If you've ever taken birth control, you're probably aware that the pill isn't exactly magical. While taking birth control helps reduce the risks of unplanned pregnancy, it comes at a cost. The side effects can be less than lovely—mood swings, weight gain, and decreased sex drive (among other things), oh my!—and have certainly affected our relationship. But despite the side effects, we still feel that the positives outweigh the negatives for our marriage. And that's a choice every couple has to come to on their own. "My Birth Control Pill Almost Killed Me"
So how do you decide if birth control is right for you? And how long do you and your partner continue to use a birth-control method before you decide to have kids?
It all comes down to communication.
You and your partner have to decide what's right for the two of you. In a committed relationship, you cannot not communicate (yes—that's a double negative there!). You see, I've been there. I'm a non-communicator, which can hinder smooth sailing in our marriage. But I know clamming up or shutting down doesn't solve things, that's why I'm so thankful my husband is big on communication. He's so great at getting me to open up. He always says, "No, don't say, 'I'm fine,' let's talk!" 3 Common Communication Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Communicating in your marriage is all about being able to handle the message. And somehow, I always end up talking after he says that line, because I know he's right. But what if you're on the opposite end of the spectrum, what if you and your partner are in disagreement over birth control and can't come to a decision?
Find a way to get on the same page, and realize it might take several discussions to get there. Big decisions don't always take root overnight. There are certain things you absolutely must cover, when you want kids, and if you want them at all, being number one. Talk about the method of birth control, and the impacts of the route you will choose to take. And certainly, if you're on birth control, don't simply go off without your partner's knowledge. Becoming pregnant under false pretenses? Wrong. Still unplanned, at least on one end, and will only result in major trouble. So bottom line: Discuss, discuss, discuss—until you have the best solution for your marriage. 7 Ways Male Birth Control Will Change Everything
But what about if it's against your religion? Trickier, maybe. But don't fret. You still have options.
Growing up in the Baptist church, I've learned that we have a different perspective than Catholics do on the use of contraceptives by married couples, because we believe scripture does not condemn it. But in a discussion about birth control with one of my Catholic friends, I learned how you can work around usual birth control. "My church actually offers family planning classes where they teach you how to plan the size and timing of your family without birth control," she told me. "I was taught that birth control is a 'no-no' because of children being God's will."
There are many types of birth control out there for couples, whether natural or man-made, and it's up to you and your partner to decide what's right for your family. And even non-traditional methods can work. Another one of my friend's daughters? With the help of her husband, she uses a fertility calendar... and they've been kid-free for over eight years. The Top 5 Challenges Of Natural Family Planning
Every couple is different, but every couple can still come to a fantastic solution for family planning.
Are you using birth control? How did you decide what was right for your relationship?