How Does Natural Family Planning Benefit Marriage? – Engaged Marriage

How Does Natural Family Planning Benefit Marriage?

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

Natural Family Planning Benefits Marriage

As you know if you have read my previous post describing what Natural Family Planning is and watched the NFP Informational Video, my wife and I are big proponents of Natural Family Planning.  I often cite NFP as one of the best things that has happened to our marriage, so I thought it would be helpful to provide a summary of the marriage benefits of Natural Family Planning to give you more insight into why we feel this way.

First of all, I need to let you know that some of the best benefits that NFP has provided for our relationship have really been intangible.  My wife and I have a great deal of peace about our sex life both from an intimacy standpoint and on the moral/religious/spiritual front.  And trust me, that’s saying a lot for a young Catholic couple trying to do the right thing. 🙂

When we found Natural Family Planning and started using it, we no longer had any of the lingering, often back-of-mind, worries about whether we were harming her health, marginalizing our intimacy, or reducing our sex life to something less than it should be.  From the outside, especially from a guy’s perspective, NFP can seem daunting and quite confining.  After all, it does require some periods of abstinence and we men aren’t the biggest fans of that idea.  Well, I’m here to tell you that after five years of using it, Natural Family Planning represents incredible freedom for our relationship.

Now for some of the more tangible benefits.

Five Benefits of Natural Family Planning for Marriage

1. A Stronger Bond. My wife and I have always been close and shared a special bond.  After all, we got married and have been a happy couple for many years.  However, when we started learning about Natural Family Planning and then started to put it into practice together, we grew closer on a level that I never knew was there previously.

When you can talk about the intricacies of your wife’s fertility signs (because you’ve bothered to learn them) and interpret those signs by her side (because you really care), you have a good bond.  And when you do this day-after-day and month-after-month through challenging times and in the face of cynical friends (and even family), you have an incredibly close bond that only you can share.  And when you come to the realization that sex truly is intended to be a religious experience (and you have experienced that way), you have formed a bond that you actually didn’t know was possible.  You just don’t get that from a condom.

2. Open Communication.  Listen, I have talked to my wife routinely about basal body temperatures and cervical mucus.  And not in the super sexy, erotic way that you must be thinking (that was a joke, just to be clear).  No, I am confident that I have more knowledge of the female fertility cycle than five generations of my forefathers combined.

Who cares?  My wife.  She knows that I care about her body, her sexuality and her soul because we routinely communicate about it.  You cannot effectively practice Natural Family Planning without improving the level of communication in your marriage.  It’s part and parcel, and it is one of the sweetest benefits of the process.

I simply cannot imagine a more intimate and sacred topic of conversation than that of fertility and the willingness to accept children (or not).  My wife and I have these discussions on a regular basis, and it has made us excellent communicators in all aspects of our marriage.

3. Mutual Decision Making.  When we decide if we are going to have sex during the “transitional” times between fertility phases, it is a complete and total mutual decision.  It really cannot be one-sided and it requires open communication.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times throughout each month where total spontaneity are possible…and fantastic.  But there are those times where we have to think together and reach important mutual decisions.  For us, this ability to make decisions together has enhanced everything from our finances to our parenting skills.

4. Raises Appreciation of Intimacy.  This one rocks.  We used birth control for the first four years of our marriage, and we thought we were getting all that we could out of our sex life.  We were wrong.

With the introduction of Natural Family Planning, the intimacy in our marriage (both inside and outside of the bedroom) achieved entirely new levels.  It wasn’t that things were all that different physically, but they were worlds better emotionally and spiritually.  Through our decision to try NFP, our NFP training and especially in our daily use of Natural Family Planning, we have definitely learned an entirely different appreciation for sex and intimacy.

Oh, and the “honeymoon effect” after the brief periods of abstinence each month is pretty sweet, too.

5. Marriage Insurance.  I think this term really sums up the value of all the other benefits in a very real and tangible way.  I’ll let the statistics speak for themselves:

The divorce rate for couples practicing Natural Family Planning is less than 5%. For the general population, it is nearly 50%.

‘Nuff said.

I hope this post helps to provide some insight into why I am so comfortable telling others that Natural Family Planning is the best thing that has happened to our marriage.  There is much more to this story, and we’ll get there with time.

