NFP Confessional: That Time I Held Our Chart Hostage


Learning about our abilities is empowering. This is one of the reasons why those of us who promote Natural Family Planning spend a lot of energy celebrating how NFP teaches us the beautiful details about our bodies’ strengths.

But NFP also teaches us the far-from beautiful details about our weaknesses. Yesterday, using NFP taught me just how mean I can be to my husband. Ouch.

I knew I was being pretty mean to my husband yesterday, but I had no idea just how mean until I thought about it this morning. There was no excuse for my poor attitude. (There is never an excuse…) Nick wasn’t able to leave work until 10:45pm. I am embarrassed to admit that, instead of doing whatever I could for my hardworking husband when he sleepily walked through the door, I did pretty much the opposite of that. I subconsciously decided it was the perfect time to be in a bad mood. I found something petty to complain about and marched upstairs to our room. (It was so petty that I can’t remember what it was. Funny how that always happens.)

I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. When he came upstairs, probably to try to brush his teeth with me, I kept the door shut. (Be honest. You know you’ve done this too. Join me in this agony, people!) When I opened it, there Nick was, handsome as ever, waiting for me to say something. Instead of just giving him a hug and apologizing right then and there, I marched right back downstairs to do some unnecessary dishes (because what’s more fun than hugging your husband? Scrubbing a pot). When he came downstairs and started drying the dishes I was washing….you guessed it, I returned upstairs. (Writing this is nothing short of mortifying.)

When I got upstairs, I got in bed. I reached over to Nick’s nightstand and pulled out our NFP chart. As I was recording my daily fertility observations, Nick came in the room. He looked at me (with his cutie blue eyes) and asked, “You’re filling out the chart by yourself?” His tone and his facial expressions were defeated. Although I mumbled something in a self-righteous huff, somewhere deep inside, I knew that I had crossed a line. This morning, I realized why, and that, in fact, how holding our chart hostage was meaner than any of the things I said and my toddler-esque stair-stomping.

When I filled out our chart alone, I separated myself from him.

This separation was different than the physical gap I created when I locked myself in the bathroom. This was a deep separation—a separation of us as husband and wife. Completing our chart alone sent Nick the message, not only that I didn’t need his help, but also that I was shutting him out of our family. (I am seriously tempted to drive to his office right now and give him a kiss. I’m not going to because I would probably start crying and he needs to work. Oh humility!)

When a couple chooses a Fertility Awareness Based Method, the couple is choosing daily communication about the love, family, and future they share. It is a fundamentally different way to be in love. We have to communicate or our family planning method cannot work. (Imagine that—a husband and a wife acting as partners. Brilliant!) Refusing to communicate about my body was a refusal to share our love, family, and future.

Of course I’m capable of recording my fertility observations alone, and yes, there are days where I do. Nevertheless, there should never be days where I fill it out alone out of spite. I need his help. And tonight….I can’t wait for him to help me fill out our chart.

Turns out, learning about our weaknesses is empowering too.

First published by The Guiding Star Project:



  1. Beautiful reflection…

    God bless

    Ed Hopfner
    Director of Marriage & Family Life
    Archdiocese of San Francisco
    “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself . . .if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.”
    “El hombre no puede vivir sin amor. Él permanece para sí mismo un ser incomprensible … si no se encuentra con el amor, si no lo experimenta y lo hace propio, si no participa en él vivamente.” John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis


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