Intrinsic Evil and Grace

While The Man and I were in Texas for our NFP Teacher Training we learned so much and so many things stuck out to me, but one has given me more pause for personal reflection than any of the others.  When talking about how NFP and contraception differ, Joe used the phrase 'intrinsic evil' to describe contraception.  And it was either the look on my face that clearly told him he'd used a word too big for me or his need to drive the point home that prompted him to explain further what 'intrinsic evil' meant.  Something that is intrinsically evil is evil all of it's own doing or existence and will cause harm regardless of intention.

It was a huge AHA moment for me.

I had never stopped to consider how using contraception had harmed our marriage until that very moment.  And how using NFP has healed our marriage.

You would think with the financial issues we've had, that if we were going to fight it would be about money, right?  I mean s.ex surely couldn't be a reason for argument for a couple using contraception right?  "The Pill" is freeing and allows for anytime intercourse.  But, we actually didn't fight too often about money.  It was always a point of stress, but one that more appeared as shared frustration, disappointment and embarrassment.  Not so much blame or arguing.

What we did fight about was s.ex.  And by the time we decided to throw the pills away, we were both wondering if maybe there was something wrong with us.  Not only were we each wondering if there was something wrong with ourself, but the wondering if there was something wrong with the other had started to creep in as well.  There was more hurt and were more tears shed on this issue than on all other issues combined.

And then, without fully understanding the moral reasons, one day we decided that there would be no more pills.  And took a leap of faith that would lead us down a road of 4 months of abstinence.  By choice.  And since that day?  There has not been one fight or argument about s.ex.  Not. a. single. one.  For 5 and 1/2 years, it was the one area of our marriage that we both agreed needed to be better.  And for 1 and 1/2 years it has been better.  Much. better.

I once heard God's grace defined as 'God doing through me what I am unable to do on my own.'  This journey from contraception to NFP has been easy for us.  Easier than we ever expected.  It has been grace filled.  And I see now, that God's grace was keeping us together and fighting for our marriage even while we fought with each other; even when we brought evil into our lives.


  1. What a great testimony! One of the things I remember about coming off contraceptive pills was the fact that my sex drive actually returned! Of course, I hadn't realized necessarily that I didn't have one while on the pill...but then when I was no longer on the pill, I realized I actually wanted to have sex more than I did on the pill... I don't remember if we necessarily fought about it...but I do know that our sex life has been much more fulfilling since we left contraception behind.

  2. I so admire you & The Man, and all of the couples who do NFP the "right" way. It was more "me" using it and not both of us as a couple. Abstinence? ha. CH would've never gone for that. I just wonder how strong our marriage would've been if we had used NFP as a couple.

  3. Rebecca, so beautiful. Your posts are such a profound reflection of the journey of your soul. It's a privilege to watch how God's grace is working in you and your marriage! Thank you!

  4. I pray that it remains that way for you. This is a great witness.

  5. Rebecca this is an incredible post. You're so brave to open your heart and share your story with us! Thank you thank you thank you! What an incredible testimony! Praise God for filling your relationship with grace- and for the extra grace to respond by teaching others what you've learned!

  6. I'm the "Joe." It's nice to know when one has made a difference this way. And that one has been heard. Thank you.

    One doesn't hear the idea of "intrinsic evil" so much these days. Our Holy Father said it just before the Holy Spirit revealed His selection of him as Benedict XVI--we live with the "dictatorship of relativism."

    But intrinsic evil is very real. I commend to your reading a letter by John Paul the Great, called "Veritatis Splendor" -- the Splendor of Truth. It's a beautiful extended meditation on Jesus' encounter with the Rich Young Man. Along the way it becomes a very compelling defense of the moral law, an attack on the "dictatorship of relativism" (without calling it that), and an exposition of what human freedom really means--the freedom to do the right, to be in harmony with our nature: "made in the image of God."

  7. Saw this off a link from another post:

    We had the same "side effect" of NFP. It has healed our marriage.

    We never thought had sexual problems before, but it had become routine and boring. Unbeknownst to us, the emotional side effects of the contraceptive itself were wrecking the rest of our marriage.

    Now...Just wow! Across the board. We're like newlyweds.

    One little caveat... Sometimes couples HATE NFP. Often this is due to not understanding the method or an unresolved health issue that makes charting difficult. If NFP is hard, GET HELP! Contact your instructor, change methods, get a fertility monitor, make it work. It's worth it.