Logan is a valet supervisor by day and a videographer by night. Jen is a RN turned SAHM to their 3 boys. Together, they run Surprised By Marriage, where they share videos, blog posts, weekly marriage challenges, and musings on marriage. You can find out more about them here: Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube
TW: Let’s start with a brief into. Tell us a little about yourselves.
We’re Logan and Jen, high school sweethearts who have been married for 10 years. We have 4 sweet boys, one in heaven and three with us on earth. New Orleans has always been our home and we love it!
We started an online ministry about marriage in 2018 to encourage couples to keep their marriage a priority amidst all the craziness of life. While that may sound like we’ve got a grip on this marriage gig, it’s really that we’ve had more struggles than we expected and know that if we can make it work, anyone can. We’re also big fans of having fun while striving for holiness!
TW: How did you learn NFP? Did you know about it prior to marriage, and if so when? What resources were helpful to you?
We were first told about NFP by friends who got married just before we did, and also by our priest who officiated our wedding. He referred us to our Archdiocesan Family Life office, where we signed up for classes we took during our engagement.
Years later, when we switched methods over 5 years into marriage, the Gianna Center in Covington (now closed), and now the Hope Woman’s Clinic in New Orleans have been invaluable to us.
TW: How long have you and your spouse been practicing NFP?
We first took NFP classes during our engagement and have been utilizing NFP in some form or another for our entire marriage. It’s mostly been for an awareness of fertility and trying to conceive (TTC) , but we did have a period of at least 18 months after our third baby when we were strictly trying to avoid a pregnancy (TTA). There were also a couple periods after our first two babies where we weren’t sure what we wanted!
We were told about all of the benefits of NFP and even though we were ready for kids as soon as we married, we knew it wouldn’t hurt to take NFP classes. And we were right – it actually helped us when we ended up having fertility issues. We know our 3 boys are here because we were aware that it was a fertile time, thanks to the detailed information we gather through charting.
We’re currently open to a baby if God blesses us with one, and we continue to utilize NFP because it fosters communication between us and keeps us aware of any fertility issues that pop up. It’s a win-win.
TW: What methods do you/have you practised (Creighton, STM, Marquette, Billings, etc.)? Briefly describe the costs, financial, mental, emotional, etc.
We first learned the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) during our engagement process and we honestly didn’t know there were any other methods back then. Even though STM was pretty simple and inexpensive, it wasn’t a good fit with irregular cycles. So, a few years later we learned Creighton. We had heard great things about Creighton earlier in our marriage but didn’t feel ready for the time and emotional commitment, in addition to the financial commitment. We finally took the plunge once we had the opportunity to get a discount with an intern practitioner. It was very overwhelming in the beginning (being postpartum with our middle son was likely a big factor), but we eventually grew confident with Creighton and it has helped us identify some medical issues.
TW: What is your favorite thing about NFP? Your least favorite?
Jen: I love how we’ve come to show love for each other in other ways. I don’t love how it’s made us realize just how selfish we can be! (But of course acknowledging our selfishness and working on it is totally a good thing…)
Logan: I enjoy being able to fully commit to my wife knowing that it’s just as God intended it to be. It is a struggle, however, knowing that we have to abstain sometimes for long periods when we are TTA pregnancy.
TW: NFP can help cultivate the understanding that fertility is shared, however, the burden of charting typically falls on the woman since NFP utilizes her bodily symptoms to determine the fertile window. How do you share your fertility as a married couple?
We keep an open dialogue about where we’re at in the cycle. Even though the charting falls on me, the communication does not. It takes both of us to discern when is a good time for another baby, so we are constantly talking and praying about it!
TW: Describe a time when NFP was exceptionally hard. How did you work/ are you working through it, together and/or separately?
Jen: I had to come to terms with the fact that I was looking to my husband for fulfillment when I should have been looking to Jesus. It was actually through this rough period with NFP that we grew closer to each other! We’ve always had a prayer life together, but we realized that prayer was a big part of living NFP successfully.
Logan: For me, it seems like it’s every cycle if we’re TTA. Having to wait for the right time to have sex is not easy when the heart can yearn for it at any given time. We found that taking our mind off of it through playing games or talking really helped.
TW: How would you respond to someone who says that NFP has a high failure rate?
We have a few thoughts about this one!
- NFP is kind of like faith – the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
- Not every method works well for every couple. Find the best method for you!
- NFP is so much more than avoiding or achieving pregnancy – its “success” should be measured by the growth of the couple and their understanding of responsible parenthood. Sometimes that will mean having MORE kids instead of less.
TW: How do you think the Church can better spread and teach NFP?
First, it starts with educating the people who have contact with engaged and married couples, namely priests and mentor couples. That part is being done to some extent but there’s definitely room for improvement. Thankfully, we were told about NFP from the beginning, but it was limited information. It wasn’t until years into marriage that we learned about other methods and the theological reasons for practicing NFP. Teaching about Theology of the Body (TotB) should go hand in hand with NFP.
Secondly, it’s important that every church parish be informed so they can offer resources and help to their parishioners. There are many couples sitting in the pews every Sunday that have no idea about NFP or TotB! And perhaps even the ones that do know about NFP have many misguided opinions. We don’t have a magical solution, but we do think it will take constant dialogue about NFP within our church communities.
It’s also important to be honest about the struggles of NFP. We were told early on that you only have to abstain for 7-10 days each cycle. But what we learned is that it often looked more like 2-3 weeks for us (or sometimes more) of abstaining because of PCOS and double-peaks. Those generalizations can lead to some serious disillusionment and possibly leading couples to use birth control instead.
TW: If you had one minute to share NFP with someone, what would you say?
It may be one of the hardest things you do, but it’s so worth it. NFP isn’t just for avoiding or achieving pregnancy – it has health benefits, fosters communication between spouses, helps you grow closer in ways other than just physical (although it helps with that too!), and teaches couples the importance of sacrifice and responsible parenthood. You may regret using birth control, but you won’t regret using NFP.