Monday, April 18, 2011

Sponsor Couple, NFP, & Marriage Prep

John and I have been meeting with our sponsor couple and working on other marriage prep requirements for a few months now.

As part of our marriage prep through St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) down here in Houston, we meet with a sponsor couple 5 times over the course of 6 months and discuss various topics relating to marriage (aka the good life after tying the knot). Topics have included prayer, finances, sex, family, communication... and things of that nature. It's been really nice discussing these major players in marriage with an older, more experience, really neat Catholic couple. They're in their early 30s and have been married for 10 years now. They're super friendly and artsy, and have given us some great advice about the road we're about to travel.

pictures make blog posts better
In case you're curious about Catholic marriage prep, I'll list some of the other things we've had to do in our preparation. We had to take that FOCCUS test (I mentioned it in a post a long time ago), meet with a deacon at SVdP twice to discuss said test's results, collect various pieces of paperwork (baptismal, first communion, and confirmation certificates, and affidavit's from both sets of parents), read and reflect in a question-and-answer book called "For Better and Forever" to accompany visits with our sponsor couple, and attend an Natural Family Planning (NFP) class. 

Let me talk for a second about the NFP class I went to. It was eye opening. There are many different forms of NFP, but I had heard a lot about the Creighton Model and decided to attend a class on that one. In 45 minutes, I learned more about my girly cycle than I've ever known up 'til now in my 24 years of life, and I'm shocked at how it all works... and how little most women know about it. Did you know that with simple daily observations you can figure out whether or not you're fertile? And the majority of the time, ladies, you're not fertile. If you track your cycle well, and abstain from "loving relations" (wink... if you know that I mean) for just a few days every month, you can avoid ALL forms of contraception FOREVER! And studies have shown that when done correctly, the Creighton Model is 99.5% effective in helping couples avoid pregnancy. Better yet, when you do decide to have kids, it can help you figure out if you have problems with fertility, why they exist (if they do), and what needs to be done to fix the problems (if possible). And all it takes are a few daily observations! 

pictures make blog posts better
Whew, I got a little carried away with my NFP explanation, but I was seriously shocked by most of what I learned in the class. It was great! I wish all women knew more about their cycles and how our bodies naturally work to achieve/avoid pregnancy. It's all prettttty darn neat. SCIENCE!

So, that's the bulk of the Catholic marriage prep. Most churches offer a weekend engaged encounter retreat or 6-month long series of classes in place of the sponsor couple, but we're super happy with the choice we made. We've gotten so much out of our marriage prep, and especially from our sponsor couple. In our opinion, the church (at least SVdP) has done a great job in creating programs to prepare their engaged couples for the beautiful, life-long, life-giving, serious, and sacred sacrament of marriage. So, no complaints here. Only smiles. 

*My apologies if I've come off as overly Catholic in this post. I'm just really excited about all the great things the church has done right for John and me in our marriage prep and wish to share with anyone who wants to listen :) 


  1. NFP is awesome and I'm glad you're sharing your learning experiences. I was also blown away by how all that girly stuff works.

  2. Yayy NFP!!! Glad you're liking it and spreading the word. I'd really like to learn more, just for my own knowledge and understanding..

  3. Yay for NFP supporters :)

    Emma - I did a little research for you and it looks like you could take the same introductory course and/or start charting right in Ohio! Here are the Creighton Model FertilityCare centers in Ohio: ... there's even one listed as "Steubenville." Let me know if anything comes of it.