Well there has been a big to do in some places about how to use NFP in a morally licit manner. Many comments say go to your spiritual director, pastor or priest. Well I know that the Catholic Church teaches NFP is the only acceptable approach to spacing children, but not all priests adhere to that. I for one was shocked when I went to the priest who was presiding over our marriage ceremony said not all couples are "mature" enough for this method. He knew we were planning on learning NFP and he still wasn't encouraging it? How can I go to that person and ask to use the method correctly?
Needless to say, my husband and I were feeling a bit lost and confused in the beginning of our marriage (mostly me - he had more confidence in our discernment process). Were are reasons just? Who could help us out if not our NFP instructors or priest? And then you read some NFP dialogue and they say "being newlyweds" is not a good enough excuse...well I'm pretty sure I used that one for a couple months. In my defense, I had never shared a bed (at least as long as I can remember) and it took me a couple months to have a full night's sleep. Plus there are so many other adjustments that correlate with "being newlywed" so in my head that just summed up all the parts.
Moving on, I thought I would write a post on my take in this debate. First of all, I think any couple mature enough to get married is mature enough to use this method. Marriage is about communication and mutual self-giving. NFP enhances both. Secondly, I agree that "just reasons" need to be discerned by the couple and will be unique to their situation. With that being said, I can't judge if any particular couple is using the method correctly but I have found myself asking a few questions as a guide.
Is my reason selfish? I say this to remind myself that I should be making the decision based on what is best for my family and future children. If it is just because I want something or don't want something, then I am not thinking about family.
Am I truly open to life? NFP is all about being open to life in that you don't artificially avoid conception but there is a difference between physically being open to life and mentally being open to life. Would I be happy if I had a baby in 9 months? This question I ask without all the qualifiers of the next and most standard question...
Can I support a new life physically, financially, spiritually and emotionally? This is the only question where I find it appropriate at times to say no. Yes I am married and my husband and I would love to have kids, but right now is not the time for us based on all the needs this new life would have. We are working toward better meeting those needs so I know I am not being selfish and I would lovingly accept a child if God gave us that gift right now. However, lovingly accepting the Church's teaching on NFP does not mean we all have to race to see how many children we can have as soon as possible.