Join Date: May 2003
Location: Beautiful Carolina
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It is difficult to answer briefly, but here it goes…
In a broad sense, both FAM and NFP foster more frequent, deeper communication as couples discuss how they will handle the fertile days. NFP differs in its approach; however, because it requires abstinence during the fertile days. I think NFP also teaches couples how to express their love in a non-sexual way. The intentional, non-sexual communicating leads to more time spent talking, for instance, “why are we trying to have a baby/trying not to have a baby?” Sex is wonderful, but some couples use sex to medicate their relationship. For spouses who struggle with expressing their emotions, NFP can be a great tool for intimacy.
In addition, the periodic abstinence begets a little honeymoon at the end of each cycle. I adore the way my husband clings to me when we enter Phase III (the post-ovulatory infertile time), like a man quenching a long, dry thirst. And I long to be with him! With NFP, you abstain on behalf of a shared goal. You are still embracing each other fully, still accepting each other wholly. This is different than contracepting women, who may feel used during sex, and contracepting men, who may feel like their sperm are to be avoided at all costs!
NFP also relies on a mutual commitment. Each partner sacrifices short term pleasure on behalf of the other. How often is this skill needed in marriage? Contrary to popular thought, abstinence never gets easier. It does take discipline, and like a muscle, the more often it’s exercised, the stronger it is. Through NFP, spouses regularly make sacrifices for one another. So, when the time comes for one to sacrifice the $150 highlights (personal experience), the new golf clubs, the bigger house, the big career, whatever it is, for their spouse (and possibly their children), the better prepared they are to do so.
Lastly, some couples find that NFP draws them closer spiritually. Regardless of what book they’re reading, when a couple is on the same page spiritually, there will be less strife over the really big questions: how do we raise our kids? how much money/time should we donate to philanthropy? should we switch jobs? is it time to move to another town? do we have another child? The scientists out there will note the lower divorce may be attributed to couples who start out their marriages in a better, more communicative relationship. Certainly there is truth in that logic. But that would not explain the 50+% divorce rate for non NFP couples. I hope this would not restrict us, who know of its benefits to marriage, from sharing this effective, natural, family planning tool with others.
Hope that helps. If you're interested in reading the actual studies(as I was when I first heard the stats), let me know and I will send you the info.