Note from Dustin: This is a personal story from EM readers Mike and Mandy Young. When I got to know Mike from crossing paths online, I quickly discovered we were kindred spirits. As it turns, out their NFP story is very similar to the journey that Bethany and I have shared. Enjoy!
We were no different from most college-aged couples. We wanted to be “responsible”.
That’s what everyone had always taught us, right? The smart thing to do was for Mandy to start taking the pill.
There really wasn’t that much thought or discussion put into it. It is kind of scary to think about how cavalier we were about it. Both of us had gone through over twelve years of Catholic school and had been told that birth control was “bad”.
We were just completely unaware of the reasons why. We never took the time to learn.
Mandy and I were involved with youth ministry at our church. There was a traveling missionary who came to our parish for a week and he came to our normally-scheduled Sunday night youth event.
He spoke about many things, but towards the end he turned his attention to birth control. Once he said that some birth control could potentially be an abortifacient (could cause an abortion), it stopped us dead in our tracks!
That night began our journey of living without contraception. When we got home, Mandy cried and cried about what she had been doing to her body.
It actually caused us to discuss why we were preventing the possibility of conception anyway. We weren’t really sure.
As God’s plan would have it, we had a really hard time conceiving. Each month would come and go and nothing.
It was really hard for Mandy. She would cry and I would have no idea what to do. She had read that a doctor would normally not discuss fertility issues with you unless you had been trying for at least a year. Then, they would have you track your ovulation.
As a year approached, we started tracking her ovulation figuring we would get a jump start on the pregnancy process.
Lo and behold, as soon as we started tracking ovulation we got pregnant! After we were blessed with our beautiful daughter Aly, we weren’t sure how to proceed.
We knew the pill was never going to be an option again. Basically, we decided to do nothing. It took so long to conceive with Aly, we just figured we would let it unfold in God’s time. Three years later, we got pregnant again and had our second beautiful daughter Brooke.
This whole “whatever happens happens” approach was working out pretty good. Three years between kids worked for us pretty well. However, when Brooke was nine months old, we found ourselves pregnant with number 3!
That wasn’t exactly in our plan, but we were still excited once the shock wore off.
After our third beautiful daughter, Leah, was born, we knew we needed to be more proactive in our family planning. Mandy and our checkbook couldn’t handle another baby soon.
We had always knew of Natural Family Planning, but never really knew much about it. We started doing research and realized that it was the exact thing we needed for our marriage and our faith.
We signed up for classes here in our town through CCL (Couples to Couples League) . It actually was kind of funny because the class was made up of all engaged couples (whose priest required them to attend before their wedding) and then us.
Needless to say, we were the only couple in the class that already had three children! It was great though. We learned all about NFP and how to do it correctly.
As we became more informed about NFP, we realized how awesome it was for our marriage. We communicated more and it was something we did together.
We chose to use a fertility monitor in addition to taking Mandy’s temperature and tracking other fertility signs. We felt more comfortable using the science of the monitor in addition to relying on our own ability to take and chart temperatures and fertility signs.
I participated by taking Mandy’s temperature every morning when I first woke up and then wrote it on the chart. We had learned that the divorce rate among those that practice NFP was only 3 percent! That is crazy low, but we were starting to see why considering how much it brought us together.
We love that it gives us a stronger marriage. We love that after periods of abstinence, our intimacy is enhanced as we both look forward to times of being together again. We love that Mandy is not pumping her body with unnecessary hormones.
(Sidenote: it is very interesting to us that there are many women who are concerned about eating animals who are given antibiotics or growth hormones, but have no problem taking extra hormones into their own bodies.)
We love that we are using Mandy’s amazing God-given cycle in order to plan our family.
NFP has been amazing for our marriage. I encourage you to give it a try. It may just be amazing for your marriage too!
Mike Young, and his wife Mandy, are hosts of the Beyond Your Wedding Day Podcast. They are also the creators and coaches of the Beyond Your Wedding Day Marriage Preparation Course. They have three beautiful daughters, with another baby on the way. Having a financial coaching background as a Dave Ramsey Certified financial coach, Mike is passionate about helping young couples start off their marriages on the right foot.
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.