Let’s Hear It From the Husbands
It’s fair to say that using Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABMs) to achieve or avoid a pregnancy will change your sex life. A couple effectively using a FABM (such as the Sympto-thermal Method, Creighton, Billings Ovulation Method, or Marquette) needs to be in constant communication with each other about their plans for a family and to have a plan for handling fertile periods of abstinence. When faced with the sacrifices FABMs require, some wonder, why bother?
We asked men who use Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (also known as Natural Family Planning, or NFP) with their wives why they chose this lifestyle. Some were hesitant at first, but all have come to better appreciate their wives—and their marriages—in the process.
Set the Record Straight
One man said, “The first time I heard about NFP, it was in a high school health class, where we were told it was unreliable and ineffective. Based on that, my first thoughts were that it . . . didn’t really work.” When he learned the facts about NFP, specifically the “high perfect and typical use effectiveness rates for modern methods,” as well as “the potential side-effects of hormonal contraceptives,” he changed his mind. Now, he says, using NFP has “helped me to avoid objectifying my wife.” He also notes that, “divorce rates among couples that use NFP are significantly below that of couples who contracept. It’s a good investment in your marriage!”
Respect Her Body
Another man says he has always been in favor of NFP because, “it respects the woman’s body” and it’s “also medically safer.” “Our relationship is not just about sex,” he says. “It’s all about finding ways to give her affection, so it has made me make greater effort in trying to identify how I could show affection.”
A similar reply came from another respondent, who says he’s never understood how “most people are so selective with organic/no modification, etc. [foods] and yet willing to take drugs to fake your wife’s body into thinking it’s pregnant.” He appreciates how NFP has allowed him “some (albeit small) better understanding of what she goes through in her cycle, [which] can bring [us] both closer together.” He says using NFP means that he and his wife can “be more intentional and meaningful [in their] conjugal relations as a couple.”
Trust Can Go a Long Way
For one man, initially, it was “odd not doing ‘everything possible’ (i.e. using a form of contraception) to avoid a pregnancy if you’re not ready to have a child.” However, he also recognized the potential dangers of birth control, specifically the connection between blood clots and oral contraceptives. Ultimately, the trust this man had in his wife was stronger than his doubts. He encourages other men to consider that element of their relationship. “You married her, which means a lot of things, but it especially means that she’s your best friend and you trust her no matter what. So trust her.”
There are ample resources available to help couples make a decision about which FABM is right for them, the most powerful being their ability to learn it from a trained instructor, who can help work through doubts and provide information to answer common hesitations.
As more and more women turn away from hormonal birth control and toward natural methods of tracking their cycles, the conversation about FABMs is becoming more and more relevant—and not just as a women’s issue. How we, as a society, achieve and avoid pregnancy affects everyone. It’s important that men are part of the conversation, too.