Ah, Natural Family Planning! It not only allows you to achieve pregnancy or space your children, it brings you closer as husband and wife.
At least that’s what we like to say to people who are learning it. It’s true, too, for the most part.
Natural Family Planning is an effective, natural way to avoid or achieve pregnancy by observing the signs in a woman’s body. Many people keep the information on a chart which shows the woman’s state based on the signs she observes — cervical mucus, mostly. If you’re avoiding pregnancy, the chart tells the tale of the woman’s monthly cycle from “Non-fertile” to menstruation to “Build-up to Ovulation” to “Fertile.”
But with all this emphasis on what happens to the woman’s body during her cycle, the poor husband’s monthly cycle gets neglected. So I wanted to look at the case where a couple has to avoid having a child for a time for a serious reason, and explain the monthly cycle a man’s soul goes through by recording his thoughts at each NFP stage.
NB: I record just the husband’s thoughts about this one topic, not all of the many loving thoughts he has on other subjects, and I do this to offer camaraderie, so that he knows he is not alone.
Or “Go for it!” In the husband’s mind.
“NFP is amazing!” he thinks at first. “It’s like a new honeymoon every month. I am in love. I am alive. My wife is incredible. Humanae Vitae is genius!”
As time passes, he thinks: “Is this real? Look at my wife! Look at my life! There is no challenge I cannot conquer. There is no mountain I cannot climb!”
Toward the end of those magic days, he’s thinking: “I felt like blushing when I bought flowers today. I wanted to say, ‘I’m not buying these with any motive,’ and then wink and say ‘Oh yes I am!’”
Or “Yikes. I’m glad I’m not a woman,” in the husband’s mind.
His thoughts at first: “I have no words. This is an area I do not think or speak about.”
After a day: “Ahem … Never mind.”
Toward the end: “YouTube is incredible. I just watched a 1980 Peter Gabriel concert in Ottawa. Twice.”
Build-up to Ovulation
Or “Proceed With Caution” in the husband’s mind:
At the beginning, he beams: “I have truly transcended our instant gratification culture. NFP makes you a better person all around. Thank you, God, for my faith in Humanae Vitae.”
As time wears on, he shrugs: “Whatever. I’m fine. Funny how my wife seems to report out information one way and one way only. But I’m mature in this area. So I’m fine.”
In the end, he scowls: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? This is just ‘I have a headache’ with a scientific veneer. Geesh! But I’m fine with it. TOTALLY FINE.”
Or “Stay the heck away” in the husband’s mind.
First, he thinks: “We discussed the spacing of our children. We prayed about it. We were sad we had to wait. But I’m feeling an urgent contrary calling to revisit our decision prayerfully right now.” Followed shortly after by, “Wow. My wife, apparently, is very decidedly not feeling that calling at the moment …”
A day later, he thinks: “I dare those people who say NFP is just another form of contraception to come to this house right now and tell me how a contraceptive sexual act is the same thing as watching Downton Abbey on Netflix, which is what my wife and I are doing in our bed.”
The next day, he thinks: “I will not ask her if it’s ‘count-down’ time yet because she doesn’t want to feel harassed. I am a Humanae Vitae husband. I am mature.” Followed almost immediately by: “I can’t believe I asked her. It just kind of came out. And I made a face when she answered. Now she’s ticked.”
And finally: “I hope she’s not still ticked three days from now.”
And then the cycle begins again with:
“NFP is amazing! It’s like a new honeymoon every month. I am in love. I am alive. My wife is incredible. Humanae Vitae is genius!”