How has NFP worked for you? -Part III

How NFP has worked for me
Continued from Parts I and II

Alison’s Answer

In my experience, usually when people ask “How does NFP work in your marriage?” they’re mostly curious/concerned about the abstinence required to make using NFP to postpone children successful.  At first it seems like taking a step backward and is really a curious idea that after you get married you would choose to abstain from sex. After all, isn’t that why Christians get married in the first place? (joke) I had a friend ask me once, after knowing that we used NFP, “So seriously, you guys don’t do ANYTHING during the time your fertile?”  And the answer is still no, there is no genital contact.  Whew.  Ok, now that we got that out of the way, what does NFP look like in our marriage?

After a two-year courtship and 10 month engagement, I first want to say that it was much harder for us to be chaste before we were married than to practice NFP during our marriage.  While sexual intimacy is an important part of our marriage, it is not the only part of our marriage.  The abstinence required to use NFP to postpone pregnancy does take some time to get used to and to learn to navigate your relationship without having that guarantee bonding “fix-it glue” of intercourse, which won’t always be present in a relationship for various reasons anyway.  However, having other aspects of our relationship that allows us to bond just as closely is just like fortifying our house with multiple reinforcements, not just one  And ultimately, we want this house of our marriage to be strong enough to withstand anything that comes our way.  Using NFP helped us concentrate on our verbal and physical communication in our relationship, which has ultimately made our marital bond stronger.  NFP also has given a purpose to our sexual intimacy and while being fulfilling, it is also incredibly romantic.

Additionally, using NFP has helped my husband and I be more attentive and have respect for each other and our sexual differences.  While most say NFP respects the female fertility, I believe the respect it has fostered for my husband and his masculinity has been equal if not greater!  During our infertile days, it has become more important that we live in the moment and not take each other for granted, which plays out in our sexual intimacy.  Even if the moment isn’t ideal for me – or him – when you know something isn’t available just whenever you want it, it helps you treasure that connection even more.

These days, my husband and I are using NFP still, but now to achieve pregnancy.  The knowledge of my cycle has been extremely helpful in understanding when pregnancy is likely, as well as to make “trying to have a baby”  truly a cooperative event between my husband and I.  I’ve heard too many stories of the woman taking charge of her fertility to have a child, discovering sub-fertility, and not having the support of her husband as they pursue their options because he has no idea how a woman’s cycle even works.  This journey is hard enough already, I can’t imagine not having his support!  I really feel like my husband is involved in this as much as possible because he already knows my cycle and understands the directions out there for us to pursue.  He is not marginalized from this process and understands that his role in co-creating a new life is equally important.  Having used NFP that first year of our marriage also instilled in us that fertility is a gift that is not to be controlled or taken for granted.  I really believe that prepared us deal with the emotional side of sub-fertility much better than we may have without it.

You can read more of Alison’s experience with NFP at her blog Matching Moonheads.

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