Couples who use NFP have an incredibly low rate of divorce, and many couples have reported that using NFP to space pregnancies has led to an increase of grace, happiness, and intimacy in their marriage.
Sound too good to be true? It sure is! Oh, using NFP can strengthen your marriage, but that doesn’t happen automatically. In fact, there are tons of easy and excellent ways to ruin your marriage while using NFP to postpone pregnancy. If you’re interested in sharing many miserable years with your spouse, here’s your action plan:
1. Men, make your wife feel either “useful” or “useless,” depending on her current fertility. For instance, if you agree to postpone a pregnancy, launch a relentless campaign to make her have sex anyway, or to satisfy you in illicit ways. You don’t have to use physical force; there are plenty of other ways to exert pressure.
You can be nasty or sullen toward the whole family when you’re abstaining.
You can always make her be the one who says “stop,” as if she’s the owner of sex, and you’re the beggar. This should make you both resentful.
In the name of chastity, you can shun her when she’s fertile, so that, by the time you get the green light, she will be so hurt by your attitude that your sex life will be abysmal. You can turn to porn and masturbation, to make her feel like sex with her is your preference, but there are many close seconds.
And when you do have sex, make sure she gives you what you’ve got coming. You deserve it, for waiting this long.
CAUTION: If you consider her pleasure as important as yours when you do have sex, you might have to ask awkward questions about what works and what doesn’t, and this will lead to better sex for both of you. If you let her know that you desire her madly, but care for her so tenderly that you are willing to wait—if you clearly enjoy being with her even when she has clothes on—she will swoon. DO NOT DO THIS.
2. When she is pregnant, make sure she knows it’s her problem, not yours. Ditto for all aspects of child care. This tactic is versatile: if you’re more practical than she is, you can shame her for falling for irrelevant, outdated pieties; or if you’re holier than she is, you can shame her for not being more open to life. Either way, it’s all her fault. This is probably what St. Joseph did.
CAUTION: If you spend time changing diapers, washing dishes, playing with the kids, and listening closely when she explains what her days are like—if you care about what worries her, and ask how you can relieve her workload—she will think of you as a real man, and may even experience less anxiety about conceiving in the future. DO NOT DO THIS.
3. Women, remember that sex is important to men because men are pigs. They actually receive love primarily through physical means, if you can imagine such a thing. They are so foul and immature that they actually feel lonely and wounded when they don’t receive physical affection.
Make them feel guilty every time they touch you. Be cold and scrupulous.
When abstaining, act like an Amish schoolgirl, as if married chastity is the same as unmarried chastity.
When you do have sex, choose that day to scrub the wallpaper or clean out the attic, so you will be exhausted by the time your husband comes home.
Remember that holy women don’t enjoy carnal things, so make no effort to become skillful in bed. Also, holy men only care about spiritual things, so make no effort to be physically attractive.
Do not learn his tastes; do not communicate your tastes. Remember that the whole thing is just nasty, and basically a joke on women.
CAUTION: If, through trial and error, perseverance and communication, and lots of trips to confession, you do work out how to be physical enough to communicate love, but not so physical that you’re making things worse, your affection will deepen, and your sex life will probably improve. Abstinence will become more manageable, or at least more interesting. DO NOT DO THIS.
4. Register your dissatisfaction with NFP by charting sloppily. If you resent charting and do it poorly, your confidence will be shot, your guilt/resentment quotients will increase, and the next time you are faced with a serious need to avoid pregnancy, you will likely have a nervous breakdown. Your husband will be too terrified to touch you. Voila! No pregnancy.
CAUTION: Charting conscientiously shows your husband that you’re interested in finding as many available days as possible, because you like sex, and because you like him. DO NOT DO THIS.
Simcha Fisher is a Catholic blogger, speaker, and freelance writer. She blogs for the National Catholic Register and Patheos at "I Have to Sit Down."
This is an excerpt from “The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning.” Read Simcha Fisher’s five more steps to ruining your marriage with NFP and more in this great new book.