To have and to hold and to use birth control?

By A.J.W. Ewers, Life & Culture Editor

The use of birth control is one topic with history that some married couples discuss; except there is one problem – many couples aren’t.

At Olivet, many students are either considering marriage or are already married – but some have not considered the impact that birth control can have on their relationship: both socially and physically.

While birth control is accepted as a social norm within relationships today, acceptance has not always been the majority of public opinion. According to the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC), birth control was not accepted within any Christian denomination prior to 1930. In 1930, the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church voted in favor of the use of contraceptives – only 22 years after condemning its use – becoming the first Christian denomination to accept birth control.

Since 1930, most Christian denominations have reversed their opinions with the Catholic Church being the only denomination to maintain their opposition. The late Pope Paul VI in his 1968 work, “Humanae Vitae,” wrote that the use of “artificial contraceptives is intrinsically evil.”

“Couples need to talk about this before marriage because not talking about it has caused issues,” said Alisha Clark, vice president of Marriage, Inc. “A conflict comes up when they find out they have a difference in opinion after they’re already married. How many children do we want? Do we use birth control?”

Through discussing this issue, couples can begin to decide what is best for them.

“To use birth control and to have children or not is ultimately a personal decision,” Clark said. “If they don’t make these choices early, they will end up wondering about what should be done.”

Since a marriage requires two individuals, the use of birth control is a matter that weighs on both partners.

“[Couples] should share in the responsibility of guarding [themselves] and [their] partners against unintended pregnancy,” according to Planned Parenthood’s website.

Not only can birth control affect relationships socially, but recent studies have led some scientists to conclude that birth control can also affect the physical relationship.  A 2011 study by psychologist S. Craig Roberts reported on by the Scientific American,, found that women who were taking hormone-changing forms of birth control desired their partners less. This was found to be because their testosterone levels were lower than normal levels, and they in turn preferred partners with lower testosterone levels.

Junior Bekah Colbert, engaged to be married next summer to Alex Veld, has already begun a dialogue about contraceptives with her fiancé.

“We’ve always talked about it,” Colbert said. “When we are married a year from now, I will still have a year left of college and I don’t want to have children in college.”

While Colbert has begun the conversation with her fiancé, she has also sought advice elsewhere. “I have asked my sister and mom for help with birth control. Like I’ve been asking them when I should go to the doctor to begin my treatments,” Colbert said.

“After I graduate and when we are ready to begin a family, the birth control will stop,” Colbert added.

To summarize her view, Clark quoted “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Chapman, “What if God made marriage to make us holy, rather than happy?”

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