Sunday, November 13, 2011
An NFP Miracle
I have been teaching NFP now for about 5 years. When I first began to teach, I called a good friend of 17 years in San Diego, excited to tell her about how she could easily know when she was fertile each month and that she was only fertile about 100 hours a month (a big shocker to me- thought I was fertile every day!). My friend is a devout Christian, a very capable woman, extremely resourceful and fun (I call her, 'the fun factory') and a choleric (almost can't tell her anything she doesn't already know).
She immediately recognized the 'signs' of fertility that I explained to her and said enthusiastically, "I can do this!"
We didn't talk again about NFP for another year. During that year, I had learned that I needed to teach about the meaning of the marital embrace as well as the relationship of practicing NFP to the Sacrament of Matrimony- otherwise couples just saw NFP as a choice of birth control on the table with all the contraceptives. I found that when I shared the Church's teaching about these things, the follow-up rate increased and couples actually practiced the method and that the engaged couples who were already living together decided to embrace chastity.
During that year I also began to see the changes that the practice of NFP effected in husbands and men and connected the changes in my own husband with our use of NFP.
I got so excited then to talk again with my friend because her husband has remained notoriously 'teenagerish' throughout their 27 years of marriage and refuses to assume responsibility in every area of their lives.
I called her and said, "I gotta tell you about the effects of practicing NFP on men!"
She listened and then said, "But, we are practicing NFP and I am not seeing those things in my husband."
I was just devastated, crushed, dismayed. Then I asked her again, "So you are practicing NFP?"
She responded, "Yes, Yes."
I asked, "Well, how are you practicing NFP?"
"Just like you explained," she assured me.
I had to ask it, and it was embarrassing, "Are you ever having sex during the fertile time and sterilizing it to avoid pregnancy?"
"Well, yes....occasionally." She admitted.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I explained, "That is not practicing NFP." I explained why.
It seemed she understood, but I didn't want to press her and so we talked about other things.
Another year went by.
I got a call from her and she told me that they were on the verge of divorce. That he had become so selfish that anytime she wanted anything even to tell him important information about the children, his response was, "What do you want!"
She said he also seemed to be depressed.
I told her again about the effects of practicing NFP on men and said I would fly out there and do a class for them and any friends they might have that could benefit. We made plans and we both agreed that it would be a miracle if he would sit in for the class. We prayed.
Our family flew to San Diego about 6 months ago to do the class which was done in my friend's living room.
There were two other couples present, both also on the verge of divorce.
My friend's husband, miraculously, was there too.
Just as I prepared to do the introduction, while looking at his watch, leaning back in his chair, he sarcastically announced, "Kace, ya got 15 minutes till I fall asleep."
I took a deep breath, whispered a prayer and started the class (which was a protestant version- 2.5 hours long). Not only did he NOT fall asleep, he was asking questions and interjecting appropriately funny comments throughout. Everyone enjoyed the class and he left it feeling hopeful and excited as did my friend and the other couples.
My friend then drove me back to where our family was staying and during that ride I literally wanted to beat my head against the dashboard of her car.
She just would not see that sterilizing during the fertile time was not using NFP and struggled with the idea that her husband could experience a conversion so easily and quickly simply through acting responsibly in his intimate actions with her (i.e. being willing to parent a child for x number of years or being willing to exercise self-control during the fertile time because of the potential child, his potential fatherhood and her potential motherhood- ending the possibility of seeing his wife as a way to satisfy and urge or as a means to an end- because the idea of the child is always connected to the act- thus lust is ejected as a dominant factor and love takes it rightful place and the woman then feels loved and begins to desire her husband- I could go on and on!!).
ANYWAY, I had to just let go and I left it all to God.
Last month, I got a call from my friend.
In the midst of filling me in about her life and adventures, she told me that they really had begun to practice NFP now-for about the last 3 months. I questioned her about it, quite bluntly this time, and they really, really are.
About a week later- she called me. She quietly said, "Oh- and I want to let you know .......(as though our conversation a week before was just continuing)...........I am seeing changes in him."
"I am seeing changes in him."
Never in the 17 years of our friendship has she ever expressed anything to indicate a positive change in the well known status of his behavior. Never.
I can't wait to hear about what happens in their relationship and all around him as he takes hold of his responsibilities.
Afterall... there is great power in a man.......