A Second Opinion


I am getting married in two weeks, and have been learning NFP over the last few months. My fiance and I have lived apart for over a year now and would like to delay pregnancy for a year or so. Every NFP counselor I have spoken with has informed me this is an immoral decision on our parts. They also told me I cannot look forward on a calendar when I am charting, because it is a one-day-at-a-time process. I am regular in my cycles and phases, yet they tell me it is normal to have a 14+ day Phase II, and that a Phase III with 10 days is fabulous. How is this possible if a woman is only fertile 100-120 hours in a month? As a newlywed, it will be near impossible to have 10 days of “safe time.” We may still be at the end of Phase II when we get married, although I would have been in it 10 days already. My counselors have told me just stay busy and wait a week to consumate the marriage. The problem with that is, according to their rules, if I wait a week, I then start Phase I. Please help. J.


Dear J,

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking:

1) Is it immoral to use NFP to avoid a pregnancy for the first year of your marriage, and

2) Is it normal for the fertile period to last over 2 weeks?

The answer to both is of course not!

NFP is a moral means of spacing pregnancy. I think you are saying that you have understood your teacher to suggest that just wanting to be married for a year or two before starting your family is insufficient justification for avoiding pregnancy. Your teacher might be of the opinion that beginning your marriage by being open to pregnancy would be preferable, and indeed maybe even ideal for many. But each couple must make this decision for themselves, prayerfully, and with much discussion. I would suggest that one consideration in getting married should indeed be an ability, and readiness to have children. But that is not the same as saying one is obligated to immediately seek pregnancy. If you and your fiancé feel you are totally unable to care for a child, should pregnancy occur, perhaps you are not in a position to seek marriage at this time. But if you are willing and able to care for a child, should pregnancy occur, but think it would be in the interests of your family to attempt to postpone pregnancy for a year or two, that is not unreasonable, or immoral, in my opinion. Each couple is very different, not only in temperament, but also in circumstances, and must judge for themselves the legitimacy of their reasons for avoiding pregnancy.

When using NFP to avoid pregnancy, commonly a couple will abstain from intercourse for approximately 9 consecutive days. This may vary however, from woman to woman, and to a lesser extent, from cycle to cycle for any individual woman. If the couple is consistently identifying a fertile window which is a great deal longer than this, such as the two week period you describe, then they must work closely with the teacher in identifying which days are truly fertile. This can sometimes take a few months, as the couple gains confidence in their observations and charting, and a pattern is observed. Sometimes the patterns can be a little more difficult in the month or two preceding the wedding, due to stress, and settle down once life settles down.

Reconciling a desire to avoid a pregnancy, and a desire to consummate the marriage on the wedding day, can be challenging to any newly married couple. Some couples decide their reasons to avoid a pregnancy are not so serious after all, and choose to begin their marriage by being open to children, should one be conceived on the honeymoon. Other couples are strongly motivated to avoid a pregnancy initially, and choose to simply wait until the fertile time passes to consummate their marriage, should their wedding night be during the fertile time. This is, of course, an intensely personal decision.

Perhaps you can make an appt to discuss all this with your teacher personally. You can review your chart together, clarify both the short term and long term expectations, and develop together a plan for managing these challenging questions.

Answered By:

CANFP unites under one umbrella all those who use, teach, and advocate for NFP, and our members are our strongest resource: the physicians who provide authentic women’s healthcare, the Practitioners and Certified Teachers of all the natural methods instructing couples in its use, the couples who use NFP and reflect its values in their families and communities, the clergy providing the spiritual formation and context, and the churches, dioceses, hospitals, and profile organizations who collaborate in providing access to these services throughout the state.

Read more related questions

Morally Acceptable to Assist Wife in Achieving Orgasm?

I really need your help, I keep finding contradicting information on the matter everywhere I look. If my wife and I plan on having normal…

Intimacy When Intercourse Not Possible For Health Reasons

I was happy to see the quality of the responses from the experts on your site, but I did not see any that dealt with…

Troubled by Past Vasectomy

My husband and I were married in the Church 26 years ago. I had converted beforehand, more so for him than for myself. We were…

Unmet Expectations and Sad….

I read the other marital sexuality Q&A and could not find the answer to this. My husband and I have been married less than a…


From reading your articles, I infer that marriage is only permissible if the female is capable of bearing children at the inception of the marriage.…

Appropriate Expressions of Intimacy

During times when we are postponing pregnancy, is sexual foreplay okay if neither of us has an orgasm? Our situation is that when I have…

Paraplegics and Marital Relations

In your section on marital sexuality, I read the information you posted in response to a question about the nature of the sexual relationship for…

Should I Feel Guilty?

My husband and I are no longer capable of having children because of medical reasons but we still enjoy sex a great deal. Are we…

Medical Options for Impotence

I have read the response on your website to questions about the morality of various acts in a marriage in which the husband is impotent.…

Impotence and Sexuality

This very important question concerns millions of Catholic couples. It concerns the subject of impotence. I understand that Catholic teaching requires that all acts of…

A Second Opinion

I am getting married in two weeks, and have been learning NFP over the last few months. My fiance and I have lived apart for…

Thorn in Our Side

My wife and I practice NFP to the best of our knowledge. We try and follow the format even though we have never had any…

Create An Account

This is not a membership, this is an account for our CANFP website. If you decide you would like to sign up for one of our memberships later, you can do so with or without this account.

First Name *
Last Name *
E-mail *
Username *
Password *
Confirm Password *
Edit Profile
Order History
Shipping and Billing
Login Information
Notification Settings
Notification Subscriptions

CANFP conducts varied outreach programs to the community at large, in addition to serving our members (NFP users, teachers, and advocates).

CANFP provides education programs tailored to the audience, not only on Natural Family Planning, but on the wide variety of topics related to it.

Programs can be continuing education for NFP Professionals, introductory information for a lay audience of youth or adults new to the topic, or specifically tailored to the interests of a professional audience, such as educators, physicians, or clergy. Content is faith based or secular, whichever is suitable for situation.

CANFP offers a variety of resources for those just discovering Natural Family Planning, as well as to meet the varied needs of our CANFP Members. Most resources are available to any visitors to our site. Some resources do ask you to register as a site user in order to access them, others are available only to CANFP Members.

CANFP statewide conferences, regional events offered in collaboration with local partners, events featuring CANFP speakers, or exhbit, as well as other events throughout the state of interest to our NFP community.  Come meet one of our experts at one of these events or book a speaker for your own upcoming event.

CANFP depends on the gifts, talents, and generosity of our members and supporters. The success of our mission depends on the collaboration of our members. Please consider contributing your time treasure and talent through CANFP to share the good news of NFP with the world! Both volunteer and contracted positions available.

Stay informed by joining our email list

* indicates required
Which role(s) best describes you?