Obstacles to God’s Plan for Spousal Love (case #1)

Kimberly (KC) Schnitker is an NFP teacher in the D.C. area.  She has extensive experience with many couples exploring NFP.  She works closely with priests and doctors, and encourages them to promote this part of God’s plan for marriage and spousal love.  Here is a first hand story from one of her clients which explains the struggle many women go through to arrive at God’s plan for their marriage and spousal love.  People need to hear about these struggles and discover the many benefits of NFP. —Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB

Case #1

I can't remember detail for detail as to how this discussion with Fr. Jones (names are kept anonymous) came up, but I stayed after Bible study last week and the topic of marriage came up.  We discussed how important the vows of marriage really are. . . . especially the one "will you accept children lovingly from God." This then led to discussion about contraceptives and he asked if I knew what the Church’s stance was on this issue.  In all honestly I shamefully didn't know, but of course morally have felt for YEARS that the use of them was wrong.  I had never really been educated about the use of contraceptives; my OB swayed me towards using them after I got my period at 16, even before being sexually active, for fear that I may become pregnant because I was in a "steady" relationship at the time.(My sister got pregnant when she was a senior in high school). I never had anyone talk to me about the side effects in regards to my health or more importantly the effects it would have on my heart (morally).  Then Fr. Jones said, "Have you ever heard of NFP?" When he started explaining I saw a resemblance to "taking charge of your fertility" which I was familiar with.  When I asked if it was available in the area, he told me to google KC!! And there you were!!

To give you a little background: Joe (names are kept anonymous) and I were high school sweethearts. He had just graduated high school and I was going into my Junior year (18 and 16).  When we first started dating, I remember a conversation Joe and I were having and he said, "I am who I am and you're not going to change me." At the time, I was devastated, he was controlling and we fought all of the time.  After a few months passed it was obvious his love for me was starting to grow and he was beginning to change and he didn't even realize it.  He was doing things out of love for me and trying to "win me over."  We were fighting less and less as he was beginning to gain trust in our relationship.  With that, the passion in our relationship started to grow and we then ended up having intercourse. Even though we didn't wait for marriage we are each other’s first and only.

In 2007, three couples in our tight circle of friends got married. I was so proud of our relationship because out of our friends we were the only couple that did not live together before getting married.  It was so difficult as we struggled for time with each other and became jealous of our friends who were never faced with saying goodnight and going in opposite directions.   Our first night of marriage was spent together in our new home—what a blessing!! 

In 2008, I went off birth control and for 6 long months we tried to conceive.  What a stressful time for us.  Finally, in the 6th month, I bought the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I read the book with much diligence and the funny thing is when you look to where I began charting that cycle, it stops 3 days after my peak day: )  I did not use birth control between our babies and with baby Jane I nearly looked at Joe and got pregnant!! I was much more aware of the natural processes of my body; I knew what to look for and pregnancy came easy.  After baby Jane, I went in for my 6 week check and the doc asked what form of birth control I wanted to use. I said "none" and I essentially got laughed at and pressured into using the IUD, which he encouraged "was the best choice for me". I soon after began to hate it.  I really hated the side effects of the IUD, and I was encouraged to give it at least a year to determine if I wanted it pulled, and this past January I had it removed.  Then came the pill again. Ugh.

I have been having feelings of guilt for a long time—guilt of using contraceptives because all along my gut has been telling me no, no, no.  Not to mention I have felt physically terrible while being on them.  I just wished I had done something sooner, but I felt there were no other options.

NFP is like a breath of fresh air.  I'll be honest, Joe is incredibly skeptical about the use of NFP.  We had a long talk when I registered for the class and he said he thought this was my evil scheme for getting pregnant.  I was highly offended at first, because I have never been one to be deceitful, and I respect our marriage much more than that.  And after all this is mutual.

I have noticed a slight difference in Joe already, but I'm not sure if it’s that he is changing or because my perspective of his actions has slightly changed.  I am a nurse and Joe is a fireman so we both work shift work and our schedules rotate around each other.  The days I work, Joe keeps the kids, and vice versa.  We do not have the kids in any form of daycare so Joe has a lot of responsibility for them.  What I noticed today when I got home from work was that he was more relaxed, our dinner was done, the kids had been fed, and overall he seemed less stressed.  He has kissed them more this evening than he has over the past few days.  I'm hoping since the class, he sees them more as little blessings instead of little rug-rats.  I hope he now has some insight into what I've been trying to convey to him.  I pray that Joe gives NFP a chance; we are at the point where we both need it.  Our family needs it.  Our marriage needs it.

Stay tuned. : )