A Return to Masculinity
Welcome to the Men's Corner of You, Me and NFP!
This post is written by Justin Maderer, content contributor to You, Me and NFP
About 7 seconds into my wife’s NFP sales pitch, she closed me on the idea that she would regain her lost drive, which would ultimately lead to an increased frequency of the marital act. (At that time, our intimate times were few and far between, like, close to non-existent).
After that, everything else she said was just white noise; effort, participation, hard work, fertility monitors, tracking charts, a return to normalcy of her hormones and other health ailments brought on by 10+ years of a variety of contraceptives.
The required discipline during her fertile days, among other important elements, fell on deaf ears. All I heard was that my self-serving pleasures and desires would be fulfilled all the time.
I was doomed from the start.
If you, even partially, fall into the category of the uninformed, under-informed or misinformed, we have just identified the single biggest reason why men struggle (you might say fail) with NFP.
To be clear, I absolutely fell into this category when my wife and I began discerning the decision to forgo mainstream contraception for Natural Family Planning. I was completely unaware and unprepared to enter into such a commitment, let alone to “play by the rules."
What on earth was I getting into?! At the persistent encouragement (insistence) from my wife, I half-heartedly went along with her idea to change our approach from mainstream contraception to Natural Family Planning. While we ultimately made the final decision together, my heart and mind were only partially bought into the decision.
I entered into this new way of life unprepared, uninformed, and with unreal expectations. I immediately realized NFP was hard, and required hard work.
I had what St. Thomas Aquinas defines as an unwillingness to put aside one's pleasure in order to pursue what is arduous or difficult: an attachment to the pleasure.
I made decisions based on emotions and feelings instead of reason. In other words, I was being effeminate.
(News Flash: Effeminacy is the primary, central root cause of all struggles men face today. Deny yourself the lure and temptation of effeminacy and return to true manhood, authentic masculinity.)
Our considerable lack of knowledge and sinful lifestyles are perpetuating our unreal expectations of what we are getting into with NFP.
NFP is hard, that is, NFP requires hard work. NFP requires virtue, discipline and self-control. The virtuous man takes full responsibility for his actions.
NFP requires you to rediscover your masculinity and Be. A. Man. More importantly, be THE man God desires you to be.
So why should you care about what I have to say? Here's a little bit about me.
I am a cradle-Catholic and grew up in a good home. I was part of the “in” crowd, a Division I scholarship athlete, and (according to my wife) a good looking guy. I led a life of self-indulgence, self-gratification, and pleasure. As a result, my mind and body were ingrained with resistance. And since NFP requires the exact opposite of my previously chosen lifestyle, I was completely unprepared and unable to find the joy I had heard so much about.
My wife and I have been married 12 years. In the last 5, I have been on a journey only God could orchestrate. The beauty of sexuality as God intended is beyond anything I could have imagined. I have found true JOY in our intimate life rooted in Catholic teaching and as faithful practitioners of NFP. Now, I want to share it with anyone who will listen - or read in this case!
My hope in being a monthly contributor to this blog is to be a resource for men, who likely will only be reading this first post because their wives sent them the link.
But I hope you come back often. This journey isn’t easy and I will challenge you with every post to be men of virtue, self control and discipline.
Our society needs more men who strive to love their wives with perfect charity and who willfully sacrifice their temporal desires of comfort and pleasure for the sake of their family.
NFP is available to all of us and yet somehow despite all these avenues for easy information we often find ourselves lacking in true understanding and belief in the Catholic Church's beautiful teaching on sexuality and “contraception.”
I challenge you to take the time between this post and my next to dig into some quality Catholic research, which I will reference in upcoming posts.
To start, you need a plan. Stop. Pray. Listen. What do you want and how will you get there? What sacrifices must you make to achieve the desired result?
I recommend Man Up! Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man by lay Catholic, Jared Zimmerer. Man Up! will challenge you to strive for excellence in virtue and masculinity, which is the very foundation of Natural Family Planning.
Perhaps you have similar experiences. Perhaps the men you have read or listened to have not exactly been “speaking your language." Maybe I will. Maybe my words will resonate with you, and help you to uncover the true beauty that is Natural Family Planning.
Welcome Men to You, Me, and NFP.
About Justin Maderer
Justin lives in Marietta, GA with his wife, Lisa, and their three children. They have been married for over 12 years. For the past 2 years, Justin and Lisa have been active in a marriage apostolate for engaged couples, where they provide witness of their conversion to Natural Family Planning (NFP) from mainstream contraception. They also present on the topic, “Meeting the Emotional Needs of Your Spouse.” Justin works in digital marketing and volunteers his time as a youth baseball coach and with the Regnum Christi movement in Atlanta.