Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By James Cueva

7/23/2012 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (

My name is James, and I use NFP because it helps keep me out of the dog house, and in bed with my wife, where I belong

What I didn't expect from NFP was how my wife's chart had become a visible sign to me of the unseen reality of womanhood.  Despite my best attempts to be a good and understanding man who "gets" my wife, I fail often enough.I learned NFP because I was willing to think outside the box, in a way that is different from those members in society who are failing in marriage. I wanted my wife and I to have the best chances of staying married until death do us part.

James and Whitney, Bishop Daniel Flores (Brownsville - a very beloved Corpus Christi priest), Fr. James Farfaglia, Fr. Richard Libby, Fr. Peter Elizardo and Fr. Skip Negley at Annunciation Parish in Houston two years ago.

James and Whitney, Bishop Daniel Flores (Brownsville - a very beloved Corpus Christi priest), Fr. James Farfaglia, Fr. Richard Libby, Fr. Peter Elizardo and Fr. Skip Negley at Annunciation Parish in Houston two years ago.


By James Cueva

Catholic Online (

7/23/2012 (4 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Marriage, Natural Family Planning, husband, wife, divorce, NFP

HOUSTON, TX (Catholic Online) - My name is James, and my wife and I use Natural Family Planning. We made the decision for a lot of reasons that stood out, such as: that it is natural, has no negative side effects like the ones associated with hormonal contraception, encourages us to truly talk to each other, and low divorce rates among users. That last one truly was the icing on the wedding cake for us. After all, we got married with the goal of staying married until death do us part, and we meant it!

With divorce rates at 50%, it seems anybody that marries has a cloudy future in our current challenging age. We figured that if half of marriages end in divorce, then something is wrong with the way we view relationships in our society.

There was a time, long before any of us were around, where people stuck together for better or for worse. This is what we wanted for our marriage. I love my wife, and I'm so lucky to have her; I want to keep things this way.

We use a method of NFP called Standard Sympto-Thermal Method, which means we check temperature, cervical mucus, and for greatest accuracy, cervix position. I didn't get it at first. I struggled with charting and figuring out when a chart indicated the woman was fertile or infertile.

When I got married 6 months after our third, and final class, I had to do a crash course when my wife was good enough to ignore my doubts by putting the charts in front of me, and said, "here, this belongs to you from now on."

I got REAL serious about charting and was frequently using the cheat card and instructional book to re-educate myself. I even contacted our instructors to make sure I had all of my questions answered.  It didn't take long before it all came together. I guess I knew it was "game time," and it was time to be serious about this.

As time went by, I could see trends in my wife's chart. For example, as a school teacher she is less stressed in the summer time and so her charts are a few days shorter because the stress of teaching sometimes causes her ovulation to take a day or two longer to occur.

I remember on one day as I was looking at the charts she said she could tell she was about to start and suggested it could be within the week. I noticed her temperature dipped suddenly, and told her I thought she was going to start within 24hours. She disagreed with me until that night! She wasn't prepared and we had to make a quick stop at the pharmacy. We learned, these charts don't lie, and that I had become the more confident charter. 

I think of myself as a fairly good man and husband.  I try my best to place my wife and our marriage first at all times.  I try my best to be attentive, sweet and romantic and to be helpful around our home.  I try to be as spontaneous as I can be, and to listen to her even though I just want a little quiet time.  But the truth of the matter is, if I, or any guy for that matter, were meant to understand women, we would have been born women.  Since we are not, we are hopelessly destined to fail in our attempts to understand women.

What I didn't expect from NFP was how my wife's chart had become a visible sign to me of the unseen reality of womanhood (a visible sign of an invisible reality if you will).

Despite my best attempts to be a good and understanding man who "gets" my wife, I fail often enough.

Well, one month not too long ago we were about 20 days into my wife's cycle.  Following the start of the cycle and up until ovulation, the dominant hormone of the reproductive process is estrogen.  In addition to helping develop the eggs in the ovary follicles, the estrogen forms the endometrium, produces cervical mucus (which my wife observes) to keep sperm alive and aid it, and it also suppresses basal temperature (which we chart).

Sometimes when ovulation occurs the temperature drops really low because of the sudden burst of estrogen that is released to aid the dominant ovary follicle to complete its development.  This dip in temperature is not always present, but it can be.  Most times with my wife, it never happens, so it was a surprise two months ago when I saw her temperature dip really low.

I didn't think anything of it except that this meant ovulation was about to occur which means I can start planning on how to romance my wife in the next couple of days since we're using NFP to avoid a pregnancy at the moment.

The next day her temperature went up a little bit, but then the next day it dropped really low again.  It was unusual for it to have happened the first time, but then for it to happen a second time was really confusing.  So I was really perplexed when I saw it rise the following day, and then return to the really low temperature for a third time.  I thought to myself, "what's going on with my wife's body?"

Comparing this chart to her previous 3 years worth of charts, I couldn't find a single instance where this had occurred.  Usually with this kind of a dip, the temperature goes really low and then the next day it shifts up and stays high because after ovulation occurs, the progesterone becomes the dominant hormone which causes the basal temperature to rise higher than the pre-ovulation temperatures and stays high until the next cycle is about to start.

I was wondering why I was seeing this weird anomaly in my wife's chart when it occurred to me as I was getting ready for bed.  She was trying to ovulate but it wasn't happening because she was probably stressed, which as all women know, can cause you to have a longer cycle.

So as she laid in bed I asked my wife, "how are you?"  It's a very open ended question that I learned from taking psychology, is meant to get somebody to start talking about what is affecting them.  She replied, "I hate my job."  And it wasn't the words that she said, but how pained and sad she sounded when she answered me.  The next morning she told me she couldn't sleep because all of the things that stressed her about her job was on her mind.

