There is a lot of excitement when you first get engaged. It can be a very thrilling season of life, but it also includes a big checklist of things to do. Depending on the length of your engagement, you’ll either be in a rush or have some time to complete everything. Either way, one thing that needs to be on your list is learning about Natural Family Planning or NFP.
Learning about NFP can be a daunting task. There are a lot of different methods out there to pick from and a multitude of opportunities to learn about them. You’ll have to make sure you fulfill all the requirements your diocese and parish require and decide whether you’ll take a course in-person or online.
With all this searching and decision-making, you may find yourself thinking about questions that you feel nervous or afraid to ask. No worries! There are no questions you cannot ask.
Allow us to get the “awkwardness” out of the way.
Here are some of the common questions couples have about Natural Family Planning:
Do we have to practice NFP?
The answer here is “yes” and “no”. Practicing NFP is a very personal decision that every couple has to make together. There are a lot of different methods you can practice, and making the decision as a team is important for building a strong foundation for intimacy in your marriage.
With that said, maybe one or both of you do not feel you need to practice NFP or don’t want to.
There are many reasons couples feel this way. Some feel they want to be totally open and let God do the deciding for them. Other couples simply don’t believe in it. If you’re unsure about using a natural method, make sure you voice your concerns with your NFP teacher or the priest, deacon, or family life director walking you through marriage prep.
Am I going to get pregnant right away if we use NFP?
This is a myth. There are a lot of people out there who believe using a natural method does not work and you will end up with tons and tons of children. This is not the case. If you need to avoid pregnancy when you first get married, and you are using a method of NFP, there is a good chance you will be successful.
No method is perfect, but if you start practicing your chosen method several months before your wedding and feel comfortable and confident with it, you really should be successful. There is a saying in the NFP community, “You know when you are fertile on any given day.” That knowledge can help you determine the perfect time to start a family and delay it if necessary.
Isn’t NFP too hard?
NFP does have its ups and downs, just like life. A woman’s body changes with the seasons of her life, which means her natural cycles change from time to time as well.
There will be times when you know exactly what is happening with your cycle, and there will be other times when it’s difficult to interpret. Either way, you just can have faith and avoid living in fear. Living in fear, or constantly feeling like you’re struggling, can hinder your success with NFP.
If you’re having a hard time with NFP, maybe you need to switch to a different method or connect with other couples and discuss your issues. Some methods have practitioners you can work with one-on-one: use those practitioners to your advantage, they are there to help you. NFP teaches us to turn our negative motivations into positive ones.
None of my friends or family use NFP, so how do I explain it to them?
First and foremost, it doesn’t matter what other people are doing. That may sound harsh, but it is true. Ultimately, you are doing what is best for your marriage and your overall health by using NFP.
That is the truest explanation; you are doing the best thing for you.
Your friends and family may not agree or understand, and that is okay. This could be your chance to educate them and maybe even change their hearts. It may be best to pass along the links to classes or websites you’ve learned from, and let them research for themselves. The bottom line: do not decide to use Natural Family Planning based on the opinions of others; make the choice for you and your spouse.
Ask and Ask Again
When it comes to using Natural Family Planning, you may have many more questions. It can be confusing and even intimidating at the beginning, but do not be afraid to ask questions and keep asking.
You are making a big decision for your marriage and future family.
If you need help making the right choice, there are great resources available online. Your parish and/or diocese can also help you research the best Natural Family Planning solution for your family.
NFP Life™ featuring Dr. Danielle & Kyle Koestner — This six-part video series is an overview, witness, and introduction to the beauty and science of Natural Family Planning. Watch the trailer below and register here.