Unequally Yoked - NFP in a Mixed Marriage

Monday, July 25, 2016

Welcome to NFP Awareness Week 2016 y'all!

I celebrate this week by letting real life NFP couples tell their stories. 
Today we're meeting Josh & Amanda.

Photographer: Maria Kanevskaya Garcia

1. Tell us a little about each of you.

Josh

I am a newlywed, mechatronic engineer, and looking forward to starting a family. I am not Catholic, and don't consider myself religious, but I am supportive of wife's faith. We recently transplanted from Berkeley, CA to Portland, OR, and are exploring all that our new city has to offer.

Amanda

 I am a new wife, visual artist, and recently "reverted" Catholic, returning to the Church in 2015. I'm able to be a homemaker and focus full-time in the studio making drawings that merge the fascination I discover from drawing dead insects and the beauty I encounter within the Mass. I'm inspired by the "way of beauty" and I want to bring Christ to the culture and to our home.

2. How did you first hear about NFP?

Josh


I first heard about NFP from Amanda while she was learning about the Theology of the Body. At the time, we were cohabitating, and Amanda was learning more about her faith, which was cause for a lot of turmoil in how we had been living in the relationship. We got to a turning point where we had to question whether it would be better to go our separate ways, or get married. We wanted to make sure that we weren't just merging into marriage for the wrong reasons. We chose the latter and couldn't be happier. 



We knew we wouldn't be ready to start a family immediately and we also weren't going to use contraception. That is when we started to seriously look at NFP as a way to bridge the gap.

Amanda

 I heard about NFP by looking into JPII's Theology of the Body and his teachings on women through Endow study groups. At the time, Josh and I had been cohabiting, contracepting, and struggling with the Church's teaching on human sexuality. I had no idea what my God-given dignity was after living with PTSD from past emotional and sexual trauma as a teen. It caused a lot of tension and this was one of the serious obstacles I was entangled with while yearning to be in full communion yet still living in a way that was separating myself from receiving the Blessed Sacrament. 

While we were discerning marriage, there were some heavy moments of recognition that no matter how much I believed I loved Josh, my body without my vows was failing miserably to measure up to the authentic love I wanted to express - it was a painful time as I started to realize I was putting Josh before Jesus. We had been in the dark and oblivious about chastity since the start of our three years together, so when we began to ask those hard questions, NFP thankfully emerged as a sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

Photographer: Maria Kanevskaya Garcia

3. How did you pick a method?

Josh

 We went for the Sympto-Thermal method because I like charts, graphs and numbers. It's really amazing to look at the theory of the human body and then be able to see it in action!

Amanda

Thankfully some kind friends (eh, hem!) were able to recommend a trusted method - SymptoThermal through CCL. They were so awesome to share everything about it with us to help ease our skepticism. The local class was starting up right after we got engaged and we just went for it. It sounded like the most accessible and easy method to learn.

4. What has been your greatest challenge?

Josh

The hardest part is keeping self control and abstinence during times when we realize waiting is wiser. There is also a certain amount of trust that you need to have in your spouse. Mistakes can be easy to make and there is some skill required when it comes to reading the charts depending on how conservative you want to be.

Amanda

Compared to the challenges that I had come from, and through all of the negative consequences of my past sins and mistakes, the regular challenges as we practice NFP are nothing. Or, rather, those typical challenges (abstaining during fertile time if there were legitimate things to wait on before trying to conceive) I actually find healing and validating to our marriage and our ability to fully say yes now. 

My other biggest challenge is trying not to drop the thermometer down the side of the bed every morning!

Photographer: Maria Kanevskaya Garcia

5. What has been your favorite benefit?

Josh

 I feel this brings us closer in our marriage. It is one way I can help Amanda heal, knowing I can show her love in ways that respect her dignity. 

Amanda

 The entire method takes discipline, and in that commitment; our commitment to each other is continually enforced. The little ways it benefits our communication and ability to understand each other intimately is such a benefit. 

My favorite benefit is that our "yes" always means YES and there are no shadows of doubt or fear of being used. We can take the leap together and receive new life as a happy gift rather than a panicked consequence or an overly controlled prescription. 
I like that we have to trust together and put aside our temptation to control. I'm so happy I can actually know, based on simple observation, what my body is doing instead of my fertility being flatlined in attempts to "choose". We have a free choice now.


Stick around the rest of the week for more NFP stories!

3 comments :

  1. This was a beautiful testimonial. Love hearing about the healing aspects of NFP from a couple in a mixed marriage! Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was a beautiful testimonial. Love hearing about the healing aspects of NFP from a couple in a mixed marriage! Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is beautiful!! As someone also in a "mixed marriage," I really appreciate reading a non-Catholic man's perspective on this method. Great testimony, and I pray that this beautiful couple just starting out together married continue to be open to God's will for their vocation as husband and wife!

    ReplyDelete

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