Biological reasons, such as one’s health and concern about the side effects of artificial methods, including sterilization. Many couples don’t want to take the risk of harmful side effects just to make sex convenient. Some have started on Depo-Provera to simplify their lives, but gain weight or suffer depression. Others decide that they just want to be hormone-free, buying or growing vegetables that are chemical free and realizing that they have the same concern for their own body’s ecology. Many find that NFP is a better way for them.
Psychological reasons, such as the positive interaction that can occur as the couple manages family planning together. One “side effect” is that 70 percent of NFP couples who were surveyed indicated that the practice of NFP increased their communication level. One husband relates:
“I never thought that after twenty years of marriage that I would ever feel the intensity of desire for my wife I felt when we were first married. Yes, we still loved each other, but there was something missing. I just chalked it up to being older, having kids, being together for twenty years. Something amazing happened when we learned NFP – the abstinence brought back the freshness, the anticipation, we had enjoyed when we were first married.
We were using a barrier method of family planning before NFP, but I hated suiting up for sex. It seemed wrong to establish a barrier from the person you were to be as intimate as possible with – it contradicted the unity of the act. NFP is so much more spontaneous and congruent with what sex means in a committed, loving relationship.”
Moral and ethical reasons, such as the recognition that some forms of contraception actually interfere with the implantation process after conception has taken place. These methods may act as abortifacients. In the words of one husband: “I had heard that hormonal contraceptives can cause really early abortions by preventing implantation, so I asked my doctor about it. She said that this isn’t true. However, the more I read, the more it seemed that there really is the possibility that this is true. I’m not willing to take that chance and I also think it is an injustice for me, as a man, to ask my wife to negate her biology just so she can be sexually available without concern for pregnancy. Justice requires that we both share in the responsibility for family planning. NFP fulfilled this for us.”
Philosophical and religious reasons, such as faithfulness to one’s religious beliefs and an understanding of sexuality as comprised of a unitive and procreative dimension – inseparable parts of a whole. NFP allows the couple to respect this part of who they are and to practice responsible parenthood.
NFP helped me appreciate the cycle of life. It makes me very thankful that there is a God who has made this – how wonderfully it all works together. As Psalm 139 says, we are fearfully and wonderfully made! I feel good about NFP because it allows me to live congruently with Catholic teaching. I’m not putting an obstacle between myself and my relationship with God, and my relationship with God has gotten closer.