We agreed to use "the Pill"
We agreed to use “the Pill”
Lisa says: When we got married, we both agreed that we did not accept the church’s teaching about birth control and decided I would take “the pill.” Now, Kevin has decided the church is right and we have to switch to Natural Family Planning (NFP). I’m not convinced NFP really works. Everybody who uses it seems to have large families, and I definitely don’t want that!
We need to switch to NFP
Kevin says: Lisa is right – we did agree to use contraception when we got married. But I have studied more about our faith and I now accept the church’s teaching – I am convinced that NFP is the only method we should use to space pregnancies. I’m afraid that if Lisa doesn’t agree, we won’t be able to have marital relations again because I don’t want to sin.
What do they do?: Making moral decisions within the context of marriage is seldom easy for married couples. Not because they face greater challenges and moral issues, but simply because there are two individuals trying to “become one.” Within the context of marriage, couples are challenged to develop a ‘couple-conscience’; not what is right or wrong for ‘me’ as an individual, but what is right or wrong for ‘us’ as a couple. The method of regulating birth of children is often the first great moral decision a couple faces. Certainly part of the moral decision-making process is to gain understanding and knowledge about the issues. Kevin appears to be comfortable with what he has discovered. Lisa is not yet as certain as Kevin.
The decision however, does not rest exclusively with Kevin or with Lisa; it rests with both of them. What is best for them as a couple at this time in their life? It may just be to enter into a period of abstaining from marital intimacy. Or it may be to continue discerning what God is calling them to do as a couple through prayer and contemplation, while gaining additional knowledge. The reliability and methods of naturally regulating births of children have dramatically improved in recent years. With proven scientific (and church-accepted) methods, diligently applied, you can see a 95 perent effectiveness rate. That means Lisa and Kevin could have a 95 percent chance of determining when to say “Yes” to God and accept the new life that he provides. We would recommend three simple steps for Lisa and Kevin:
• Begin to dialogue and pray with each other, asking the Holy Spirit to open your minds and your hearts to this aspect of your love for each other.
• Express your inner-most fears and uncertainties to each other and get in touch with your feelings.
• Seek out a qualified NFP practitioner who is willing to meet with you, answer all your questions and assist you in developing a plan that will work for the two of you.
We certainly commend Kevin for doing the research and agree he is on the right path, but he needs to also help Lisa gain the same understanding of NFP and God’s plan for their marriage. In a marriage, it is all about lifting up our partner to God, for in doing so, we become holy. It is no longer about ‘me’, it is about ‘we’; you, I and God.