Oh abstinence....one of the most challenging - yet mysteriously rewarding - parts of practicing NFP.
This is when you and your spouse have discerned that you’re not ready for another child, so you need to abstain during the fertile window of your cycle.
What makes it so difficult? For biological reasons, your spouse seems a thousand times more attractive than normal during this time. And both of your bodies seem to scream, “All systems go! Let’s do this!” But then your brains say, “Wait, we’ve talked about this!! Now is not the time!”
So what’s a couple to do?
We asked real-life NFP-practicing couples to share what they do during abstinence. Below is a collection of 25 ways to maintain the abstain and foster your marriage:
Wear a frumpy sweater (hey, whatever works!)
Don’t shave (that’s for the ladies; guys - you should probably shave because that five o’clock shadow only makes you more attractive…)
For once, actually pray that one of the kids wakes up (sometimes, they actually do!)
Let one of the kids sleep in bed with you (that will definitely kill the mood...)
Have company over (by the time they leave, you’ll be too tired!)
Binge-watch your favorite shows on Netflix together
Work on personal projects/hobbies
Pick up extra hours at work
Clean the house
Work on home improvement projects together
Go on a walk
Have a date night out
Snuggle (with self control, of course)
Non-sexual touching (such as holding hands in bed)
Talk about your 5 & 10 year plans together
Dream up your next highly unlikely vacation together (even if it won’t ever happen)
Read a spiritual book and discuss it together
Go to a marriage conference together
Join a prayer group or bible study
Go to mass
Go to adoration
Then, pray some more :)
So there you have it. The best tips and tricks from seasoned NFP-er’s.
One last word of advice: Our marriages are like a garden. During periods of abstinence we can either foster the growth or let weeds grow.
What about you? How do you keep the weeds out of your marriage during times of abstinence? We’d love to add your ideas to our list.