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Natural Family Planning (NFP) is now simpler to understand, easier to practice and still 99 percent effective in regulating conception. It also follows God’s plan for the human body.
Family life research has shown that practicing NFP strengthens a couple’s faith, hope and love in their marriage by enhancing communication, respect and intimacy.
The Couple to Couple League International, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, recently published a new NFP curriculum described as “an extreme makeover” to help married couples follow Church teachings on sexuality and family planning.
“The Art of Natural Family Planning” features new program materials that are “animated by modern technology,” CCL publications director Ann Gundlach explained, “and a more personal approach based on the timeless theology of [the late] Pope John Paul II.”
CCL executive director Andy Alderson said the new NFP program materials represent three years of work and include an instructional DVD embedded with video clips of a priest and physician discussing the late pope’s teachings on the “Theology of the Body” and instructions on the method as well as computer animation of ovulation and implantation.
The workbook is printed in color with lots of graphics that help NFP facilitators teach engaged and married couples in fewer class sessions.
“Because the new materials simplify the science of the Sympto-Thermal Method, they make room for greater emphasis on another important element—NFP’s rich marital benefits,” Gundlach noted. “That altered emphasis is reflected in the line added to CCL’s slogan—‘NFP: safe, healthy and effective … and it can change your hearts in surprising ways.’ ”
NFP materials promote “knowledge of fertility in order to achieve or avoid pregnancy through the Sympto-Thermal Method,” Gundlach said, and also focus on responsible parenthood as “the virtuous application of this knowledge by couples who model dignity, respect and love for each other” in their marriage.
NFP teaching couple Mike and Ann Green of Carmel, Ind., who are now members of St. Alphonsus Parish in Zionsville, Ind., have practiced Natural Family Planning since they were married on April 26, 1997. They also felt called to teach NFP classes.
“Respect for the dignity of the human body is a key component of NFP because the body is created in the image and likeness of God,” Mike Green explained. “Once couples start to see how beautifully the body is designed, they … learn virtue and respect for their spouse. As a married couple, we give ourselves as gift to each other.”
Practicing Natural Family Planning offers health benefits, Ann Green said, as well as relationship benefits.
“We knew that artificial contraception wasn’t right,” she said, “and we were so excited to learn about NFP. We took the [Church’s] Pre Cana [marriage preparation] class and sponsor couple program before we were engaged, and our sponsor couple witnessed to us about how wonderful NFP has been for their marriage.”
Aside from their desire to follow God’s will by observing Church teachings, both Mike and Ann Green are engineers and were intrigued about the science of this very effective natural method of spacing children in marriage.
“We came to the understanding that NFP is a renewal of the marriage covenant,” she said. “It left us open to children and changed our hearts in surprising ways. We started to pray the family rosary and go to daily Mass. NFP is such a key component of our lives, and we want to share it with other couples.” †