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 | By Steve and Bridget Patton

He Says: I want her to use NFP exclusively

Matt: I have come to a fuller understanding of the Church’s understanding on birth control, and I want Allison to stop taking the pill and use NFP exclusively.

She Says: I don’t want to risk getting pregnant right now

Allison: Easy for Matt to say – he isn’t the one who will get pregnant. We agreed to use the pill before we got married and I see no reason to change now. I don’t want to risk getting pregnant any time soon.

What do they do?

Sometimes you have to compromise in marriage, but not when it comes to sin.

Matt has come to believe, rightly, that contraception is a “morally unacceptable means” to regulate births, according to the catechism (CCC 2399), and so Allison shouldn’t try to force him to act against his conscience. But, likewise, Matt shouldn’t try to force his will upon her.

Since this leaves them at a standoff, they need to go back to the drawing board.

  • If Allison and Matt need to avoid getting pregnant, modern methods of natural family planning (NFP) are at least as effective as the most effective forms of contraception.
  • NFP is all about understanding and living in harmony with the monthly cycles of your fertility. Contrast this with the pill, which is all about intentionally messing up a perfectly natural, beautiful and healthy process of the body.
  • NFP couples commonly make use of their 20 days for sexual relations at least as often as other couples do. 

Matt is on the right track here, but he needs to adjust his attitude. This is not about what he wants Allison to do or not do. This is about what God wants and doesn’t want for the marriage. And this is not just about her learning and using NFP. It is a couple’s shared responsibility. 

Try this: Attend an NFP class together to learn more about the amazing gift of fertility and how to live with it in harmony with God’s will.

Steve and Bridget Patton hold master’s degrees in theology and counseling and serve as family life ministers for the Diocese of Sacramento.