Have you ever noticed how NFP (Natural Family Planning for the uninitiated) is marketed? It’s sold with glossy photos of couples holding hands and dancing in flower-filled meadows, their faces plastered with blissful grins.
It will make you so much more intimate! It will change your life! You’ll never be so in love as when you chart your spouse’s cycles! So they said.
Well the truth is, NFP stinks.
And while hate may be too strong a word, NFP is anything but blissful. It’s abstinence. In marriage! To be perfectly real and honest, NFP has not lead to blissful meadow-dancing, but rather to hurt feelings, grumpiness, pouting, and temper tantrums (Don’t worry, I’ve gone to confession.).
But that said, it is probably the best thing for me, and I’ll tell you why.
Hidden Love…
I need NFP because it reveals a hidden love affair competing for the love I have for my wife. It’s called self-love.
Put another way, I hate NFP because there is still so much selfishness and immaturity in my heart, and marital abstinence brings it to the surface in all its ugliness.
When I was first preparing for marriage, I had read countless marriage books and articles on how to be a great husband. “I’m going to be the best husband ever,” I thought smugly. “I’ve got this down.”  And then I got married. In no time at all, that marriage advice that once seemed so clear and simple evaporated. I quickly realized I was nothing more than a selfish jerk. Impatient, rude, demanding, and insensitive. Boy did I have to get over myself fast.
The truth is, though, loving my wife has gotten easier the longer I’ve been married. What used to be a struggle has become natural. There are times when I really think that I am doing well and growing—and perhaps, by God’s grace, I