The following is an article that was originally published in Family Foundations and updated for my blog:
We have been teaching Natural Family Planning (or NFP) for nearly 29 years. We have volunteered much of our time preparing and teaching classes over the past 28 years, as well as lecturing to marriage preparation courses and youth groups. However, I’d like to share what we have gotten out of it.
Admittedly, when we first decided many years ago to become NFP teachers after only two years of marriage, we thought about what we would give, not what we would receive. We had no idea of the abundant fruit it would bear.
First, we have made so many wonderful friends through teaching NFP. Most of our close friends are couples we have taught over the years.
One particular couple was considering sterilization when they met us 20 years ago. Having four children born one right after the other, they were being pressured by friends and relatives into having a permanent procedure done. We taught them NFP and they used it for many years. Nine years ago, they welcomed another child into their family.
Second, we have been able to evangelize in a way that has allowed friends and relatives to take a second look at NFP. Our many contracepting friends and relatives have seen what NFP has done for our marriage. They see a couple with a loving, sacramental relationship, with God as the third partner. And while they may not ever use NFP, they cannot argue with the success of our marriage.
As well, we have convinced some of these friends and relatives that contraception is not only physically unhealthy, but also spiritually unhealthy. One day we were at a friend’s anniversary party and a woman asked how we knew the couple celebrating their anniversary. “We taught them NFP.”
“What’s NFP?” asked the woman. This started a 45-minute conversation on the benefits and morality of NFP. At the end of the conversation, the woman told us to sign her up for our next class.
Third, teaching NFP is a good example to our children because they are seeing us give our time freely to other couples. They see us doing something to try to “change the world.” When our oldest son was a teenager, he came with us to a pro-life conference. We were speaking on the “Joys of NFP.” Later, he asked us, “What can I do to change the world? What can I do to help make the world a better place?’
“What brought this on? Why do you ask?”
“Because you and Dad teach NFP, do chastity talks, go on pro-life marches, help out with marriage preparation. I mean, you do so much. I’d like to do something like that.”
I was shocked that he had even noticed.
The rewards we have received through friendships, evangelization and example to our children are priceless.
Teaching NFP is one of the most time-consuming things we have ever set out to do. And although there are frustrating times, it is definitely one of the most satisfying decisions we have ever made.
We now teach NFP online (photo above). If you’re interested in learning NFP or in teaching it, email us at info(at)fullquiverpublishing.com
Photo and text copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach