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!’”


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!”



  • Brad

    What about those of us who are not sophisticated enough to figure this out? We don’t get the ‘benefit’ of choosing when to get pregnant and when to avoid a pregnancy? What about Catholics in poor countries or 3rd world countries who aren’t going to use a fancy thermometer, cool charting apps and $300 software for this? Are they just stuck with the original Catholic teaching to let God determine their family size? Seems to me that NFP is an American/European concession and I’m still not convinced that it is’t Catholic Birth Control. We’re practicing Catholics, pregnant with our 6th child, been using NFP ‘successfully’ for 12 years.

    • Joe Cool

      The interesting thing is that NFP is actually cheaper and simpler than most contraceptive methods. You actually don’t need a fancy thermometer, cool charting apps, or $300 software. In fact, it tends to be more effective specifically in the third world, because it doesn’t require expensive medicine or surgery.

      A study conducted in China showed that couples using the Billings method of NFP were more likely to stick with the method than they were with contraceptives.

  • JimmyV

    Wow. It’s like you were in my head.

  • Kate

    It is dead on and a humorous way to view it. It is challenging and beautiful at the same time.

    I questioned why women had to abstain during the time they desired their husband most. That seemed unfair to me. But I realized something very important to consider in this discussion. The way NFP is designed forces a woman to realize the temptation her husband goes through all the time. When she desires her husband and knows she must wait, she begins to understand his trials. By the time she is not fertile, she ought to remember that when her husband requests intimacy. It is just another part that helps the marriage strengthen.

    • James

      @Kate: Yes, It’s easy to think of the infertile period as “a honeymoon every month”, but this may require work because the wife’s hormones drop after Peak. While she may lose interest during the “countdown”, his continues to build.

      For the wife, as you mentioned, it is important to remember her husbands need for physical intimacy, even if she wants “to curl up with a book and be left alone.”

      For the husband, the key is to make physical intimacy in the infertile phase more exciting for her than a good book! It certainly can be done, but it does take patience, skill, and learning what she likes. Husbands have to learn to be good lovers to make the most of this time, and that does take effort.

      When the wife honors her husband’s need for physical intimacy and the husband responds by always making sure that his wife comes first (in every sense of the word), this mutual self-giving and self-sacrifice really does strengthen a marriage, both inside and outside the bedroom.

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  • KristinD

    Love it. Sharing this on our NFP forum/blog Thanks!

  • Katie

    You need the women’s cycle of thoughts to complement this…the fertile time she is super interested but alas, they are postponing a pregnancy. Then along comes the infertile period, only she wants to curl up with a book & be left alone. Lol.

    • John Jakubczyk

      And all of us men KNOW that what Katie has written is exactly on point.

      I tell the younger fellows – learn about your wife’s cycle so you know the times when silence bespeaks of wisdom.

      One final point – the importance of learning NFP is to realize that you probably don’t really need to use it. After all God is the best family planner. Still one should always be aware.

      • jgbech

        John, when I first married my wife was a staunch Catholic. After two difficult pregnancies her doctor warned that Carolyn could have no more children. We were introduced to NFP. In those years it was jokingly referred to as Vatican Roulette. There was little proof it had worked. I thought it was so complicated I contemplated installing a lab. Conclusion, it was far too risky given her health that we opted for contraception. Our priest went crazy.



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