Or at least the way it may be being presented to engaged couples in marriage prep programs.
When reading CAF threads by married couples, I am struck more and more by many threads that all go basically something like this:
*]My husband/wife and I have been practicing NFP but now we’re expecting another child in only x number of years.
*]We don’t want to use contraception but we don’t know what to do OR we are considering using contraception even though we know it’s wrong
*]In short, we didn’t bargain for this!
To which I’m tempted to say, yes, you did bargain for this when you got married. But I have sympathy for their distress, too, don’t get me wrong.
I know it’s hard having several children close together. And very difficult if there are health concerns for mother or child, or serious financial concerns (not just “we won’t be able to afford that Lexus now” first-world problems).
I’m almost wondering, though, if in marriage prep programs couples are being given the NFP instruction as “Catholic birth control” because the Church feels backed into a corner by couples who threaten to use contraception. And probably a lot of them go to marriage prep and roll their eyes at the NFP materials because they’ve already made up their minds that they will use artificial contraception no matter what.
I propose the following - it’s going to sound crazy, but at least follow what I’m saying please, before dismissing it as absurd:
*]Give couples a brief overview of NFP and a contact for classes and let it be up to them to pursue if and when a genuine need arises.
*]Emphasize more that it should be used when needed and for serious reasons. This way it won’t be taken for granted as de rigeur, and then be a source of disappointment when it “fails” to function as “Catholic birth control” and a pregnancy occurs.
*]Without falling into the trap of saying that a couple must have a huge family, somehow get across the idea that God may have in mind a larger family than they think they want, and that if this is a dealbreaker, maybe they should take more time discerning whether to get married, or at least postpone getting married until they are sure they can be okay with this.