Most couples do it in church – up to 62 percent of all married couple decide to enter into wedlock before the altar (unlike others who choose civil ceremonies). But before the sacramental YES, the couple must thoroughly prepare for marriage – visit a family counselling centre, hear out a priest, and learn about fertility calendars. In the following reportage, couples tell me how they learned about love and marriage at church courses.
The instructor unrolls a roll-up and points out mucus photos. “What day of the cycle and mucus do we ladies have today, does anyone know?” he asks showing different consistencies of cervical mucus: cloudy, sticky, viscous. The participating women are silent and ashamed. So is Dorota. She expected that there would be talk about natural methods of contraception, but she was not ready for such a dose of physiology.
“The most important in fertility analysis is temperature measurement”, explains the instructor. “Preferably just after waking up, but at a fixed time, the thermometer should be inserted into the vagina or rectum, or under the tongue. Accompanied with mucus examination – its appearance and humidity. The location of the uterus, its dilation and hardness are also important. Fertility is not some sort of Vatican roulette; it is analysis and notes,” the instructor turns to the male members of the participants. “The spouse plays an invaluable role in these measurements and observations,” he emphasizes and adds that the partner should know in which phase of the cycle the wife is and how her cervix behaves. “You must know if it is soft as grass and open as a flower, or maybe hard and dry as earth.”
The husband can appropriately categorise his wife’s mucus in the table (thick, cloudy, transparent, ductile) or give her the thermometer, read the temperature and note the result in a notebook. “Joint fertility examination in the morning brings the spouses extremely close. It is also convenient for a man, because the notebook is right next to the bed and when he feels like it – hop, he checks it and knows whether today is abstinence or maybe they can do it four times twice, eight times time after time,” the instructor winks and quotes a barnyard song with a wide smile. The participants look around at each other in confusion: is he serious? By the end of the class, everyone knows the song chorus because he sings it many times. “And a message for the ladies. Lack of mucus is the green light for intercourse. Let’s remember this maxim – always dry, always sure, *” he says.
* quotation from an old advert of Always sanitary pads