We Share Your Joy!

by Therese Maes
Summer 2023

This joyous time of preparation for your marriage may seem too full, too fast, too frenzied with “to-do” lists. But this time, this respite while you are concentrating just on your relationship with each other and with God, will be a true time of refreshment, light, and peace, if you allow it. At this time, we invite you to look at each other with new eyes, and new hearts, open to all the graces God has in store just for you.

Did you ever reflect on how blessed you are to be marrying at this time? So much more is known abut marriage and what goes into making a good marriage great!

Oh yes, I know the statistics that show many marriages end in divorce, but there are many more marriages that are lasting “until death do us part” whether that be 30, 40, 50, even 60 years. The key, of course, is love.

Not the kind of love that Hollywood and the TV networks promote, but the kind of love that says, “I am willing to give my life for you. I am willing to die for you.”

If you think about it, the sexual fulfillment experienced in marital intercourse is a dying to self for the other. The wife gives so fully of herself and husband gives so fully of himself that they become not two different people but one complete whole. They enter into an embrace that steps out of time, place and body into ecstasy that goes beyond the physical into a nothingness that is all feeling and floating, like a Chagall painting. There is no self, only other. The paradox, of course, is that as one dies to self and gives all to the other, the two become a greater whole: one in being, one in grace and one in the image of God.

Is every marital embrace like this? No. The humdrum of daily life—work, friends and hobbies—can put barriers in the way of your marital embrace. Contraceptives like condoms and diaphragms, interrupt the total gift of self, obviously, but even the “pill” is psychologically and physically divisive because it requires the woman to change her self. What the “pill” says to you, the wife, is that you are not worthy of being accepted as you are. Instead, you must be placed in a state of pseudo pregnancy (with its attendant physical anomalies) in order to be available for sex on demand. Is this what both of you wish for each other?

Don’t most husbands want the best for their wives? This is true in the early stages of marriage and deepens as they grow to know each other, body and soul. A husband giving himself unreservedly finds the deepest joy and fulfillment when his wife is able to give herself equally unreservedly. Again, the paradox, as the husband gives himself completely to his wife, and she to him, each becomes more complete as individuals. Why would any couple want less?

Just like you, every couple enters into marriage with dreams. And that is only right. Every good coach teaches the players to “image” what they seek to attain, to think through all the motions and visualize the exact outcome they want. Isn’t that what you are doing, as you plan for the future— imaging outcomes, dreaming dreams?

The best way to attain the marriage of our dreams is one you’ve probably not even thought about or even heard of. It is the church’s best kept secret—
natural family planning. The good news of NFP is that it is the method of family planning tailored just for you, the couple who is sensitive, committed, into health and fitness, and concerned with ecological well-being. And it’s a “couple thing”—using natural methods of family planning means both of you working together.

But what is natural family planning? You probably already know that a man who is fertile, is fertile always, whereas a woman who is fertile is fertile only cyclically. The art of graphing these cyclical changes is the science of natural family planning. Basically, every fertile woman experiences a characteristic mucus discharge that changes during her cycle. She can soon recognize and chart these changes, learning when ovulation is approaching and when it is complete.

As she notices the mucus discharge, there are also temperature changes in her body. These can be charted as well and soon the couple has a complete picture of their mutual fertility. When the couple decides to have a baby, they make love during the fertile time. When they know it is best to postpone having a baby, they make love during the other parts of the cycle.

It’s that simple, and that complex. Because every cycle is unique just as every couple is unique, be sure you seek excellent instruction. A teacher recommended by CANFP will help you understand your bodily signs, chart the graph and define your particular times of fertility and infertility. Just go to the CANFP Directory of Professionals at Find an Expert at canfp.org.

Natural methods of family planning deepen your love and commitment to each other. You become aware of your tremendous power to bring new life into the world. As you learn to be open to life, you learn to be open to the Giver of Life, until God’s graces permeate your being in a way that makes burdens light and joys profound. We wish that joy for you and ask the Lord to bless you.

May all your dreams come true!


About The Author

Therese Maes
Terry Maes was the founding President of CANFP, while serving the Diocese of San Jose as the Director of Marriage and Family Life, and continues to serve on the Advisory Board. She and her husband Jose live in the San Jose region, have celebrated 55+ years of marriage, and have four children, and five grandchildren.


Commenting on articles is a member-only feature. Please sign up for one of our memberships to leave a comment.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Continue Reading Similar Articles

Fall 2023

NFP Questions My Kids Asked (or Should Have)

by Gary Schuberg

Over the 40 years of our marriage, NFP has been a natural(!) part of family conversation, over meals and at

Summer 2023

To the Lovers About to Make the Leap

by Gregory Polito, MD

Congratulations on your forthcoming launch into the sea of matrimony! There will be lots of troughs and crests in this

Spring 2023

Examining the Difference Between NFP and Contraception

by Professor Tom Cavanaugh

Let’s compare natural family planning (NFP) with contraception. This may help us to remember what is at stake in embracing

Winter 2023

One Sequoia After Another

by Fr. Blaise Berg, STD

“One sequoia after another!” texted my friend, Fr. Richard McDonald of Kansas (who attended CANFP’s HV50 conference in 2018). Fr.

Fall 2022

The Brave New World Post-Roe

by George Delgado, M.D., F.A.A.F.P.

The infamous Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions, that were relegated to the heap of jurisprudence

Summer 2022

Surfing as Prelude to NFP

by Gary Schuberg

Before you scoff at this notion, be mindful that one of the world’s finest Catholic apologists, Peter Kreeft, penned a

Summer 2022

Living NFP and the Formation of a Soccer Player

by Al Arévalo

Like many soccer players in their youth, I dreamt of playing professionally one day. To that end, playing soccer was

Summer 2022

Natural Family Planning: Foundation for Building a Culture of Life—Quotable Insights


“CANFP rejoices in the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade law legalizing abortion nation-wide.

Spring 2022

The Family as Domestic Church

by Timothy T. O’Donnell, STD, KGCHS

There is no doubt that the most important document issued by the Holy See in recent history on the family

How My Pastor Established a Successful Parish NFP Program

by Camille Iorns

As a Creighton Model Practitioner I was very blessed to have a supportive priest who spoke regularly about contraception and

I Just Wish Someone Had Told Me This Sooner

by Sheila St. John

Couples who come to learn Natural Family Planning are as diverse as their reasons for using it, but one sentiment

St. Joseph: Strong Man, Husband and Father

by Fr. Blaise Berg, STD

With this CANFP News dedicated to the Year of St. Joseph, it is appropriate to spend some time reflecting on

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?