NFP: Harmony, Not Control

by | Mar 17, 2024 | Church, Family Life, Marriage, Marriage Prep, Parenting, Society, Teachings

Natural Family Planning: the non-contraceptive pregnancy plan.

Harmony vs. Control!  I’ve known Catholics who have entered the church because of Natural Family Planning. But I’ve also known Catholics who left the faith because of Natural Family Planning. Why is this issue so controversial? Why is it such a hard concept to grasp? The answer is actually pretty simple: Original Sin.

Harmony was replaced with control.

At the beginning of time, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. It was a paradise, a place where they wanted for nothing and had friendship with God. They lived in harmony with Him, never ashamed or unchaste in their nakedness. However, after the serpent tempted Eve and they ate the apple, lust was introduced to mankind. In Paradise Lost, John Milton speculates that Adam and Eve experienced intense lust and consequent shame after the Fall. They understood their nakedness and covered themselves before the Lord.

The Fall of Man resulted in a loss of harmony with God. Man and woman could no longer look upon each other without lust. They had to learn chastity, learn control, and learn love.

Contraception is the result of that loss of harmony, growth of lust, and desire for control. It is the lie of the devil, saying we can have what we want (sex) without consequence (babies). In Biblical times, it was known as Onanism. Today, it takes multiple forms like pills, injections, spandex, and good old fashioned Onanism itself.

NFP: the return to harmony.

Natural Family Planning is the return to harmony with God. The result may be the same in some cases, i.e. not conceiving a child. But the method, attitude, disposition, and sanctity of the actions could not be more different. Contraception takes what we want, when we want it, and closes us from the beauty of God’s design. Abstinence takes responsibility, self-control, authority over our passions, and opens us to harmony with God. The method is a barrier vs. self-sacrifice. Attitudes and dispositions are selfish vs. surrendering. The sanctity of the actions is to follow the devil vs. following God.

NFP cannot be dubbed “Catholic birth control” because it does nothing to control birth. Charting simply reveals to us the mechanics of our bodies and allows us to discern how to utilize them. Discerning how to use NFP should be an ongoing journey for wife and husband together. It’s an invitation to harmony, not a list of rules to control our lives.

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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