Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale have been married 48 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

She says: 

Marge: When we got married, we both agreed that we did not want to have a family right away and decided I would take “the pill.”  Now, Brad has come to the decision that, for health and moral reasons, we should switch to Natural Family Planning (NFP); I’m not convinced NFP really works.  Everybody who uses it seems to have large families, and I definitely don’t want that!

He says: 

Brad: We had agreed to use contraception when we first got married.  But I have studied more about our faith and about the negative side effects of the pill and other injections and devices.  I see NFP as a natural way to space our children, learning about a woman’s body ecology and using that knowledge to have intercourse to become pregnant or to abstain from it to prevent conception.  Guys I have talked to who have been involved with the NFP process learn how to love their wives without genital involvement those few days a month.  They have told me that their couple communication improves and decisions are made more easily together.  I think I want that for Marge and me.

What do they do? 

Married couples are privileged to assist God in creating life. We are not creators; we share in God’s creative power. God allows married couples a unique participation in the power of creation. Consequently, married couples have a serious responsibility in making decisions that relate to the creation of new life. The method of regulating birth of children is often the first great moral decision a couple faces.  Certainly part of the decision-making process is to gain understanding and knowledge about the issues.

We commend Brad for doing the research and agree he is on the right path.  Brad appears to be comfortable with what he has discovered and Marge is not yet as certain or informed as Brad. He needs to help Marge gain a better understanding of how her body works and how the application of NFP can enhance their total love life.  Using the pill or other means of artificial birth control says, “I am all yours, EXCEPT for my fertility.  Devices and pills treat pregnancy as a disease, not as the natural outcome of a loving act.

Certainly this decision does not rest exclusively with Brad or with Marge.  It rests with both of them. Together they will discover more fully God’s plan for them.  Making any moral decision within the context of marriage strengthens the marriage and the couple. Oftentimes, couples using NFP will see children as their love enfleshed and are open to having more children than they may have originally planned, based on the deeper love they develop through NFP.

We recommend Marge and Brad do the following:

Begin to dialogue and pray with each other, asking the Holy Spirit to open their minds and hearts to this aspect of their love for each other.
Honestly express their inner-most fears and uncertainties to each other concerning this discussion.
Seek out a qualified NFP practitioner who is willing to meet with them, to answer their questions and to assist them in developing a plan that will work for both of them.

In a marriage, it is all about lifting up our partner to God, for in doing so, we become holy.  Love is not about “me” it is about “we”:  you, me and God.