People think we’re crazy when we tell them that we’re doing Natural Family Planning.
You’re going to get pregnant in your first six months of marriage.
Granted, if you pushed me into giving you some ideal timeline of when we would like to begin building our family, we’d probably be talking somewhere 2-3 years down the road.
I’ve discovered that the most frequent question recently married women are asked is some variation of, “So when are you planning on babies?” I tell them it’s somewhere in our future but that we’re very open to life. This confuses people.
Sadly, in today’s world, pregnancy is often viewed as a consequence of sex. Life and love have become detached. So much so that women every day choose to neuter their femininity and mask their most beautiful God-given gift, the ability to create life, so that they can be constantly sexually available to their spouse.
Many women who use contraception within their marriages have quoted that they’ve felt used. That contraception has lowered their sense of worth. Because their husbands saw them as constantly being sexually available, they felt taken for granted. These were not experiences that I was eager to encounter within my marriage.
Now I’m not saying that my husband (as of May 2015) and I are eager to begin having children right now, but we have had a rare and blessed opportunity to experience the raw beauty and true meaning of intimacy (both emotionally and physically). We cannot see life as a burden and we continue to grow closer to one another through our growing strength in our faith and understanding of one another.
In just a couple of months of marriage, I quickly understood the importance of chastity in a dating relationship. It isn’t arbitrary. We were practicing. We were practicing self-control, communication, and our ability to be emotionally (not just physically) intimate with one another. All virtues within a marriage.
I thought that Natural Family Planning was going to be difficult. But our dating relationship provided a natural and seamless transition into this lifestyle.
During our times of abstinence, we get to express our love for each other in nonsexual ways. As a result, the intimacy between us has deepened. And by using a calendar to track my cycle and know my fertility, I get to show my husband that I want to be with him as much as possible. Our anticipation for this marital act intensifies its joy.
Many couples do not consider Natural Family Planning because of the amount of “work” that it is. Unfortunately, I think there is a grave misunderstanding as to what exactly NFP is. I’ll spare you the details, and instead urge you to please research NFP. It’s hard to imagine your sex life being 5000x better, but it’s possible. If you want to develop a deeper the deepest level of intimacy with your partner, then Natural Family Planning is absolutely for you.
Happy Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.
I’m serious. Stop calling yourself gay. Or straight. Or lesbian, transgender, bisexual. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be proud of who you are; in fact, I’m saying the opposite.
Who are you? To your core, what defines you? I am so happy that people who struggle in understanding their sexuality no longer have to feel completely alone in the battle; we’ve taken leaps in these past several years. Embrace the things that make you you. But don’t let your sexuality define who you are as a person. And don’t dismiss another human as worthy of love based solely on their own sexuality.
We define our love, our relationships, the very core of who we are by our sexuality. Of course, sexuality is very important. But it’s only one facet of who you are as a person. Self-identifying with phraseology like straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender isn’t helping us discern who we are, it’s holding us back from how great we could be. Putting our sexuality on a pedestal and crowning it as the delineating point in who we are is preventing us from living the life that God intended for us.
God created us to be many things; he also created us differently, which is what makes this world so beautiful. But I don’t think that His intention was for us to overlook all of the amazing things that we could be by allowing our sexual preferences to cloud the more meaningful qualities that make us so incredibly special.
Instead of self-identifying with terms like gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, think of all the other terms that we could self-identify with; terms like father, mother, brother, sister, friend, and most importantly, beloved sons and daughters of Christ. We are people. We are more than sexual beings.
We’re living in a culture in which we’re told that in order to discover who we are, we have to give ourselves away. If we don’t experiment sexually, then how will we understand sex? How will we know love? If we don’t label ourselves by our sexual preferences, then how will people understand who we are?
BE PROUD. Be proud of who you are. Be proud of the quirks and gifts that make you different. Be proud of the fact that you were made in the image and likeness of God.
You are so much more than your sexuality.
How do you define yourself? Let's start a conversation. Please comment below or share! To your core, what defines you? How are you more than your sexuality?
I grew up in a religious family. I spent every Wednesday of K-12 at my obligatory weekly catechism. I've never slept past 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday. At a young age, I received Holy Communion, I enjoyed the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and was a confirmed Catholic at the age of 12. I loved being Catholic and told myself at a younger age that dating someone who wasn't simply wouldn't work.
I came to college, continued practicing my faith, never missed a mass. I continued going through the routine of the Catholic church and was what I considered to be a "Good Catholic." I have strong values, but to say that I perfectly lived them out would be a stretch of the truth. I had my share of drunken escapades and random make-outs in my freshman year of college. I justified my less than holy lifestyle through relativism and regular attendance at church. I was still a devout and passionate Catholic saving myself for something bigger and someone better but it wasn't until the beginning of my junior year of college that I found a reason for why the Catholic church was my home.
Though I spent my life in search of the "nice Catholic man" that mom promised was waiting for me, in the summer going into my junior year, I found myself head over heels in love with a Baptist (INSERT DRAMATIC GASPS). Though he wasn't Catholic, he attended church with me. I soon found that everything was questioned; he asked questions that I realized I couldn't answer. I spent my entire life in this church. Why did I not know what "PAX" meant, why we pray with saints, the significance of the rosary, why the priest is wearing purple, or the reason why we call him "Father"? ..."Why can't I receive communion?"
I spent my life believing in the Catholic church. But why? It took no time to realize that I was terribly uneducated. My instinctive answer to every question was a sad, "Well... Because."
Dating a non-Catholic was the best thing that ever happened to me. From the beginning, we vowed to grow closer to each other only through Him; we promised to live a Christian relationship, we set boundaries and made the decision to wait with each other. To answer his questions, I educated myself. CatholicAnswers soon became my most frequently visited website. I read books and attended Catholic conferences and retreats, listened to audiobooks, podcasts, and talked to priests. I finally had the opportunity to fully fall in love with the church that held my heart. I never expected him to convert to the church, but if I valued his presence in mass next to me, I realized I needed to find my own value for being there.
Had I dated the "nice Catholic man" I sought, I never would have had the opportunity to rediscover Catholicism. Two years later, this virtuous man that has taught me the meaning of self-sacrificial love is joining my hand and my heart in the Catholic church. Leading him through conversion has been the best experience of my life and through it, I have found reasons for why the church is my home that are finally able to transcend beyond "because my parents raised me here."
This is not to say that rediscovering Catholicism will only occur through dating a non-Catholic, but had I not opened my heart and mind, I would still be an uneducated Catholic stuck in a routine. There are a multitude of ways for you to find your heart in the church again, I was just blessed enough to find mine by losing myself in the love of another.
Proof that a relationship can be founded upon the ripped off
corner of a scrap piece of paper.