She had mentioned things here and there in the weeks leading up to that question.  But even she didn't realize how much it was negatively affecting her until I asked about it.

I knew my wife was in a low place, and what's more, I realized that for months she had been giving me hints and clues about this struggle she was having, and I hadn't noticed. 

The next day, I made sure to make the bed (because I don't always do that).  I left work early and stopped by Crave Cupcakes (super delicious and expensive cupcakes).  I  bought some flowers, and wrote my wife a letter telling her how much I love her and what a great teacher she is.

I left everything on the bed, because I knew she would be stressed and usually wants to take a nap when she gets home from work.

In addition to all of this, I took out the trash, cleaned the living room, and washed the dishes.  (Whew!).

While all of these acts didn't solve my wife's problems, it did give her emotional support and confidence; and it gave me a chance to do what a husband is supposed to do: make his wife feel how much she is loved by her husband.

There is another benefit to all of this too; her body got to ovulating and for those of us who practice NFP, this meant we could make love without having to worry about getting pregnant while we try and get out of debt frist. 

Some people today think of NFP as the rhythm method, but we in NFP circles refer to it as "Russian roulette." 

Today's NFP uses so much science and there are different methods using the same fertility signs so we even have reliable options now.

I never expected NFP would help me understand what is really going on with my wife.  The truth is, had we not been charting, I would have never asked what was going on, and months down the road my wife would feel like I was out of touch with her needs, and she would feel alone.  I know this from the experiences we've gone through in marriage.

I learned NFP because I was willing to think outside the box, in a way that is different from those members in society who are failing in marriage so my wife and I could have the best chances of staying married until death do us part.

I learned NFP because I was assured that it works.  I didn't expect it would help our marriage the way it has, but you won't hear me complain.  Nor will you hear my wife complain.  Now if I could just do a better job of making the bed EVERY morning!!!

My name is James, and I use NFP because it helps keep me out of the dog house, and in bed with my wife, where I belong.
James and Whitney Cueva live in Houston, TX where they teach Natural Family Planning, RCIA, and Engaged Encounter.   They have been happily married for two years and enjoy sharing God's love and hope for the Sacrament of Marriage and their rewarding experience of practicing Natural Family Planning in their lives.  If you have questions about Natural Family Planning you can reach them via email at or on twitter @NFPJames. 


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More Marriage & Family


Image of

By Catholic Online

Catholic Online wants YOU to be a part of our newest video production! "Christmas Memories from Around the World" invites YOU to send us your favorite family Christmas memories for a chance to become a part of Catholic Online's new Christmas celebration video. We are ... continue reading

5 important scriptures to recite for your spouse Watch

Image of Remember to keep your relationship strong!


We all love our spouses - and some of us are still looking for that special someone - but whether you are in a relationship or just waiting for the person God chose for you, take a moment each day to consider these scriptures. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading

Doctors perform surgery on 28-week-old BABY STILL IN THE WOMB! Watch

Image of Doctors in China successfully performed life-saving surgery.


Doctors at Guangdong General Hospital were forced to perform immediate emergency surgery on an unborn 28-week-old child still in the womb. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Daily Mail explained the child's heart was no larger than the size of a walnut but required ... continue reading

'I thought I lost her' - Girl born with water instead of blood shocks doctors Watch

Image of Little Frankie received a miracle (Alex Cousins/SWNS).


Frankie Morrison was born via emergency C-section when medics discovered she was not moving within the womb. Doctors warned her parents, Maria and Chris Morrison, to expect the worst - But God had other plans. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Maria was rushed to an ... continue reading

WATCH NOW Baby's heart beats outside body (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT) Watch

Image of Baby Henry was born with two serious heart conditions (Hope for Henry/Facebook).


Henry Charles Dolan was born 12-weeks premature with two congenital heart defects. His miraculous journey has been captured from the beginning by his parents Mollie and Sam Dolan. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Hope for Henry Facebook page, Henry ... continue reading

Planned Parenthood celebrates 100-year anniversary of promoting murder and telling women they are weak Watch

Image of Protesters call for an end to Planned Parenthood.

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

As Planned Parenthood celebrates the centennial of the opening of its first birth control clinic, pro-life leaders are condemning the abuses of the nation's largest abortion provider. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Planned Parenthood's 100-year anniversary is a ... continue reading

Pope Francis visits 'SOS Mother' Watch

Image of Pope Francis spent time with some of Rome's children.

By Hannah Brockhaus (CNA/EWTN News)

On Friday Pope Francis visited with young children at the "SOS Village" in Rome, a community made up of homes for children who are in positions of family or social hardship, as recommended by social services. Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - The Village, as it is called, ... continue reading

Family celebrates miracle baby's first birthday after told she had only 15 percent chance of survival Watch

Image of Emie's parents refused to abort her (SWNS).


Jo and Chris Scott were told their unborn daughter Emie was "incompatible with life" and the doctors claimed the little girl only had a 15 percent chance of survival. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Scotts refused to listen as doctor after doctor recommended ... continue reading

'I ate my twin in the womb' - Peach-sized cyst reveals BRAIN, teeth and hair Watch

Image of Natashjja Heming claims to have


Natashjja Heming experienced severe pain since she was 13-years-old. She chalked it up to menstrual cramps, but discovered the truth was something much worse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Heming believed the sharp pain she experienced was normal but when she was ... continue reading

10 scriptures to pray for ultimate marriage blessings Watch

Image of What the Bible says about praying for your marriage.


The Lord blesses our marriages but it is important to remember to pray for more blessings, for understanding of one another, and more. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Marriage, much like other relationships, require maintenance every now and then to ensure it ... continue reading

All Marriage & Family News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 22nd, 2016 Image

St. Pope John Paul II
October 22: Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his ... Read More