For now, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.  Do you practice NFP?  Have you even heard of it before this post (or before finding Engaged Marriage)?  What problems/challenges do you think you would have if you tried it?  This topic is a passion of mine, and I really want to hear from you.

Photo by pedrosimoes7

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About the Author

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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(93) comments

Ashley

Hi there! So I gotta say that I was greatly intrigued by this article. My husband and I have been practicing NFP for about a year now because of the many bad symptoms various birth controls seemed to have on myself. We have been lucky enough to be able to simply look at the calendar, and avoid pregnancy without having to measure any specifics, and we’ve found that when a woman is regular, this seems to be quite effective- however, I wouldn’t recommend it to couples who simply cannot provide for a baby at the time. Question: may I ask specifically how it has drawn you closer apart from having to speak frankly with one another? I’m very intrigued by the thought. Also , why avoid a week of intimacy instead of just settling for the withdrawal method? Is it related to Catholicism?Thanks so much for the interesting read!

Reply

    Hi Ashley,

    Thanks so much for your comments and questions!

    Regarding the increased intimacy that NFP has brought to our marriage, it really stems from the openness in communication that we’ve experienced and the deeper spiritual connection we’ve experienced within our sexual relationship. Basically, all of the points in the post contribute to this closeness – certainly not just the speaking about female reproductive details! 🙂

    Regarding the full abstinence from sex when we want to avoid pregnancy, yes that choice stems from our Catholic beliefs. However, it’s also an important part of what defines NFP. There is another related method called Fertility Awareness Method which promotes barrier methods of contraception during the fertile time – NFP uses NO contraception at all.

    By the way, the withdrawal method is definitely NOT 100% effective. And if you’re using it when you know you are fertile, I’d say the chances of pregnancy are actually quite high over time.

    Reply
Ashley

Also, what source is the divorce to NFP method ratio from? Why would that be? Simply from communicating potentially embarrassing medical news from spouse to spouse ? Very interesting.

Reply

    Ashley – I don’t have the specific reference handy but if you Google “divorce rate of active NFP users” you’ll find plenty of supporting citations.

    Like I said above, you seem to be fixating on the “potentially embarrassing” conversations – but that’s not it. I’m sure there are numerous factors, including the close intimacy that NFP couples experience and the other benefits I cited above. Keep in mind also that it takes a strong couple to practice NFP successfully, so they would presumably already be more likely to have a lasting marriage (the NFP practice isn’t necessarily causal).

    Reply

    Hi Ashley–here is one more recent supporting source for the low divorce rate for NFP users:
    http://www.kirchen.net/upload/37213_NER_Survey_2008_Cathol_Soc_Sci_Rev_int.pdf
    And, here is a link to a shorter article where this was cited:
    http://bit.ly/1dkZkIw
    “Old Fashioned Advice Brings New Hope”.

    Reply

[…] to life and instead decide to use natural family planning to either achieve or postpone pregnancy have cited a number of positive benefits including open communication, and a stronger bond. I’m not a […]

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[…] How natural family planning benefits marriage […]

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Hey. We have been marriednfor just over 9 months and have been using Nfp ever since in order to try to conceive (although I didn’t know that’s what I was called). I hadn’t considered using it in the future after we (hopefully) have a baby but it’s certainly something I prefer the idea of to artificial forms of contraception. Definitely something to think about. Thank you engaged marriage 🙂

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Nicole

Hello Dustin! Great Post. NFP is still a big myth here in Brazil. I am enganged, getting married soon and NFP is already creating an amazing bond between us. Great to see that young couples are waking up to stand-up for their health and faith!!! Regards 🙂

Reply

    That’s so awesome, Nicole! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
John

Amen!!
after years of contracepting, lack of trust, and on the edge of separation,
NFP was a critical component that saved our marriage and our Family. Everything the author mentions is spot on. We started NFP after 13 years of marriage. There are countless benefits as the author points out. The shared experience with my wife is critical and keeps our marriage thriving, in the face of so many challenges that all marriages face. I often describe it as feeling like I am in High School again and I have my first crush. The recipient of that Crush is my beautiful wife of 21 years!!

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I found it interesting when you said that one of the benefits of family planning is you will going to get closer to each other. My fiance and I are planning to get married, and we both want to enjoy our married life and spend time with each other. I’ll talk to my fiance and inquire if we can consider NFP.

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