Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NFP Awareness Week: "Use NFP: It Doesn't Work!"

Probably one of the funniest, most honest, and most refreshing articles on NFP ever written was authored by Harry Crocker III in 2009 – you can read the whole thing here, and I highly recommend that you do so. Mr. Crocker suggests that NFP promoters need a new slogan, and he suggests this one:
Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!
Read the article to see what he is talking about, but allow me to share a few tidbits of truth here, excerpted from Mr. Crocker’s piece. He mentions, for instance, the proper attitude toward marriage and child-rearing:
Rather than bite one's nails to the quick at the prospect of baby number ten – which, if one marries in one's early 20s and practices NFP, is a definite possibility – we should encourage the attitude of the more the merrier, which is a far more attractive case to make than all the goo-goo language about how NFP helps couples "communicate" and about the joy of charting temperatures and discharges and plotting one's conjugal acts as a captain might chart a course for his ship.
And, indeed, he presents what probably a lot of men (and perhaps a few women as well!) think about the prospect of “better communication” and “intimate conversation” that is allegedly common amongst NFP couples:
Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, the charts can be thrown away (what's so "natural" about them?). And to hell with improving "communication" as a dogmatic defense of NFP. For men, the whole point of marriage is to avoid communicating; all that dating conversation stuff can finally be foregone. Married communication, as successful husbands know, is best limited to grunts and hand signals – one upraised finger meaning, "I need a beer"; two upraised fingers meaning, "You need to change the brat's diapers"; three upraised fingers meaning, "Honey, why don't you mow the lawn while I watch football?," and so on. No words are more doom-laden than a wife's sitting down and saying, "Let's talk." Communication is, of course, the first step toward divorce.
I particularly enjoyed his ideas for premarital counseling:
So rather than focusing on NFP, premarital preparation should go like this: 
Father O'Counselor: "Now I want you two to understand that the primary and fundamental purpose of marriage is not companionship, not romantic love, not moonlit strolls on the beach, or any other balderdash but the begetting and raising of children – lots of 'em, and starting soon. The optimum number is enough so that you can lose a few at the grocery store and not notice. That's giving without counting the cost, and at that point, you won't care anyway. As a priest, my sacrifice for the good of the Church is celibacy. As a married couple, yours is to propagate children – who will incidentally annually propagate fierce storms of influenza in your house. If you haven't already studied up on communicable diseases and basic first aid for children jumping off sofas, I'd do it now. But you will find children and their challenges to be the great tutor of not only the medical but the moral virtues."
Potential Husband: "You mean, I'm screwed?"
Father O'Counselor: "In a manner of speaking, yes."
Potential Husband: "Is it too late to enroll in the seminary?" 
We can thus improve Catholic marriages and alleviate the priest shortage at the same time.
Go, read the article, and have a good chuckle. And hope that someday we can return to the sane and sensible approach to marriage that Mr. Crocker describes.

1 comment:

  1. I love this article.Reminds me of my favorite author on the subject - G.K. Chesterton. My husband and I like to refer to "openness to life" as "Living Dangerously".


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