Opening to the Other - The Marital Graces of NFP

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In continuation of our celebration of real life NFPers during this NFP Awareness Week - meet Rebecca and David!

1. Tell us a little about each of you.

We are Rebecca and David Basile of Richmond, CA.  We met at a teacher training six years ago, each with a son from a broken past.  He taught Phenomenology and Biodynamic Agriculture at Rudolf Steiner college where I came to study Waldorf education.  

David stayed 20 years prior at a Zen Buddhist monastery, then studied sustainable agriculture and beekeeping, and had high dreams of becoming a monk.  I grew up in Louisiana and was a very happy Montessori preschool teacher who went on a quest to expand her early childhood knowledge and turn it into mission work for impoverished families.  

We both grew up in Christian homes, David Catholic and I protestant.  We both were still searching for more.  Catholicism felt like coming home for both of us- it literally swept us off our feet.  David is now a religion teacher at a Salesian High School and I am home with our two new little ones :)

2. How did you hear about NFP?


I wish I could say Natural Family Planning was introduced much earlier in my life.  It only came into my knowledge at age 33 in my RCIA class when I was considering becoming Catholic.  It is pretty basic information about how my body works - it isn't rocket science.  

I guess no one talks about it because birth control has a kind of immediate gratification to it, and so women's fertility and the education surrounding it isn't valued as much.  I found the education deeply spiritual, like I was unlocking a secret door in my own heart.  It is empowering to say the least.


 I also only first heard of it later in life when I was returning to the Church. I saw it as an beautiful and natural practical application of the papal encyclicals I was studying and a course on Catholic Sexual Ethics that I was taking in grad school.

3. How did you pick a method?


Ha- I just googled "Natural Family Planning" and found the most legit looking website!  

I did a little research on other methods and chose John and Sheila Kipling's "Natural Family Planning: The Complete Method" which uses the "Symptom-Thermal Method" and also teaches Ecological Breastfeeding.  Their 150p. manual is available to print online.  Since then, I have learned about SO many other versions of NFP: fancy phone apps, and ovulation-tracking devices.  It is a science that seems to be becoming increasing popular and more readily available to the average user. 

4. What has been your greatest challenge?


I don't really like being so different than others.  I kind of thought of myself as being a liberal and rebellious soul before, but really I was just like everyone else.  Now I am really standing up for something I believe in and no one really gets it.  In fact, it's pretty much a conversation killer.  To those that do engage, it's really hard to differentiate the differences between NFP and other forms of birth control.  
I just wish it appeared as appealing as it is, or the big veil be taken from it- not only to share in the joy with others, but also to share in the benefit it would bring to each of us.

5. What has been your favorite benefit?


The affirmations are never ending.  That two people even come together at all is pretty phenomenal.  We love God and each other, and are saying yes to a life together- that alone makes me pretty giddy.  But what is more is that together we are respecting the natural processes of our bodies.  It doesn't take much time to be in nature and feel overwhelmed with gratitude for God's creation- to care and tend for it- we know this is right.  Why would my body be any different?  The time in marriage, when my body is fertile and we are in love, these are the years we are giving care to the raising up of a family in God's kingdom.  

I cannot believe that this is just "Catholic" or a "choice" kind of a thing.  It isn't that difficult either.  But it is radical, and life changing, and it makes for great conjugal love ;)


 I had been in a long-term non-sacramental relationship previously that, following the unplanned birth of my first child, was very committed to contraception. Sadly, I know very intimately the desire to have more children so easily thwarted by the spousal choice to contracept and I know as well how the absence of the total gift of oneself, one's love, one's fidelity, and one's fruitfulness in the conjugal act slowly tears away at the bonds of intimacy and love. 

Thanks be to God, I also now know how healing and sanctifying is the conjugal act in its fullness in a loving sacramental marriage. Though I had had plenty of "experience", I had never known how wondrous and mysterious sex actually was when done the way God intended. I say mysterious because it really blows my mind away to know that Christ is really present in the bond of our relationship and that this bond and all His love, mercy, and wisdom renews us every time we make love.

In case you missed them, check out our other posted NFP stories.
Keep coming back for more NFP stories throughout this week!

Unequally Yoked: NFP in a Mixed Marriage


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