I interviewed Meg and Avery in early June and they got married later that month on June 28. They are on fire for the faith, and it is so beautiful to see! You can follow them on Instagram (and totally should): Megan | Avery
TW: Let’s start with a brief into. Tell us a little about yourselves.
Hi, I’m Meg, a 4 year D1 college athlete grad from Troy University with a degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Entrepreneurship. I now run my own wedding/couple photography business and do freelance design work from home. I’m a cradle catholic, oldest of 5 siblings, and avid dancer, fashionista, DIY’er and soon to be wife of Avery.
I’m Avery, a Marine currently stationed in San Diego California. I just recently converted to the Catholic Church from a non denominational/ Baptist background, and I’m the lucky man marrying Megan in less than a month.
We share a friend who reconnected us 2 years ago in Disneyland and the rest was history. We’ve been dating for almost 2 years now with over 90% of the relationship being over distance and we’ve been engaged since Dec 2018. We’re finally in San Diego together with our pup, and we’re stoked to take on marriage together in a few weeks and implement NFP to its fullest!
TW: Chastity is certainly a difficult virtue to cultivate, especially in modern times. What are some practical ways you and your fiance tackle this virtue in your relationship? How do you discuss topics about sexuality without it becoming an area of temptation?
Very true! Some of the practical things we do include no alcohol late at night when we’re one on one, no sleeping in bed together, and daily prayer. And honestly… learning NFP and reading through parts of Humanae Vitae seriously set us both on the same page about what sex is and the beauty and weight of it. We can get excited for our honeymoon and talk about sex without getting lost in a dark, tempting hole. We know it’s created perfectly for marriage, and we both are on the same page of knowledge of it and excitement for it.
TW: Why are you and your fiance choosing to practice NFP? Purely out of obedience to the Church? Out of a desire to cultivate authentic love? Medical/ scientific reasons?
All the above!! We honestly wonder why couples DON’T practice NFP or at least learn about it. It was our favorite part of marriage prep because we got to learn a ton of new things about each other, our soon to be marriage, sex as it should be, and our combined fertility. Everything about NFP is so so life giving and it seriously draws you that much closer to Christ and the Church.
TW: How/ why did you choose the method you’ll be practicing? Can you describe the costs associated (financial, emotional, mental)? What was the process like to learn the method?
We learned the Sympto-Thermal method (STM) through an online course that was recommended to us. It’s also the one my (Megan’s) parents teach and practice and we like that there are so many cross checks. It uses variations in temperature and mucus observations to determine the window of fertility. This method has additional cross-checks though that can help clarify that window even more. , so if you skip/miss a day, you have other symptoms to cross check it with.
We learned our method through Couple to Couple League (CCL). We had to spend approx $150 on a very detailed and in depth course and charts and it was soooo worth it. We personally think the course is worth way more than $150. It was a class split into 3 sections with about 10 small lessons in each course. So it took us about 4.5 months total and we were able to do it long distance! The program we used allowed us to log into the same page and watch the same videos at the same time and it was amazing to do it together.
TW: How do you think NFP will benefit your marriage? Do you see areas where it may present sacrifices and struggles?
We both think it’ll greatly benefit our marriage. It constantly re-centers us on Christ and how He designed the marital embrace between spouses. In a world that is so promiscuous and overly sexualized, we’re not quite sure how Christian couples could keep sex from becoming abused, used, degraded, etc. in marriage without NFP.
Sure, practicing NFP requires me to check my temperature at the same time everyday. Sure, it requires us to chart, and sure we’ll have to abstain from sex time to time, but we have no problem checking our phones every couple minutes, so why not also tackle things that will keep your marriage healthy? We think that starting our marriage off with NFP will be much easier than learning about it a few years in because we will develop a habit of it and it will be the only thing we’ve ever known.
TW: NFP can help cultivate the understanding that fertility is shared, however, the burden of charting can fall on the woman since NFP utilizes her bodily symptoms to determine the fertile window. How do you and your fiance plan to share your fertility as a married couple?
That’s interesting that you said the charting typically falls on the woman because when we started NFP we both decided I would check my body symptoms but then share them with Avery and he would chart them. So as soon as we finished the NFP courses he asked me if I was going to mail him the charts so he could do the charting from California haha. We decided that I’d do all of the charting until we’re married so it doesn’t get confusing or messed up over distance, but he’s so stoked to have his own part in this.
TW: How do you think the Church can better spread/ teach NFP?
Wow, this is something Avery and I talk about a lot. We don’t understand why it’s so seemingly “hush hush”. I think there could be more conferences and talks on it, especially from young millennial couples. Because those are the new and young married couples who need to be approached with NFP.
TW: Is there anything you wish you knew before now about NFP/ and the church’s teaching on it?
Meg: No! I grew up with parents who taught it and eventually talked to us about it too so it was always something I planned to practice.
Avery: I just wish I had heard about it sooner. I didn’t even know about it till I met Megan.
TW: What advice and encouragement would you give to engaged and dating couples as they learn NFP and prepare for marriage?
At least open yourselves up to the option! Don’t close any doors permanently. Learning about the role you each play in your marriage and fertility as a Christian couple is something NFP teaches so beautifully and well. Avery and I credit a lot of our maturity and surety for the sacrament of marriage to learning NFP together and being open to it together.
You’ll get frustrated, you’ll have to retake little NFP tests, but it’s all so worth it in the grand scheme of a committed life together. Don’t get intimidated by all of the new things you’ll be learning and talking about. “Cervical mucus” wasn’t something I was stoked to talk about. But you have to remember that you’re about to share absolutely everything with this person so don’t be afraid to talk about the weird stuff.