Here's how I convinced my husband, in spite of the culture, friends' advice, and doubt
We had driven down First Avenue hundreds of times before, but never had it created such anxiety for each of us. As he described in a past article, he was nervous about an idea I had proposed, which he thought a bit crazy and a bit irresponsible. I was nervous because the course of our lives and the integrity of our impending marriage would be decided in the next hour of our lives. Recently, we had been to dinner at Hacienda, which happened to be a few doors down from the Holy Family Center for Life, where we were headed that day. As we had been filling ourselves with the usual baskets of chips and salsa, I had broached the subject once again. Would Natural Family Planning, rather than contraception, be the right thing for our marriage? I knew it was. He was not convinced.
The conversation wasn’t easy. Nor was it comfortable. In fact, it provoked fear for a long period of time. And periodically, after 14 years, it still does. It wasn’t that my husband and I had a shaky relationship, but even in our stability and the great unity with which we’ve been blessed, the topic of using Natural Family Planning versus artificial birth control methods was, at first, a bit of a dicey subject. I was naïve to think that all Catholics understood that contraception is not how God intended us to use our fertility, especially those, like my husband, who were brought up in faith-filled homes and attended Catholic schools. I found myself in an uncomfortable position. Not only was he questioning the use of NFP in our marriage, but I realized that I was on a pretty small island and the world was definitely not stopping to discover why I was there. Instead, the world was trying to convince me that contraception was the answer.
Medicine was telling me that using natural methods of birth control was something that applied to generations past, but not to our advanced world. Society was saying that if I would just use this great advancement in “reproductive freedom,” surely I would find contentment.
The women’s rights movement was telling me that I needed to fight for equality of the sexes and that contraception would free me from the burden of children so that I could climb the corporate ladder of success. If I wanted freedom and equality, the movement seemed to say that contraception was necessary. Then I would find contentment.
Financial experts were telling me that kids are too expensive. With the cost of college increasing at a rate of 6% per year, by 2020, attending a university for 4 years would cost $100,000-$300,000. Again, the advice seemed clear: Use contraception and I would be fiscally responsible and free; ultimately, I would find contentment.
The secular media that glamorized sex was telling me that life was about seeking pleasure. If only I used contraception, we could have the freedom of sexual pleasure any time we wanted. Then I would certainly find contentment.
My peers were telling me that it’s no big deal because the modern American dream included contraception. If only I would conform, contentment and freedom would be around the corner.
And, honestly, I was trying to convince myself that surely one of these was a valid reason to allow contraception into my life. It would certainly be an easier route to take. To start with, I wouldn’t be in this deep debate with Jimmy about whether or not it was right for us. Like most people I knew, I could walk into the doctor the next day, ask for the pill, and we would then have one less thing to worry about. We certainly did not want to get pregnant right away with my husband in a graduate program, while