On The Rocks: Empowering Your Marriage While Braving Infertility
It's no secret...marriage is hard and can be full of challenges. Marriage has it's ebbs and flows but it's not for the weak. Throw in conception complications and you have a recipe for disaster. My marriage was for sure on the rocks, hit an all time low and seemed as though we'd never see a high moment ever again.
Working to keep our marriage afloat while dealing with pregnancy loss and infertility was very challenging. I got so caught up in discovering tips, reading books and seeking ways to create a baby that we lost sight of each other. It got to the point where being intimate wasn't spontaneous anymore. It wasn't making love anymore, it was baby making. Then once we started IVF treatments and medication, my emotions were unpredictable, I was moody and stressed. It's sad, I've known this issue to cause marriages to end.
By the grace of God, we persevered and pushed through. We didn't always want to pray, but we did. We didn't always want to talk to each other, but we did. How did we brave infertility and keep our marriage together?
Say "I Love You" Intentionally
Simple right? We had to be purposeful about verbally expressing our love to and for one another. It really helped deepen our relationship and opened the door for us to communicate. Hearing "I love you", knowing that my husband meant it, really gave me validation, confirmed that he understood me and made me feel appreciated.
Me, saying "I love you" to him, reminded me that we're in this together, that I needed him and that I couldn't be victorious without him. Intentionally saying "I love you" sometimes challenged me. It's what got me to think unselfishly. I wasn't the only one feeling pain, so I had to make sure he knew...that I knew...he was appreciated.
Talking, face to face, phones down in an intimate setting was a catalyst in us expressing our thoughts, repressed feelings of frustration and grief. Addressing what is going on with each other definitely brought about understanding for both of us. Communicating stopped us from making assumptions about the other's perspective and true feelings.
Infertility provokes mood swings and threw my husband for a loop. One minute I was happier than running downstairs on Christmas Day to open my Easy Bake Oven. The next minute, I'd see a Pampers commercial and weep uncontrollably to the point where I was inconsolable. Talking with my husband about how he felt having to deal with my unstable emotions, gave me insight and he learned how to be there for me during that time. God bless him, for real because I felt so sorry for him and I'm grateful that he even wanted to try to understand me better.
Pull Each Other In
Infertility is not a solo journey. I mean, I went through majority of the physical aspects of our infertility treatments: shots, tests, pills, needles, internal sonograms, sedation, weight gain, and insemination. He gave a sample and bless up for that, because that was a major key lol. But really, it's all about teamwork.
My husband risked his job: left early and arrived late to and from work to be sure he attended my appointments. The doctors often gave us negative updates, showed us below average statistics and charts, and constantly reminded me that I'm high risk and should prepare for the worst during our appointments. My husband responded by being silent, nodding his head and saying "thank you". I would stare blankly and then burst into tears as we got into our car. But it was my husband who held me tight, reminded me how 'God wouldn't lead us this far to leave us' and grab my hands as he prayed in the parking lot.
Being present for my appointments was key because by the time we got home and I was out of the fog of negativity, I had forgotten the advice from the doctor. My husband reminded me of my restrictions, he held down the cleaning and cooking (running to get me wings, fries and mumbo sauce), and making sure my injections were done right. Acknowledging his contributions strengthened our relationship.
Infertility will test your relationship in unexpected ways. There's no perfect formula to keeping your marriage rock solid but I know this is what worked for us as our marriage was on the rocks.