Natural Family Planning

Family Matters

My husband is a good Christian man but not Catholic. We agree on limiting the size of our family for now, but he's annoyed with my desire to use natural family planning. He sees it as a great inconvenience and is not moved at all by it as a teaching of the Church. How can I get him to come around?

This could be an excellent opportunity to awaken in your husband an appreciation for the Catholic Church. We know it might sound odd — this teaching is widely unpopular and requires personal sacrifice. However, we've witnessed time and again that one of the truly remarkable things about the Church's teaching in this area is how it can transform attitudes once put into practice.

He might be persuaded to give natural family planning a try for solid reasons that are not theological. In fact, many people who reject contraception in favor of natural family planning do so for reasons that have nothing to do with the Church's teaching, at least initially.

Appeal to your husband's love and care for your well-being. One of the key distinctions between natural family planning and artificial contraception is the impact upon a woman's body. Simply put, any kind of chemical birth control or surgical sterilization procedure carries significant risks of side effects and complications. Surely your husband would not want you to be subject to such risks if they were avoidable? Visit www.onemoresoul. com for a wide array of resources to explain the medical implications of using artificial methods.

Natural family planning, on the other hand, carries no medical risks. Since natural family planning involves only the observance of bodily signs of fertility, no side effects are possible. The couple simply acts in harmony with how the body is designed rather than uses artificial means to interrupt or thwart the natural processes of the body.

Perhaps you can put it to your husband this way: Would he rather you use a method that allows your body to function normally, or would he rather you take powerful chemicals that force the body to cease functioning how it was designed to function? We know many husbands who are not religious men at all who happily use natural family planning for this very simple reason: They care about the health of their wives.

If your husband is a devout Christian, we assume he is pro-life. He might not be aware of the abortifacient possibilities of chemical birth control methods. Again, see or for more detailed information for him to read.

Finally, emphasize the opportunity natural family planning presents to learn and appreciate exactly how your body works. This, combined with the fact that you will be regularly communicating about whether the time is right for another child, will lead to a deepening of your marital relationship. The beautiful paradox of natural family planning is that periodic abstinence draws couples closer together. Of course, it isn't easy, but no worthwhile sacrifice ever is.

One nifty side effect of using natural family planning is its potential to lead your husband to a curiosity about the Catholic Church. If he discovers that the Church is actually onto something good here, maybe there's something to the rest of it after all.

The McDonalds are family life directors for the Archdiocese of

Mobile, Alabama.