NFP use at beginning of marriage


I know that the Church’s teaching is that a couple must have ‘grave’ reasons for using NFP to avoid pregnancy, but my question is what impact this might have on choosing to actually get married. Should we wait to get married because we know that from the beginning we will be strictly using NFP to avoid pregnancy?

We are discerning that God is calling us to marriage sooner, but that the call to marriage at this point isn’t be identical to the call to have a family. Don’t get me wrong, we both are very open to God’s plan for us, and want to have as large a family as He knows is best…but financially, at the beginning of our marriage, we probably wouldn’t be able to support a child. (It would be do-able, with our savings…but tight!)

Our reason for avoiding is that for the first 6 months or so of our marriage, I would be the sole source of income for our family, until he graduates from the university. I know that financial reasons are considered grave… I guess the heart of my question is whether knowing ahead of time that we have grave reasons to avoid is reason enough to wait on getting married. For now, we don’t think that it is (we are eagerly awaiting the sacramental graces which flow from marriage!)…but I wanted to get some input here about it.


There was an article in the Couple to Couple League’s publication Family Foundations that talked about how the wording “grave” never really applied to NFP use, it somehow just got translated that way in one instance and stuck…something to that effect. Anyway, I believe the point made was that you don’t have to have a grave reason to use NFP to avoid.


I guess the problem is that some people want there to be a difference between “serious” and “grave” . There doesn’t seem to be one.

With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.

We should take note the Holy Father says “additional children” and “more children”. This could imply we should be ready to have children at the time of marriage and it is only after having a child or children that we may begin discening serious reasons to avoid.


I also wanted to mention this article… very well written commentary.

The writer focused on the the “education” side of raising children. In the Catechism we find a lot of discussion regarding both procreation and education of children.
(Here is the link to the catechism section on matrimony).

“Education” is not just defined as the financial ability to pay for college. It is the total requirement for raising children in the faith. It is teaching them, from the very moment of their birth, the love and joy of family life. Teaching them about sacrifice, peace, love, charity, etc… teaching the faith means being able to handle the stress of parenthood with grace and joy!
IF a married couple is not able to “educate” children, for whatever reason… be it financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, etc… these are considered “serious” reasons to use NFP. Each couple has to individually discern these options, while at the same time being completely open to God within their marriages (ie, not using artificial birth control).

I sympathize with your situation… my husband and I also were in that situation when we got married… we waited a couple yeares before having children. Now, 6 years later, we are blessed with two children… and are continually open to God’s will within our marriage. God does listen to our hearts and desires as well… He does not FORCE us into anything we cannot handle. He allows us to naturally discern on a monthly basis, together, with Him, if we are being called to parenthood.

God bless!


One needs a “just” reason, not a “grave” reason.

Just is defined by the couple through prayerful discernment and study of church teaching.

No, it is not wrong to get married if you intend to postpone initially.


As the previous poster stated, the word mistranslated is “just”…just reasons for using NFP…not “serious” nor “grave.”


My husband and I have always had financial difficulties. For me, it is a matter of knowing and trusting that the Lord knows best. He has a plan for you and your fiancé.

If you marry and you conceive the beautiful miracle of life, He will provide.

Trust in the Lord! :smiley:

closed #8

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