Abstinence Is a Positive Challenge for NFP Couples, Says Top Expert

Abstinence is a challenge that can actually enhance a marriage, according to nationally recognized psychotherapist Gregory K. Popcak, MSW, Ph.D. The difficulties with abstinence that both men and women experience shouldn’t be belittled, but dealt with in a way that is faithful to the integrity of the person as well as to the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, Popcak says.

Listen to Gregory Popcak's MP3 talk.

Gregory Popcak counsels couples using NFP.

Popcak, a Catholic and the author of seven best-selling books that integrate theology with counseling advice, advises couples to think of themselves as gifts for the good of the other person. “The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s using the person,” he said, speaking to Natural Family Planning teaching couples in a talk given at the 2008 convention (MP3 talk) of the Couple to Couple League.

Theology of the Body

Borrowing from Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Popcak said that the idea is to “build the unity that originally existed between all mankind and God, and between man and woman in the context of marriage.”

“Loving someone means working for their good, even when it makes me uncomfortable, even when it’s hard, even when it causes me to leave behind my comfort zone,” he said.

“When I stop using who I am for your good, I start seeing you as an object, as a means to get something for me…. Then you’re this vending machine that I’m supposed to push some buttons and get this thing.”

Popcak said that he finds a great demand for advice from couples around the world who are struggling with the demands of abstinence.  His counselors, who help their clients by phone at the Pastoral Solutions Institute, which he founded, have degrees in theology as well as professional counseling certification.

Listen to Gregory Popcak’s MP3 Talk at the CCL convention.

Classes in the Sympto-Thermal Method of Natural Family Planning can be taken at 15 locations in the Chicago, IL Archdiocese, as well as in southeast Milwaukee and northwest Indiana. The next class will begin Tue., Aug. 25, 2009 at 7 pm at Holy Cross Church in Batavia. Send an email to Jill and Dustin Schadt or call them at 630-896-9275.