Birth Control

Decisions about birth control are very personal and private... they can also be confusing, especially for the Christian couple who is concerned about God's plans for their family. This information is designed to help you understand the various contraceptive choices you have, and give you some insight into how these choices may or may not line up with scripture...

Definitions

Before discussing the various types of birth control that are available, it would be helpful to know what certain terms relating to conception mean.

In 1965 the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) published a terminology bulletin that is still in use today. Here are the terms and definitions that doctors use to define pregnancy:

"Fertilization is the union of spermatozoan and ovum (sperm and egg)."

"Conception is the implantation of a fertilized ovum."

"Pregnancy is the state from conception to expulsion of the products of that conception."

It is important to keep these definitions in mind when choosing a form of birth control, especially if you believe that life begins from the moment of fertilization, not implantation (which usually takes place 7-10 days later). Some contraceptives work  primarily by inhibiting "conception," not "fertilization."

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Method of Birth Control

The Pill, Norplant, Depo Provera and The IUD

These are the most commonly prescribed forms of birth control, the Pill being the most common. It is estimated that more than ten million women in the United States are on the Pill (or another hormonal based contraceptive), and nearly sixty million women worldwide have IUDs.

The IUD does little or nothing to interfere with sperm migration or fertilization. It achieves its birth control effect primarily by preventing the newly "fertilized" human life from implanting in the uterine lining. The IUD has been linked to a number of serious health complications, including hemorrhage, pelvic inflammatory disease, and perforation of the uterus. These conditions may lead to sterility. 1

The Pill is an oral drug consisting of synthetic hormones.
There are two kinds of birth control Pills, the "combined Pill," containing both estrogen and progestin, and a progestin-only Pill sometimes called the "mini-pill."

The Typical Pill Works in Three Ways

  1. It generally suppresses ovulation.
  2. It tends to thicken the cervical mucus to make sperm migration more difficult.
  3. It affects the inner lining of the uterus - the endometrium - to make it hostile to conception (implantation).

The question is: how often does the Pill achieve its birth control effectiveness by preventing implantation? This depends upon how often "breakthrough ovulation" occurs, and then upon how often fertilization follows.

Unfortunately, there is no precise way of determining when the Pill is working by preventing ovulation and when it is not. If it is going to be used as the primary form of birth control you must understand that there is always a possibility that the Pill may prevent pregnancy by causing an early, chemical abortion. If that is not acceptable to you then you should consider another method of contraception.

The Pill also has potential physical side-effects that should be considered when making this decision. Oral contraceptives may increase the tendency to develop strokes and heart disease, particularly in smokers on the Pill. Other side effects may include headaches, depression, and weight gain. 3

The Transdermal Delivery System, Mirena LNG, Nuva Ring, DepoProvera, and Lunelle, are relatively new birth control options on the American market, although they have been used extensively in other countries. They work in much the same way as the Pill, and should be avoided if you are concerned about their abortifacient properties. The physical side effects are similar to those of the Pill - many women also complain of excessive hair loss when using DepoProvera. Many women should not use any form of hormonal birth control, especially those who have a history or blood clots in the legs, lungs or eyes, chest pain, high blood pressure, diabetes with complications of the kidneys, eyes, nerves or blood vessels, undiagnosed abnormal uterine bleeding, history of heart attack or stroke, headache with neurological symptoms, liver tumors or active liver disease, or suspected or known pregnancy.

What's Left?

There are a number of options available. There are "barrier" methods, as well as "natural family planning" methods.

A "barrier" method uses a product that prevents sperm from reaching an ovum. It does not interfere with your body's hormonal system in any way. There are a variety of "barrier methods" available, including the condom, diaphragm and cervical cap. They can be used alone, but are most often used with spermicidal foams or jellies to enhance their contraceptive effectiveness.

There are some potential side effects with these methods, especially when used with spermicides. Some people are allergic to the chemicals used in making these contraceptive compounds.

New research also indicates that women who are not exposed to their husband's sperm before the conception of their first child are at a greater risk of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy. There is strong evidence that the father's semen prepares the woman's immune system to somehow "recognize" the baby and exempt it from attack as a foreign object.4  (Preeclampsia is a condition that can cause serious complications.  For mothers, symptoms include elevated blood pressure, protein loss in the urine and water retention.  Babies can suffer intrauterine growth retardation, as well as death either before or shortly after delivery.)

"Natural family planning" is the last, impermanent birth control method available.  It is very effective when practiced consistently.  It involves learning the signs of fertility the female body exhibits before, during and immediately after ovulation, and requires that the couple abstain from sexual intercourse during that fertile time. 

Sterilization

The most drastic and permanent form of birth control involves surgery to remove or alter the female or male anatomy so that conception is no longer possible. For the man, it entails removing segments of his "vas deferens," which will prevent sperm from leaving the testes. This is known as a "vasectomy." When a woman has a "tubal ligation" portions of her fallopian tubes are removed, thus inhibiting sperm from reaching the ovum. Both of these procedures are fairly simple and usually do not cause serious complications. They should also not interfere with normal sexual function.

While there has been improvement in the techniques used to reverse these procedures when a couple changes their mind about their fertility, there is no guarantee that a reversal would be possible in your individual case. These procedures should be considered permanent, and should only be performed when you and your partner are sure that this is what you both want to do.

A new permanent procedure known as Essure was approved by the FDA in 2002. It has just completed a third round of clinical trials in the United States, and is already commercially available in Australia. According the Dr. Charles Carignan, Vice President for Research and Medical Affairs with its developer, Conceptus, a woman could undergo an Essure procedure under local anesthesia in her doctor’s examination room, and be out of the door in less than an hour.

Essure works like this: using a camera-equipped hysteroscope (an instrument that allows the doctor to visualize the inside of the woman’s uterus), a catheter loaded with a tiny polyester-swathed coil is inserted into the vagina, past the cervix and into a fallopian tube. The doctor presses a button on the device’s handle to release the micro-coil, which is kept in place by an outer coil resembling a ballpoint pen spring. The average procedure time is 35 minutes.

During the three months after the procedure, the micro-insert works with the woman’s body to form a tissue barrier that prevents sperm from reaching the egg. The micro-inserts do not contain or release hormones and are made with the same materials used in other medical products for many years (for example, these materials have been used in blood vessel grafts, heart valve replacements, and abdominal repair).

For the first three months following the insertion of Essure, another form of contraception must be used. After three months, the woman must undergo a hysterosalpingogram, to determine whether or not the tissue barrier is complete.

The manufacturers of Essure say that the woman may experience cramps, discharge, mild nausea or vomiting and fainting or light-headedness following the procedure. Major risks include becoming pregnant several years after undergoing the procedure, ectopic pregnancy, and hypervolemia (although there were no reported cases of hypervolemia in the Essure clinical trials, they list it as a possible risk).

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Birth Control and the Bible

Trusting God for His Perfect Plan for Our Lives
Going Against The Flow

Modern culture continually bombards Christians with certain ideals in the area of sexuality within marriage, as well as family size and timing. It's accepted - and expected - that a newlywed couple will use birth control for at least two years before having their first child - and that they will stop having children after two. The world - including the Evangelical world - believes that this is "responsible." But is this the way God's people should think? Have we adopted the world's mind set in this area of our lives? Do our beliefs, attitudes and choices look any different than those of the world's? Should they look any different? Isn't the Bible silent on birth control?

While the Bible is "silent" on birth control - there isn't a commandment that says "Thou shall not use birth control" - neither is there a commandment forbidding abortion, yet we can clearly see in scripture the case against it. In the same way, we can see God's heart on birth control if we're willing to look. We need to understand His heart on human life, the value of children, His purpose for sex, and the role of faith in every area of our lives.

"In His Image"

 
"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.'"
Genesis 1:26, 27

Genesis states that human life is created in "God's own image." That's what sets us apart from the rest of His creation - only men and women are "stamped" or "imprinted" with His image and nature. It also states that He created us "male and female." There's something about how He created the male that uniquely bears the image of God - and there's something about how He created the female that uniquely bears His image, too.  There are obvious physical differences that we cannot ignore - but there are other differences that are more easily rejected or suppressed - consciously or subconsciously - and by doing so, the "image of God" in that man or woman is also being rejected or suppressed. When it comes to matters of hormonal methods of birth control, this is most definitely true for women. Men were created by God to have a steady supply and flow of hormones that control his sexual health/life. From puberty until death, a man's levels of FHS, LH and testosterone remain constant - they remain the same from day to day. In contrast, a woman's hormones are changing daily - they ebb and flow - come and go - all in a finely tuned hormonal "symphony" that controls her fertility. That's how God made her! When a woman is using a hormonal method of birth control her hormones "flat line" - like a male's. Is it possible that the very thing that makes her uniquely "created in His image" has been tampered with?

Is it really any wonder that women who use hormonal birth control notice a significant change in their moods and emotions - as well as in their libido? Shouldn't we embrace the differences that God has built into men and women, instead of trying to suppress them?

“God created them male and female - in the image of God He created them...”

“Be Fruitful and Multiply…”

 
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”
Genesis 1:28

“This, the first directive that God gave to mankind, has never been rescinded. The rest of the verse instructs man to replenish (fill) the earth and subdue (tread down, conquer) it. The increase of a population is a two-fold blessing. Proverbs 14:28 tells us that “In a multitude of people is a king’s honor, but in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince.” Society as a whole, benefits economically by adding more members to it. New people have new ideas and invent ways to do things more efficiently and cost effectively. God has blessed everyone, even those who do not know Him, with different gifts and talents and abilities to bless others and function in a larger body of society. When Christians multiply, they are raising up children to know Jesus and function in the Body of Christ, blessing others with their individual gifts and talents to further the Kingdom of God. There are many verses where God bestows a blessing upon His people by promising them an increase in numbers and fertility and likewise a cursing for disobedience by taking away their fertility.”*

 
Deuteronomy: 7:12-16 "Where it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgements, and keep, and do them, that...He will love thee and bless thee, and multiply thee: He will also bless the fruit of thy womb....Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you...." See also: Deuteronomy 28:1-6, 30:5, 9, Jeremiah 30:19, Hosea 9:11-17.

They Shall Become “One Flesh”

 
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Genesis 2:24

Sexual intimacy allows husband and wife to experience a “oneness” that cannot be experienced in any other way. It is a beautiful expression of love, and is a gift of God for marriage. Over the years Evangelical Christians have moved away from the original perspective of the gift of sexuality - our views on sex within marriage differ very little from those outside the church. This has not always been the case. Historically, sexual intimacy was viewed as a three dimensional act - physical, procreative and spiritual.

 
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain...” Genesis 4: 1
“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth...” Genesis 4: 25
“But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15

The act of “knowing” a spouse resulted in conception - it wasn’t just a physical act for pleasure’s sake. We’re not discounting the pleasure that comes with sexual intimacy. That is a gift from God to husbands and wives, and we believe that it was His intent that it be pleasurable. He created us - male and female - with all the nerve endings that make sex an incredible experience. BUT - He didn’t create sex solely for pleasure - it was part of His divine design, but not the complete design. We’re also not saying that sexual intimacy should be reserved only for procreation (which the Gnostics did) - but it was and is part of His design. Why? Because “God desires godly offspring.” And - what could be the fullest expression of “becoming one” than the co-mingling of genetic material that occurs at conception, resulting in the creation of a new human life?

 
“‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Ephesians 5: 31,32

This verse in Ephesians teaches us that sexual union is a “mysterious” representation of the union of Christ and His church. If that is true, where does contraception fit into that picture? Would Jesus do anything that would prevent complete union with His Bride? Would He do anything - or ask the Bride to do anything -that would prevent that union from bearing fruit?

 
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:2

In 1930, when the Anglican Church stepped away from thousands of years of teaching against “pagan” methods of birth control, and opened the door for married couples to use condoms, sexual intimacy became simply a physical act. The result of their decision should be clear to everyone - extramarital affairs increased, divorce rates soared, and the “need” for abortion as a back up to failed birth control brought what was once considered a crime into the mainstream.

Are Children a Blessing - or a Curse?

Most Christians would answer “a blessing.” By this they often mean that the children they “wanted” or “planned” for are blessings. But what if God chooses to bless them with another family member? Would they be happy with God’s gift? Usually not - especially if this child wasn’t “planned.” The majority of the church has openly embraced birth control, even though it’s very name clearly implies that someone else is in control other than God. Their bodies, destiny, family size, timing and structure have never been turned over to God. Birth control says to God - “I can’t/won’t trust you with my fertility. I am choosing to be in control of this area of my life. You can be Lord over everything else - but not this.” (Granted, most Christians don’t consciously think this when they choose birth control - but their “actions speak louder than words!”)

Ask yourself this question - and be honest - when you see a large family (three or more children), what do you think? Do you think, “My, they have so many blessings! What a beautiful family!” Or - do you think -or say - “Don’t they know what causes pregnancy? Don’t they know about birth control? When are they going to stop!?” When someone tells you that they’re expecting, do you ask them if it was “planned” - or an “accident?” When someone using Natural Family Planning becomes pregnant, do you immediately assume that the method “failed.”

If we believe that children are ALWAYS a gift from God, do your thoughts and attitudes reflect His heart?

What Does God Say about Children and Who Creates Life

 
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate."
Psalm 127:3-5

 
"Then He (Jesus) said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent me. For he who is least among you all- he is the greatest."
Luke 9:48.

 
"All these were the sons of Hemen the king’s seer in the words of God, to exalt his horn. For God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters."
1 Chronicles 25:5.

 
"Obed-edom had eight sons "for God blessed him."
1 Chronicles 26:4-5.

 
"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:"
Colossians 1:16

 
"Did not He that made me in the womb make him? And did not One fashion us in the womb?"
Job 31:15.

 
"As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all."
Ecclesiastes 11:5.

 
"Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion."
Isaiah 8:18.

 
"Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself;"
Isaiah 44:24

Leviticus 15

Another interesting scripture to consider is found in Leviticus 15 -

 
“If a woman has a discharge and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. ...When she is cleansed from her discharge, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take for herself two turtle-doves or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle or meeting...and the priest shall make atonement for her before the LORD for the discharge of her uncleanness.”
Leviticus 15:19,28-30

This section of verses deal with a woman’s menstruation - or any discharge of blood. She is considered to be “unclean” for the seven days of bleeding - then she counts off an additional 7 days. On the following day she goes to the priest for atonement - 15 days after she started bleeding. For most women, that’s exactly at the time of ovulation - the only fertile time in a woman’s cycle! God set up the guidelines for sexual intimacy so that a husband and wife would be able to resume intercourse at exactly the time when conception could occur!

(Verses 25-27 discuss a woman who has a blood discharge that is beyond the normal seven days. There are those who argue that verses 28-30 only apply to that situation. However, historically - and to this day -Orthodox Jews stringently follow these guidelines without distinguishing between menstrual bleeding or bleeding from other causes, and as a result, tend to have large families. It’s interesting to note that Muslims also follow these same guidelines, and also have large families, which is causing a demographic “shift” in many areas of the world where Islam has taken root.)

 
Another common argument against these verses being applied to Evangelicals is that they are “Old Testament” - they “don’t apply to Christians.” While it is true that we do not live “under the law,” can we really ignore the Old Testament because it makes us uncomfortable? Doesn’t the New Testament say that the Old Testament is a “shadow” of things to come (Hebrews 10:1)?

 
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16,17

 
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Matthew 5: 17,18

“But Didn’t God Gave Us ‘Common Sense?’”

“Couples can read these (and more) verses and agree that it is God who is the Creator of all Life. When asked, however, if they think God alone should ultimately be in control of the number and spacing of their children, their reply is often negative. “God gave us common sense, after all,” or “God gave me a brain and He expects me to use it,” are typical responses. But the Bible does not say that God expects - or wants - us to use our own logic or “common sense” - it actually says quite the opposite.”*

 
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

 
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.”
Proverbs 14:12

So if we cannot trust in ourselves to make the right decision in this matter, whom can we trust?

 
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5.

 
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Isaiah 29:14.

“Where is the wise? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?…Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men…But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things that are mighty…that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:20, 25, 27, 31.

Does the Bible actually say anywhere that Christian couples are supposed to be exercising control over the number and spacing of their children? Many have never even thought to look and see, and have just gone along with the world’s wisdom without a second thought on the matter.

Aren’t We Supposed to Walk by Faith?

“The largest stumbling block is usually, “What about the money to feed and raise a lot of children?”  That sounds right, doesn’t it? The verse typically used to support this is, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8. Let’s take a look to see what this verse is sandwiched between. Verses 3-16 are all dealing with how widows should be treated. Verse 8 is not referring to a man providing for his family at all. It is instructing children of a widow to stay at home to care for her rather than turning her over to the care of the church. It could still be inferred that a man should provide for his household, especially since Paul also says

 
“if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10.

So, has God given directives to husbands to take control of their family size based on their own perception of finances and provisions? No! Jesus said,

 
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ Or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles (non-believers) seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 6:31-34.

The passages before these verses show the Lord teaching His disciples that our Father knows our needs and that we need to be concerning ourselves with the things of God rather than the things of money, food, and clothes. We cannot serve both God and mammon. In Matthew 7, Jesus continues to exhort them that we only need to ask and seek and that our Father is faithful to give good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:7-11).”* Here are some more verses concerning God’s provisions for His children as opposed to man’s worries over the future:

 
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.”
Psalm 34:8-10.

 
"O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life. You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children."
Psalms 17:14

 
"I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
Psalms 37:25

 
"Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity, and sorrow; he who pours contempt on nobles made them wander in a trackless waste. But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths."
Psalm 107:39-42.

 
“For we walk by faith, and not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

 
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:1,6

Faith says, “God, I don’t know how we’ll take care of more children, but we’re willing to trust You for the resources we’ll need.” That’s quite different than someone who, by using birth control, says, “God I know we can’t take care of more children, and I’m not willing to trust You to provide. We can only handle one or two children. You might make a mistake and give us one child too many, so I’m going to take care of it myself.”

“But I Don’t Have Enough Time to Care for Any More!”

“God never promised any of us enough time to do all the things we want to do. Whether it be with our children or any other pursuits in our lives. We tend to live our life making our own plans and asking God to bless them as an afterthought. In our own strength we will never have enough time, or patience for that matter, to deal with our children, be it two or ten. But Jesus has patience and we get our strength from Him. Sometimes we also tend to become tunnel-visioned on meeting our children’s every whim under the guise of “needs” and feeling guilty if we cannot. We all desire to give each child our very best and plenty of time and love. But we have to face the reality that we cannot physically or mentally be all that they need. Only God can do that.”*

What’s the Difference Between Natural Family Planning (NFP) and Using Birth Control?

Couples who are using NFP to postpone pregnancy are doing so with the understanding - and willingness to accept - that God is ultimately in control of how many children they have. They do not use NFP like someone who is using the Pill or condoms - with the mind-set that they are in control. Should a pregnancy occur, the child is seen as an unexpected blessing from God - rather than a “mistake” or an “accident” - or worse still - something that needs to be “fixed” through abortion (and yes, married Christians do choose abortion, often when contraception has failed).

Couples using NFP are also cooperating with how God created them - the husband understands his wife’s cycle and is able to “live with her in understanding (1 Peter 3:7)” - they are not using drugs that can cause lasting physical harm, or devices that block the ability to fully “become one.” NFP couples seek God on issues relating to their family size on a monthly basis - they are always open to hearing from Him about His plans for their family. They treat fertility as a gift - not a disease that needs to be treated.

Couples using NFP exercise “self-control” (which is a fruit of the Spirit) - instead of using birth control. NFP couples know that they were created with the ability to choose - they are not driven by uncontrollable physical urges that must be suppressed through medication, or removed through surgery. Men and women weren’t created like dogs and cats who need to be “fixed” to control their drive to reproduce. They can willingly give up sexual intimacy for a few days each month if they have chosen to postpone pregnancy.

And there are benefits to these differences that go beyond the physical - divorce rates among NFP users are less than 5%! Since sexual intimacy isn’t available “whenever,” these couples spend a lot of time “keeping the romance alive” in their relationships - they take the time to learn how to express love to their mate in non-sexual ways. When the couple is able to be intimate, the sexual act is complete - they don’t have to worry or think about anything but enjoying the moment. Since they can’t always have “make-up sex,” they actually have to talk through the conflicts in their relationship. All of these things strengthen marriage! And that’s always good!

Couples choosing to use NFP see a positive impact on their children. As sons and daughters witness their mothers and fathers practicing a life of purity within their marriage, it sets an example for their children to follow. When sons see their fathers willingly giving up sexual intimacy so that their mothers don’t have to suffer the physical affects of birth control - they are more likely to see women as a person who deserves to be protected and cherished. When sons see their fathers choosing to give up sexual intimacy for a few days each month, they learn that they, too, can exercise self-control with their sexuality. When sons and daughters see sex as something that’s more than just a physical act, they come to value and protect their own fertility and sexuality.

And yes, couples using NFP tend to have larger families than those who contracept - but perhaps not for the reasons you might think. It’s not that their method “failed.” It’s that with each child who comes into their family, their hearts expand with love and grace, and they see them as incredible gifts, not just to their family, but to the world, and ultimately, to God. They come to realize that their ONLY “possession” with eternal value is their children! Their cars - their homes - their bank accounts - all of their earthly possessions - will burn. But a child is eternal, and is immeasurably valuable to God. They have chosen to put their “investment” into an eternal Kingdom!

(Credit goes to Quiver Full Ministry for some of the content of this article - designated by an *)

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