NFP: The Husband’s Monthly Cycle

Ah, Natural Family Planning! It not only allows you to achieve pregnancy or space your children, it brings you closer as husband and wife.

At least that’s what we like to say to people who are learning it. It’s true, too, for the most part.

Natural Family Planning is an effective, natural way to avoid or achieve pregnancy by observing the signs in a woman’s body. Many people keep the information on a chart which shows the woman’s state based on the signs she observes — cervical mucus, mostly. If you’re avoiding pregnancy, the chart tells the tale of the woman’s monthly cycle from “Non-fertile” to menstruation to “Build-up to Ovulation” to “Fertile.”

But with all this emphasis on what happens to the woman’s body during her cycle, the poor husband’s monthly cycle gets neglected. So I wanted to look at the case where a couple has to avoid having a child for a time for aNFP Sunset  serious reason, and explain the monthly cycle a man’s soul goes through by recording his thoughts at each NFP stage.

NB: I record just the husband’s thoughts about this one topic, not all of the many loving thoughts he has on other subjects, and I do this to offer camaraderie, so that he knows he is not alone.

Non-Fertile Time

Or “Go for it!” In the husband’s mind.

“NFP is amazing!” he thinks at first. “It’s like a new honeymoon every month. I am in love. I am alive. My wife is incredible.  Humanae Vitae is genius!”

As time passes, he thinks: “Is this real? Look at my wife! Look at my life! There is no challenge I cannot conquer. There is no mountain I cannot climb!”

Toward the end of those magic days, he’s thinking: “I felt like blushing when I bought flowers today. I wanted to say, ‘I’m not buying these with any motive,’ and then wink and say ‘Oh yes I am!’”

Menstruation

Or “Yikes. I’m glad I’m not a woman,” in the husband’s mind.

His thoughts at first: “I have no words. This is an area I do not think or speak about.”

After a day: “Ahem …               Never mind.”

Toward the end: “YouTube is incredible. I just watched a 1980 Peter Gabriel concert in Ottawa. Twice.”

Build-up to Ovulation

Or “Proceed With Caution” in the husband’s mind:

At the beginning, he beams: “I have truly transcended our instant gratification culture. NFP makes you a better person all around. Thank you, God, for my faith in Humanae Vitae.”

As time wears on, he shrugs: “Whatever. I’m fine. Funny how my wife seems to report out information one way and one way only. But I’m mature in this area. So I’m fine.”

In the end, he scowls: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? This is just ‘I have a headache’ with a scientific veneer. Geesh! But I’m fine with it. TOTALLY FINE.”

Fertile Time

Or “Stay the heck away” in the husband’s mind.

First, he thinks: “We discussed the spacing of our children. We prayed about it. We were sad we had to wait. But I’m feeling an urgent contrary calling to revisit our decision prayerfully right now.” Followed shortly after by, “Wow. My wife, apparently, is very decidedly not feeling that calling at the moment …”

A day later, he thinks: “I dare those people who say NFP is just another form of contraception to come to this house right now and tell me how a contraceptive sexual act is the same thing as watching Downton Abbey on Netflix, which is what my wife and I are doing in our bed.”

The next day, he thinks: “I will not ask her if it’s ‘count-down’ time yet because she doesn’t want to feel harassed. I am a Humanae Vitae husband. I am mature.” Followed almost immediately by: “I can’t believe I asked her. It just kind of came out. And I made a face when she answered. Now she’s ticked.”

And finally: “I hope she’s not still ticked three days from now.”

Non-Fertile Time

And then the cycle begins again with:

“NFP is amazing! It’s like a new honeymoon every month. I am in love. I am alive. My wife is incredible. Humanae Vitae is genius!”

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Categories:Marriage

17 thoughts on “NFP: The Husband’s Monthly Cycle

  1. James says:

    I understand. We all love Phase III, hate Phase II, and have mixed feelings about Phase I.

    But part of the process is to get your relationship so that you’re not swinging from extremes. It is designed to challenge you as a man, as a husband, and as a lover. It’s not easy because it’s not supposed to be easy. We are intended for greatness, not comfort, remember?

    The more you improve your communication, show your affection with your clothes on (throughout the month, not during just Phase II), and be a generous lover when you do have the green light, the easier it’s going to be.

  2. James says:

    Marc: Spot on about CCL “experts”: No matter what happens, it’s always your fault. Even if the underlying problem is a cycle issue.

  3. Marc says:

    You forgot the best part of NFP: when it fails, you are never ever in doubt about whose fault it is. As CCL experts are ready to tell you, it’s AWAYS your fault.

  4. Michael says:

    Yes, we’re in this boat for sure. We’ve had 5 C-Sections, each marginally more risky than the last. Last child was 4 years from the previous one, and the next, who knows, but it may be some time as pregnancy is difficult, risky and life threatening for us. NFP is difficult but as KingdomCome says it is a cross that some are called to bear for the sake of the relationship and for God’s will to be done in full. I have seen much fruit born in my soul as I have carried this cross as I’m sure ,many men have and I am so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. I can truly say that NFP is making a true man out of me despite my weaknesses and shortcomings in this area, because it forces me to be patient, and to offer myself to my wife in total gift when the good Lord allows for us to do so. She is grateful I respect her in this way and I am grateful that God is so patient with me, a senseless and impatient man, that he would choose this cross to heal me of some of my most difficult obstacles to holiness.

  5. ThyKingdomCome says:

    As an NFP-using husband for many years there is another aspect that cannot be overlooked. The reality is the living chastely will always involved the Cross. NFP is living out sexuality in truth, but it isn’t “amazing.” The reality is that a woman’s body and hormones make it such that women are passionately drawn to their husbands during certain times of the month, i.e. during fertile “red light” time in the cycle. So while the non-fertile “green light” times can be like a honeymoon in a sense at times, the reality is that women are not physically desirous of their husbands in the same way. They choose to love their husbands and can find physical pleasure but the natural “can’t keep my hands off you” type passion does not exist during non-fertile times of the month. So for couples who discern and do not feel called to have children for many years, this can be challenging. The bottom line is that living out the truth involves the Cross and it is totally naive for NFPers to makes it sound so easy and “amazing and like a new honeymoon each month. The reality is that living out NFP is hard at times… but it is true. But don’t try to sugarcoat it and sell it like something so awesome and easy.

  6. JoshD says:

    as an NFP-using husband: 100% spot-on!

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