The Catholic belief on birth control is a tough pill to swallow (pun intended). Since I’m a man I often get a look of disbelief when people learn that my wife and I don’t use contraception.
“You really believe in no birth control?”, they say. “Are you planning to have 20 kids?” “I have a friend who’s Catholic and his wife is on the pill.”
Unfortunately, these reactions are the norm (the last one kills me). This is probably in part because according to a study in 2014, 78% of Catholics disagree with the Church’s teaching on contraception.
Despite being in the minority, Nicole and I don’t use contraception. Per the guidance of the Church we have chosen to be open to all that God has to offer, including however many children He wants to bless us with. We want our marriage to match the kind of love God has for us–a love that is free, total, faithful, fruitful (a.k.a., the four components of God’s love for us).
So what do we do, just roll the dice every time we want to get down?
Nicole and I use Natural Family Planning, something we have written about here before. So why not contraception? Beyond the Church’s wisdom on this teaching, I thought I should summarize a few reasons why I don’t use contraception and instead choose to use NFP as our method of family planning.
We actually talk about our sex life.
NFP inherently promotes an ongoing dialog about sex between spouses. We talk regularly about our sex life and NFP helps us to stay on the same page. Some may say that contraception couples talk about their sexuality regularly, but with NFP there are natural checkpoints monthly.
During these moments we talk about our current state as a family, how our kids are doing and how we are doing as a couple. This is our time to discern whether God has called us to expand our family or stay where we’re at. And since we are charting every month we are constantly evaluating our family’s size and if we would like to have more children.
When we are in a period of abstinence NFP challenges me to find other ways to love my wife beyond the physical aspect of our relationship. And my wife appreciates me striving to be a better husband.
I think it is stupid to pay to have sex with my wife.
Now some of you may say, “my contraceptive is free because of Obamacare”, well this is technically true, but there are unforeseen costs. Someone has to pay the company that produces the pill and at some point we all are now paying for these services by our taxes.
With NFP there are no trips to CVS to fill a prescription or pick up any condoms. Depending on the method, NFP is basically free once you’ve learned how to chart. The only costs associated with it are the occasional visits to a counselor, charts/stickers, and/or ovulation tests if you choose to use them. Because Nicole and I have decided to use the Creighton model, our costs typically run less than $100 a year.
Sex is better.
Yes, I think this is a legitimate reason.
Everyone knows sex is better without a condom. But I don’t think we’re supposed to talk about it because this would somehow support “unsafe sex.” I don’t promote unsafe sex, of course. I actually promote the safest sex of all, the sex that takes place within a monogamous relationship.
Also, sex is better when you’re not on the pill.
The pill affects your hormones. And hormones are paramount to good loving! Hormonal contraceptives have possible side effects such as sexual and romantic dysfunction.
UGH, no thank you!
And researchers studying the broader effects of contraceptives have also noticed an apparent interference with women’s taste in men.
Couples using NFP report having more sex than couples that use contraception. No lie. A study done by Family of the Americas proves this fact.
Lastly, from a broader perspective, sex without contraceptives involves a complete view of sex that is more satisfying and unifying.
We don’t have any health risks.
NFP has no side effects to worry about and is equally effective at avoiding pregnancy. Don’t BS me by saying, “what about STDs”, see my answer above (I’m talking about sex that takes place as part of a monogamous relationship).
I don’t like chemicals and it’s better for the environment.
I don’t like the idea of my wife being on medicine when she’s not sick. This seems unnecessary. Her femininity and gift of motherhood is something that should be celebrated, not diminished.
By using NFP, I’m loving my wife and our planet. Natural Family Planning is the greenest form of family planning available today. There are no excess chemicals polluting the water, no plastic containers being pitched into landfills every month, and no latex condoms going in the trash.
How’s that for being green?
I get to know what is going on and can anticipate when and when not to have sex.
A married couple can engage in intercourse during the naturally infertile times in a woman’s cycle, or after childbearing years, without violating the meaning of marital intercourse. This is the basic principle behind natural family planning.
For me, I like knowing what is going on with my wife’s body. Something as simple as checking her temperature every morning can give her insight into how stressed she is, if she’s been keeping your diet in check, or even, God forbid, an early clue to a potentially devastating disease.
One of the great things about NFP is that it’s not just for avoiding pregnancy. For those struggling to conceive, NFP can help indicate the times of highest fertility. Worked for us…twice. (Baby J & Baby M)
It makes my wife happier.
Lastly, I get to support my wife in this big part of our relationship. Plus, happy wife, happy life… enough said.
Did I miss some benefits of using NFP? Let me know in the comments below.
I wrote this post in honor of National NFP Awareness Week.
Photo credit: JaredEarle