Honouring Your Spouse Regardless of the Infertility
Infertility is hard on marriage. You signed up to a life-long commitment with your spouse, most likely unaware of any fertility issues. It’s not until months into the excitement of wanting to grow your family that the issue might reveal itself.
But it’s not in the beginning stages or even when you hear that awful confirmation of your infertility that the testing and trial really sinks in. It hits in the quiet months and years ahead when you’re reeling from the information and aren’t sure what to do next; it’s in the murky middle of the waiting. The time when you are solely reliant on God to give you direction in how to proceed. And it’s in this season where the conflicts in these marriages can really surface.
The fog of the unknowns makes you want to grasp for anything secure. The testing of your faith in this trial is challenging as you’re looking for validation and assurance of your worth. Being a father or mother is one of the most natural and expected positions to hold in life. What if you never have a son to carry the family name? Or a daughter to love tenderly? What if you can never again connect with your best friend in the same way because her kids are growing and you no longer have a major life development in common. Your spouse no longer holds that security or validation to provide that for you.
Here’s the thing, your spouse never did anyway. The Lord brought you two together full well knowing whether you would conceive and bear children or not. He created your bodies and their abilities. Your spouse can’t help it if she or he doesn’t have the right working functions to produce a child for you. Please take that expectation off him/her.
Remember your First Love, Jesus, first and foremost. Regardless of whether He will provide biological or adopted children for you, He has the right plans laid out for you. Trust me, I know that is confusing and doesn’t feel assuring at times. But, some day when the emotions wane from this, you’ll realize it’s true.
Secondly, remember all the reasons you love and respect your spouse, regardless of any family planning situation. What is it about his or her personality for which you are grateful? What do you enjoy doing together? Why did you first love your spouse? Why fight for him/her?
You didn’t marry your spouse just so you could procreate and fill the earth with children. Sure, it may have been a part of the plan, but it’s not why you got married. It may be hard to remember or feel all the good stuff right now. If that’s the case, make time where you block out everything else. Sit down with paper and a pen, and start writing the first thoughts that come to mind. It could even be basic things from today. What did he/she do that was kind? Funny? Totally fitting to his/her personality? Dedicated to work? To taking care of his/her body? Spending time with the Lord? Write anything at all. Then work backwards. Take these thoughts all the way back to when you first met. It might be a really extensive list, or it might be a highlighted memory from each year you’ve been together. These are only things you love and respect about your spouse, not anything negative.
Then, I want you to pause and read everything over again. Let all those beautiful moments and attributes fill your heart. Praise the Lord for all these things. Praise Him for all the precious moments you’ve shared together, the beautiful things your spouse has done for the Lord and for you. Sit in that moment of appreciation.
Then, get a new page out and write a commitment of how you’re going to choose to fight for your husband/wife. Is it a daily commitment to pray for him or her? To plan and execute a date once a week or every other week? Of taking active time to listen to your spouse’s day? To plan a dreaming session together for your future (without kids in the conversation)? What does that all look like for you and your spouse?
What is something you can do together as a couple to build that lost connection? Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Workout or play some kind of sport
- Go for a daily walk
- Do renovations
- Build something
- Pay off debt
- Find creative ways to bless others
Don’t pick something like a vacation that is far off in the distance. Choose things that you can do together on a consistent basis. The more you do these things, the better connection you’ll make, and the more things you’ll have to talk about beyond the scope of family.
Eventually, when you need to have those conversations of what’s next for your family, it might still leave a sting in your heart, but it won’t be devastating for your marriage because you have other things to look forward to. It’s like the idea of, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” If all you focus on is growing your family, you’ll lose sight of everything else, especially your spouse.
By doing these things, like writing down what you love about your spouse, and finding common things you can do together on a consistent basis that you both enjoy, you’ll more naturally want to honour your spouse because you’ll see him/her in a better, more healthy perspective.
In anything, you can become narrow-minded and stuck if you relentlessly focus on one thing. It’ll drown you in despair and foster a heart of bitterness for not getting what you want. You won’t just lose your relationship with your spouse; bitterness will seep into your other relationships as well. Choose to look to Christ for help to soften and heal your heart, bring peace, and strengthen your marriage.
Pray for your spouse and find ways to show your love and respect for him/her, even if you don’t feel like it. Then give praise for even the smallest moments of enjoyment you share together, and continue to do so as they build. The Lord will take you out of this valley at some point. What better way than linking arms with Him and your spouse together?