God Bless YOU and your WIFE! And God Bless those lucky children to have you as parents:)
That gives a reason as to why you may not be experiencing that honeymoon feeling…
NFP works well for my husband and I, at both the practical and emotional levels. That said, I wish those who had introduced us to NFP had been straightforward and honest about the difficulties and challenges inherent in its usage…every last one glossed over or completely dismissed the possibility that NFP wasn’t something inherently glorious and perfect and easy. We had to discover and address all the challenges ourselves.
I can’t speak to what you and your wife are going through, except to urge you to more dialogue and creativity in response to these difficulties (when’s the last time you drew a hot bath for her while you offered to cook and clean up dinner? ) but I do want to say: please, please, out of simple respect for the couples in your class, don’t teach one thing when you have experienced the opposite to be true…inform your students about the various and challenging ways NFP can play out, and be honest about the fact that phase 2 can be LOOOONG, and that after ovulation, when you can finally have intercourse, the woman is often hormonally disinclined.
Don’t be afraid of turning people off NFP with such info. A couple aware of the challenges they could face while practicing NFP, and who can prepare themselves for potential frustration or disappointment will be much less likely to throw in the towel in despair than one whose idealized version is left unchecked until disaster strikes…
Best wishes to you both.
Which method do you use? I am only familiar with STM, and during the first 1.5 years of my marriage, I was experiencing short luteal phases (9-12 days). Improved nutrition and more frequent meals helped regularize/lengthen my luteal phase (which lengthens phase 3 and shortens phase 2).
I hope that might help a little, at least for starters.
Welcome to the forums JPatrick! God bless you and your wife for teaching NFP. Some of us are only called to be promoters, so we are thankful for those called to be teachers!
You are getting some great feed-back here and I agree with all of it. I would say, as a six year user of NFP, your phase 2 length is a little concerning. From my original research in Marilyn Shannon’s Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition, it sounds like your wife might be having some health issues. The very low libido during her progesterone phase makes me suspicious too. We have a long phase 1, a 10 day phase 2, and a 10-12 day phase 3. Even when my cycles have a broad range, this is still pretty standard. You could be presuming phase 2 when she might really be in phase 1 but suffering from background mucous. These are all things worth looking into.
The knowledge of NFP is something to share with everyone with great joy. The application in our individual marriages is something only God truly understands. The lack of honeymoon is not because of the knowledge inherent to NFP. It is something else. I would agree that it might be the 5 kids and their current ages. Does your wife have a high libido during phase 2? If so then maybe 5 is supposed to be 6. I am really just teasing there because I have no idea of your present circumstances. I commend you for your generosity in having a big family!
The thing I really love about NFP is that it can root out problems. In every situation I have encountered, NFP was never THE problem. But it tends to highlight what the real problem might be. Is a couple selfish? NFP will reveal that. Is a couple working against God’s plan for them? NFP can reveal that too. Is a couple called to adoption? NFP can help discern that too.
The knowledge written on our bodies is so amazingly helpful. As you know as NFP teachers, it is the application of that knowledge that is to be applied with much prayer and self-sacrifice. God bless you for teaching. I hope you are able to use this particular trial as an amazing witness to the gift of our sexuality. You’re both in my prayers.
Your wife’s cycle and interest sound EXACTLY like mine… except I am not chasing any kids around the house yet.
I know the resources are out there, but I think CCL could do a LOT better job of linking fertility information to general women’s health. I had no idea that low phase II temps could indicate a thyroid problem, or a long phase II could also be a sign of problems. Inadequate attention to how to discern background mucus from phase II mucus is also a problem. In these areas, I think Creighton has a clear advantage over STM.
It isn’t traitorous to seek help outside STM or CCL if you can’t find someone with more info. Have you tried sending your charts into CCL? You can always meet with someone in Creighton if they have the infrastructure to diagnose a health or nutrition problem that STM/CCL are not equipped to identify.
I need to take my own advice.
Marilyn Shannon’s Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition is the best book. Lots of great information about how improving a woman’s health also improves her fertility. Usually that means making her MORE fertile–but for a shorter period of time --which also makes the signals her body gives clearer.
