I think it is reasonable to assume that most couples are introduced to NFP as a contraceptive method.
First, lets acknowledge that NFP is not contraceptive. I can’t imagine that those who teach NFP would ever introduce it that way either.
Using it for that purpose, the Church teaches that a serious reason must be the predicate for avoiding a pregnancy.
As Scott Waddell said well
Because the intention of the married couple using NFP is subjective, there is no iron-clad list that says x is a serious reason or y is not a serious reason. …
All this talk about the couple “discerning” whether their particular justification is serious or not seems somewhat flimsy. Does anyone agree with me on this?
I think it may seem “flimsy” because there isn’t any concrete rules. “have xx (number) of children” for example. Allowing couples to discern this means they could possibly discern wrongly, like they are trying to fool God and would be able to convince Him of their Serious Reasons, even if it’s just selfishness.
But if a couple prayerfully discerns that postponing pregnancy is God’s will for them, no one is in the position to know better than they are. Even the couples who postpones for selfish reasons knows what God’s will is even if they won’t acknowledge that.
A couple who uses NFP to postpone pregnancy may simply being doing (or not doing) what you or I wouldn’t (or would) do or think is right in the same situation. Thank God that the Church in her wisdom, allows couples to figure this out for themselves. I think it is dangerous to make judgements about people prayerfully using NFP, or about couples who have fewer children than we think they should have. We never know the whole story. And it’s quite likely that we would be the ones who are wrong in “knowing” how many children God wants a couple to have. I persoally am relieved that I don’t have to discern this for other couples.
Yes, it may seem flimsy because it’s out of our (yours and mine) control and we unlikely to know about the thought and prayer a couple devotes to their decisions.
Surely couples will “discern” that there is sufficient justification for using NFP because they feel they can’t “afford” another child (i.e. can’t keep up the lifestyle their accustomed to and have another child). However, most of these couples, if they were to become pregnant, would adjust and accomodate the new addition to the family. How frequently is it the case that the perception that you can’t handle another child right now is actually the case? In other words, if you had another child, the family woud be so negatively affected as to support the conclusion that the pregnancy would have been better off avoided. (Yeah, that sounds frightening I know.) Don’t you think that the vast majority of the time, the couple just wants a break and would be able to hande another child if they had to and God wanted them to?
If the couple already has children I don’t understand how there would be a “break”. Anyway, sure, it is possible they family would be just fine with an addition. But let’s consider situations where it would be they wouldn’t be. When it comes right down to it we, on the outside, just don’t know and are in a worse position to judge.