Lenz cited a New York Times article profiling a couple who used to be Natural Family Planning advocates but have since divorced and recanted their support of NFP. In order to understand why I'm skeptical of this article, here is a synopsis. The woman featured is named Bethany (unfortunately sharing my wife's name), and this article seems to be celebrating the fact that Bethany's understanding of family planning has "evolved" over the years. She was married young but happily to a man named Sam, and they had a child right away. Two years into their marriage, they gained attention as outspoken proponents of NFP, even though they were Protestants. They even wrote a book about all the great things that Natural Family Planning did for their relationship and their family. They had a few "unplanned" pregnancies which happened when she was nursing. Well, I can tell you that Modern NFP only relies upon breastfeeding as a form of natural child spacing when it is done in an "ecological" manner. You can look up the details, but it's safe to say that almost no one in our modern culture practices this form of nursing.
So, they are blaming NFP for something that it does not even endorse. Regardless, a few years later, in 2006, they stated they no longer believed in NFP, and they had adopted artificial birth control in their marriage. Three years AFTER they switched to contraception, their marriage fell apart and they divorced. Today, Bethany identifies herself as a "secular Christian" who can't decide day-to-day whether she believes in God. Would you read that story and conclude that NFP was a problem in this couple's marriage? To the contrary, it appears that life was pretty good while they were practicing NFP, and it only fell apart when they decided to adopt the culturally popular practice of contraception. Their marriage and her faith were both subsequently shattered. By the way, the divorce rate among couples that practice NFP is less than five percent. Go figure. NFP may not be for you, but it's not ridiculous.
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As I said when I opened this long post, I am not looking to convert you to NFP as a reader of this article. Less than five percent of the married population in the United States practices NFP, and if you're not in that small minority, that's your choice. However, whenever you hear or read a statement like "Natural Family Planning is ridiculous," I'd encourage you to pause and perhaps even push back a bit now that you know better. Those of us who value NFP as a central part of our marriage and an awesome tool for intimacy with our spouse have a much different perspective to offer. And if you want to know more facts about Natural Family Planning, I'm happy to help. Just come over to Engaged Marriage or chime in on our Facebook page and let's talk about the truth on this vitally important topic.
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So, what do you think...am I a ridiculous kook or does NFP have some merit? Please chime in below in the comments!