Blessing to the OP for being a teaching couple. Use the resources that CCL offers to improve your own situation and share with your students how difficulties like yours can be overcome!
To OP: You are not alone. I am currently pregnant but before that my fertile (peak times) lasted like that 12 days and more. My hubby couldn’t stand it. And for some reason a woman’s sex drive is higher when ovulating than when not ovulating (at least that’s how it has always been for me, when fertile I desire lovemaking but when not I find it hard to be in the mood) …probably has something to do with increase in progesterone or estrogen at different times in the cycle??? We practice NFP but I am by no means an expert. Although, our children have been from “trying to conceive”
Although my wife and I still record (chart) my wife’s body is sort of off with regards to her progesterone or estrogen levels and gives us sometimes weird results. We have a beautiful three year old son and my wife has decided that thats all she wants and can handle. Because my wife doesn’t trust NFP we haven’t shared a bed in three years. As bad as its seems I just think about how much my boy means to me and how much he needs a super duper daddy.
Has your wife been to an NFP doctor? What I mean by that is a doctor who specializes in NFP, not artificial contraception. If you go to the site www.onemoresoul.com you can look up your state/city to see if there are any docs near you if you haven’t already done so. The reason I recommend an NFP doc is because they would check her hormone levels via a blood test and see what is too high or too low and put her on hormone replacement therapy to help regulate things so that she could trust her charting better and you could share a bed again. It just makes me feel bad for you having to live married but sort of separate lives, I will be praying for you and your wife. My hubby and I do the creighton method and have had no problems other than that my peak times in the cycle are longer than should be but I think I probably ovulate 2 x’s a month instead of 1x which is always a possibility. My whole family is extremely fertile, never has anyone had trouble trying to conceive Anyway, just wanted to try to help you out in anyway I could think of
Thanks, and yes she has been to an NFP doc. My beautiful wife and I have a lot more problems than just the NFP, my wife is not Catholic and the whole idea of NFP versus AC is very foreign to her. But we, God willing, can hold it together until things get better or at least until my boy is a lot older.
God bless you and your wife, dear donkey! You are to be commended in acknowledging that NFP is not the root problem. Many men in your situation are not that mature.
You mentioned earlier that your wife “doesn’t trust NFP.” And very well that she shouldn’t. Her trust must be in God alone. I find it interesting that many people put their trust in contraception. Why do they do that? When (and I do say when not if) the device fails them their trust is shattered. Others put their trust in their own ability to abstain. When our sinful, fallen nature is too weak to abstain, our trust in ourselves is shattered.
Its just a hunch, but maybe look to your wife’s trust issues as a whole. Has she been severely let down by humanity? Has she had a circumstance where she felt severely let down by God? One of the most obvious examples is in women of sexual assault. They often can find no one to blame, so they blame God. (I know it sounds weird. Most would say, ‘blame the perpetrator!’ That is not how the mind of a sexual assault victim works though.) Basic sexual exploitation, rejection, or repression can also bring out these forms of trust issues in sexuality.
These questions are rhetorical. I am not snooping in your life. NFP is just a tool. It is a moral tool, but a tool nonetheless. If you can use it to root out the causes of your wife’s struggles, then it has been an effective tool for you.
God bless. I hope this helps.
We use NFP, my husband is not Catholic, and we struggle with long fertile phases. For the past 2 months There was only two days that didn’t have fertile signs. We are going to PJPVI. I will keep you in our prayers. I would incourage your wife to visit a doctor.
Thanks all for the encouragement and the prayers, my wife has convinced me that we should seek some counseling, I have been against it all along as I am convinced that it will be so secular that I might just jump out the window. Its very tough marring a non Catholic, I myself was just a pseudo Catholic when we were first married even though at the time, through ignorance, thought that I was the real deal. Catholic counseling would be out of the question as I am sure it would be almost a foreign language to my wife, so I will give it a shot and reaaaaaly try to have an open mind about the whole thing. I will let you know how it goes. Again thanks for your kind words all.
For those of you whose spouses aren’t Catholic, how do you get them to give up ABC for NFP?