Sunday, May 1, 2016

THE SPECIAL NOT-SO-SECRET SAUCE

The tenth way to divorce-proof your marriage, and the one that is probably least known in the world at large can be compared to a special sauce that not only enhances the marriage as a whole, but becomes an intimate part of it and brings it to its perfection as the way God intended it in the beginning.

God created man in his image;
           in the divine image he created him;
           male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it."                                                                                                        --Genesis 1:27-28

In 1979, Pope John Paul began his extensive series of audiences which ultimately formed the Theology of the Body
and became one of the richest contributions to the theology of marriage.  Fr. Chuck Gallagher, the founder of Worldwide Marriage Encounter, brought many of these insights into the Weekend.  

We live in a conflicted world, where contraception is seen as the norm, but organic food, fabrics and other items are often valued.  The list of possible side effects of contraceptives printed by the companies who are enriching themselves producing them are truly daunting, but there is another path that is narrower and somewhat overgrown for those who would like to space their children or postpone pregnancy for a serious reason.  Natural Family Planning (which is NOT the much derided "rhythm method") is truly organic, includes many different approaches from the low tech taught by Mother Teresa to illiterate couples to high tech ovulation monitors which can predict days when a woman is fertile. Some of the studies indicate a divorce rate of only about 3% for couples who use Natural Family Planning. (See lifeissues.net and look for the article on The Practice of Natural Family Planning Versus the Use of Artificial Birth Control.)

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a method of approaching fertility that requires the cooperation of both husband and wife, encourages their communication, and strengthens their love for one another as a self-giving act of the will, not a "feeling" which can change from day to day. This whole approach helps the husband and wife see that they are responsible to choose to love their spouse and are not at the mercy of feelings--spontaneous inner reactions that can pass across our internal landscape as quickly as clouds drift by or rush across the sky.  NFP is more conducive to a lifetime commitment to the marriage, and this provides security and stability both to the couple and to the children that are the fruit of their marriage.

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