For the good of the marriage: NFP or contraception?

More JOY & LOVE with less things this Christmas
December 8, 2020
Connell simply served his Church and country
December 8, 2020

For the good of the marriage: NFP or contraception?

African couple having relationship problems, Cape Town, South Africa

In Marriage Preparation classes many times it crosses one’s mind, what is the difference between using contraception and using Natural Fertility Regulation (NFR) if the married couple is trying to avoid pregnancy temporarily or indefinitely?

There are many who are now aware of the Church’s teachings on regulating births and realise that there should be a serious reason for postponing pregnancy such as lack of finances, illness, spacing children 2–3 years apart for the wellbeing of the children and the parents and so on.

When couples have legitimate reasons to delay or avoid pregnancy, why not use the contraceptive though, as the good intentions of the couple are evident!

A article titled ‘What’s the big difference between NFP and contraception?’ noted “the good intent of a couple is not sufficient to determine the morality of their act. For example, if two women wanted to avoid becoming overweight, one might go on a diet, and the other might binge and purge (bulimia). Both may stay slim, but one exercises the virtue of temperance, while the other succumbs to gluttony and unnatural, unhealthy behaviour. Similarly, the Church’s condemnation of contraception does not imply that the couple has bad intentions but that they are using a means that are immoral.”

The article continued, “Married couples are free to have intercourse (or to agree to abstain from it) on any given day, regardless of the wife’s fertility. But when they do join as one flesh, they must not frustrate the purpose God designed that act to have. It is God alone who has the power to create an immortal soul as a result of the marital act, and to contracept is to say that God’s presence is not desired. Clearly then, a couple abstaining from sex for a just reason cannot be compared to a couple who sterilise their acts of lovemaking in order to enjoy the pleasure of the marital act apart from God’s design.”

The Catholic Church over the centuries has supported the growth of science and encourages the use of artificial products and technology for the benefit of humankind to “heal dysfunction and promote the proper functioning of the body as God designed it”.

The reason the Church denounces contraception is not because it is artificial, the article explained, but because contraception does the opposite: it prevents the natural functioning of the body.

A couple who regulates fertility using Natural Family Planning (NFP) “respects the way God ordained conception to occur.” Natural methods do not “interrupt or sterilize an act of intercourse” but works with “the way God has designed fertility”.

It must also be noted here that “some birth control methods work by causing abortions. For example, the birth control pill, the morning-after pill, the patch, the intrauterine device (IUD), and Depo-Provera (the shot) sometimes work by preventing a newly conceived child from attaching to the uterus. This causes a first trimester abortion to occur—without the mother even knowing it.”

Further, “All contraceptives have potential adverse side effects, most of which affect the woman…these may include a heightened risk of breast cancer, a greater risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, fatal blood clots, increased fetal abnormalities, and toxic shock syndrome.”

The Billings Ovulation Method is offered in Marriage Preparation classes for the good of the couple’s relationship. “In one study there were zero divorces out of fourteen hundred NFP couples.” In T&T, the divorce rate is between 30 and 40 per cent.

“The striking correlation between NFP and strong marriages is an important indication of the close relationship between NFP and the way God designed marriage and sex to work.”

NFP can be abused, however. “Because NFP is so effective in regulating births, a couple could take on a contraceptive mentality and close themselves off from the gift of life. Therefore, it must be practiced responsibly and only when there is just reason to do so….When we consider the positive impact of NFP on a marriage and the potential dangers of contraception, the most loving option becomes obvious.”


Contact BOMA-TT: 384-1659, email:, website: