Three years ago Kristina and I were really struggling with NFP. At the time we were married for six years and dealing with a surprise pregnancy, anxiety/depression, and the real life struggles of having four kids under five years old. This was after learning three different methods of NFP, having four NFP instructors, and seeing a NaPro doctor. All this took its toll on our marriage and our faith.
Our own struggles opened up conversations with many other couples in similar, and often more difficult, situations who were absolutely drowning as they attempted to follow the Church’s teaching about family planning.
All of this caused bitterness towards the Church’s teaching to grow in my heart. The Church’s teaching on contraception felt like a law imposed from on high without any grasp of the real suffering flesh and blood people were going through to try and live it out. This also led to bitterness towards God. How could he allow his Church to do this to people?
But God is always faithful. His grace kept that bitterness from overwhelming me. Particularly through our Blessed Mother and Pope Francis, the Lord broke into my life and gave me what I needed at the time I needed it to keep on with the struggle and stay in the Church.
Through this experience, the Lord purified my heart of the judgement I had often felt towards anyone who struggled with the Church’s teaching. He also lit a flame of desire to find solutions for couples who are suffering through similar things. So that’s what I did.
This article – The Sweetness of the Yoke of Christ – is the fruit of a lot of grace, personal experience, prayer, and research. Of all the things I’ve written, this one is the closest to my heart because it is part of the good that God promised he would bring from my suffering.
Please read and share it with couples who you know are struggling and with instructors and ministers who work with those couples. I believe the pastoral solutions I’ve presented can help real people in the midst of very real suffering.