So, you’ve decided to use Natural Family Planning.
Has it blessed your marriage? Deepened your respect for your body? Has it made your sex life fantastic?
Do you and your spouse hold hands at sunset, and do pink flowers grow around your marital bed?
If so, this book is not for you. But if you’ve tried Natural Family Planning and have discovered that your life is now awful – or if you feel judged or judgey, or if you trust NFP but your doctor doesn’t, or if just you’re trying to figure out how the heck to have a sex life that is holy but still human – you’ll find comfort, encouragement, honesty, wit, and, most importantly, practical advice in The Sinner’s Guide to NFP.
In a series of funny, frank, and profound essays, popular Catholic blogger and mother of nine Simcha Fisher shows what it’s really like to practice NFP, and how to achieve those fabled “marriage building” benefits.
The Sinner’s Guide to NFP helps you with: NFP and Your Spiritual Life, NFP and the Rest of the World, NFP in the Trenches.
An easy and lively read, thoroughly grounded in orthodox Catholic theology, this book is packed with refreshingly frank insights about sex, love, and marriage. The next time you ask yourself, “If NFP is wonderful, why am I so miserable?” – don’t panic. The Sinner’s Guide to NFP is here to help.
Book Reviewed by Josephene T. M. Kealey: “NFP is the worst possible system, except for all the others.” This quip summarizes Simcha Fisher’s book on natural family planning (NFP). Acknowledging the very real difficulties inherent to Catholic marital life, Fisher also stresses how NFP does not solve these difficulties. If anything, she writes, NFP puts them into sharp focus and makes them impossible to ignore. She writes against so-called NFP propaganda that has, at least in the past, painted a picture of perpetual marital bliss even in times of abstinence – perhaps even increased marital bliss in times of abstinence! – if a couple only did NFP properly. But Fisher does indeed advocate for NFP – for those who wish to chart the wife’s fertility in order to conceive or avoid conception – as a method that not only functions properly within Catholic teaching on sexual morality (specifically, marital sex free from contraception and sterilization) but that can also provide a couple with opportunities to work through their problems and heal from whatever suffering they might be experiencing. Using her own experience as a wife, Fisher offers wise advice on the cross that is a part of marriage and a part of using NFP. Through humour that might force you to muffle your guffaws in your pillow (because your sixteen children are all finally asleep in your bed), she cheers on Catholic couples to understand that marriage includes suffering – even if you’re “doing it right” sexually and morally – and reminds them that redemption (that is, a grace-filled marriage) is just on the other side of that suffering.
Not everyone will warm up to Fisher’s humour and writing style, and some might object to her “expose” of NFP as decidedly not-a-walk-in-the-garden-of-Eden. However, she gives voice to the many, many couples who have struggled greatly to find peace in simultaneously bearing children, remaining happily married, being true to the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, and not losing their minds and bodies and marriages in the (blessed) mess of this kind of life. Fisher’s book is an especially good (and maybe even healing) read for anyone who feels that Catholic sexuality is a trap, who is perpetually running to the confession line, who feels betrayed by NFP, who wants to throw in the towel, who feels guilty about hating NFP, or who feels alone in his or her suffering. It’s even a healthy read for those who have got NFP right since day one of marriage – it’s humbling to understand that not everyone has been blessed in the same way.”