Ask a Priest

NFP and Serious Reason

Mar 21, 2017

Hello Father,

Thank you so much for all you do. I am writing, because I am conflicted about the “serious reasons” for using NFP. My husband and I really want children and look forward to having them. We do not want to use NFP with a contraceptive mentality. However, he will be going overseas for 7-9 months starting in July, as he is in the military, and I cannot go along with him. Then, about 3-4 months after he returns from being overseas, we will most likely have to move about 3,000 miles across the country to a new location. If we were to conceive a baby before he left for his deployment, there would be a good possibility that he would miss the baby’s birth. Then, we would have to relocate across the country with an infant a few months afterwards. I don’t want to be selfish, and we are very open to life, but at the same time, having a baby in the situation I described above is not exactly the most convenient. Would our situation be considered a serious reason to postpone pregnancy?

Thank you, and God bless you!

Asked at 11:43 pm on March 21st 2017

Hi Nicole, first of all, congratulations for using NFP, which demands sacrifice from both you and your husband. And that you both want to avoid a selfish use of NFP, which as far as I remember, Blessed Paul VI also warned against. In the light of that, the reasons you give for not wanting a child just yet seem more than adequate. But the Church has always left to married couples the decision (always accepting that each child is a gift of God) as to how many children and when they should have. So I agree with you completely, in postponing a pregnancy till your husband returns.

But you can also be sure, if you both draw on the grace you have received, and continue to receive from your sacrament of matrimony, that you will have the wisdom together to arrive at these decisions. I always think of that line from the Gospel, ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name [that is, in my love], there am I among them.’ In your marriage, it’s this presence of Jesus among you that will give you the wisdom to make the right decision (which will always be in line with the Church’s teaching anyway). And we’re told by Christian writers in the early Church that you can have Jesus among you even at a distance.

So I’m praying that you both experience His presence and support during that long separation of over a year, keeping you united in His Love, and also that your dear husband returns to you safe and sound after his service abroad. Very best, Fr Brendan

Replied at 05:11 am on March 24th 2017