NFP Awareness Week: in which I care more about the marriage part than the NFP part

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Natural Family Planning Awareness Week again! Between July 19th and July 25th all of the Catholic bloggery stops and talks about NFP.
Frankly, there are a lot of more qualified people to talk about the how-tos, whys, and nitty-gritty of NFP. We have always used sympto-thermal (Couple to Couple League) with no surprises and no big issues.

So I'm going to talk about the working on your marriage part of NFP. There would not be much to talk about this week without functioning marriages. The two are connected and feed each other.

First up, praying together.
I'll be honest and say we are still working on finding a groove with this one. We had a good thing going doing the Liturgy of the Hours together pre-babies, but the bedtime dance has thrown that to pieces for a while. However, it is something I want to get better about because it makes the discernment of your "trying to" status (trying to avoid, trying to conceive, trying to whatever) go as it should.

Discernment is hard. You shouldn't go in there alone.

I have a much better system down for private devotions and getting prayer in with little ones. More on that later.
I love pictures of little kids praying so so hard! They are adorable and admirable.
Second, date nights!

Due to the having all little ones, we don't do much of the "out of the house" type of date. We do have friends who will take the kids for an evening (best people ever!) so we can do the dinner part and actually eat the food and talk about something besides why it's not a good idea to put spaghetti in your hair. Intentional time together is important.

We have been getting better at stay at home date nights. For Christmas, both Matt and I gave each other a different version of the popular on pinterest date night ideas.

I made a years worth of an envelope a month that contains two stay at home date ideas and two away from home date ideas. The away from home were not necessarily without the kids (we took them for the bookstore scavenger hunt and it was fun!) It was all very nice and organized.
It has me written all over it.

I'm good at organizing, not drawing.
Matt made a cute jar of "draw out a stick" stay at home date night ideas. It's more spontaneous and good at filling in the gaps where my "master plan" didn't work out. It's got Matt written all over it.

Ideally, there is one date night every week. Some months we are better than others, but the goal is improvement not perfection.

Third, do marriage prep - again

Isn't it pretty? This is here because I couldn't find an open source image of that FOCCUS test we all know and love.
This may seem odd, but get your hands on some of the marriage prep materials you might have had during your engagement and work through them again. The answers are probably very different now that you've gone from in theory to in practice. The USCCB has helpfully compiled most of them for you.

And, finally, make friends with an engaged couple in your parish

In my dream world, there would be a system in place for matching engaged couples with married couples within a parish. I think there is nothing like trying to explain something to another person to make you realize what you do and do not actually have down. I think it can be an encouraging experience to the discouraged, and enlightening to the proud. It strengthens our parish community too.

I'm trying really really hard not to be in charge of making that happen here. Maybe I'll do it anyway. I make no promises not to carry out my crazy ideas.


And if you're still here and itching for more how tos and whys and further reading on NFP, here is a quick link roundup.



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