‘Every couple should take NFP’

Tim Roder doesn’t mince words when he talks about the benefits of learning natural family planning.

“Every couple should take NFP. Every couple should just take it,” said Roder, who is the director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family. “Everybody should have a basic knowledge of their fertility.”

Couples preparing for marriage in the Diocese of Peoria have two options when it comes to discussing their sexuality within the context of a Christian marriage and learning natural family planning is one of them. The other option is for couples to take a daylong Christian Sexuality Workshop, which includes an introduction to natural family planning.

A vast majority of the couples opt to take the Christian Sexuality Workshop and it is a fine program, Roder told The Catholic Post, but there is only so much that can be covered in one day.

When couples learn one of the three NFP methods that are available in the diocese, it gives them something they can use for the rest of their lives, according to Roder.

“NFP is first and foremost a science. It’s based on anatomy and physiology — how the body works,” he explained. “Fertility awareness is just that. It’s understanding how the body works, particularly the reproductive system, which was designed by God, and how to respect it and not work against it.”

Another benefit of natural family planning is that it has the ability to improve communication between a husband and wife because it requires them to talk and make decisions every month, Roder said. He added that it improves physical communication too when partners aren’t holding anything back from one another.

People in a contracepting culture may not understand this, he said, but Pope John Paul II put it very simply in his teaching known as the theology of the body.

“He said it was the difference between loving one another and using one another,” Roder told The Post.

The diocese promotes all methods of natural family planning, which are based on established scientific techniques.

“We’re not pitting them against each other. It’s good to have a variety of methods,” Roder said. “The choice between them comes down to preference.”

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