Infertility – Shaking Things Up
Alright all you beautiful couples. Valentine’s Day is approaching. What are you going to do?
I’ll admit right off the start that Michael and I aren’t ones to get crazy with this occasion. We have my birthday in January, our anniversary in February, and we regularly go on dates, so we don’t feel it’s needed. However, with that being said, we’ll do it the odd year because it’s always a great excuse for a date. Which leads me to this question – When was the last time you went on a date with your spouse?
Dates can vary in length, depth, and style, and they are very important no matter how long you’ve been married. Why? Because it keeps the romance and intimacy going. Why is that important? That’s where communication, unity, and growth take place.
As couples, we can get lost in the humdrum of routine. We get up, go to work, have dinner, and then either have a bunch of things to do after, or flop lazily on the couch until bed. Responsibilities can feel weighty at times and the last thing you want to do is get dressed up and plan another event with each other.
You’ve already got a feeling of security and safety in your spouse. He/she knows “the good, bad, and ugly,” as they say. So, why can’t you be comfortable around them? They know all the demands on you. Surely, they will give you grace if you skip another date night this month.
Then you throw infertility into the mix. The confusion of the unknown and the demand you put on yourself to try and make a baby wear on the passion and intimacy you felt at the beginning of your marriage. The thought of dating has lost all appeal and you don’t know if you’ll ever get that spark back or not.
I’m here to say you definitely will – if you’re wiling to put the work into it. It will take dedication and discipline. It’ll mean doing things for your spouse when you really don’t feel like it. You may not feel beautiful or handsome anymore. Do it anyway.
Something will happen when you do. The more effort you put into dating your spouse, the more confident you’ll be in yourself and the intimacy in your marriage will return. So, how do you do it?
First thing – Pray together. Ask the Lord for help to rekindle the intimacy that’s been lost. Ask Him to help you get creative in dating one another again. The Lord loves marriage and wants to help you in this, but it’ll take seeking Him first to get that help and support.
Second thing – Study your spouse. Ask questions again. What does he like to do? This changes over time. What is she interested in right now? Is there a hobby you two could do together? What characteristics have changed in each of you? What made you interested in your spouse in the first place? Are there new things you like do to and admire about each other now? Is there something your spouse has always wanted to do but never tried? Your spouse should be second priority in your life, so make sure to study him like he is.
Third thing – Have fun! If it’s been a while since you’ve gone on a date, start small. It doesn’t need to be big or elaborate. How about picking your wife up and taking her out on a random coffee date? How about going tobogganing or building a snow fort? You’ve still got that child-like spirit deep down. If it’s summer, grab a football or baseball and play catch. Go to the beach and pack a picnic. Read a book to your spouse.
It can be the regular, simple, and surprising things that make the most special dates. It gives a space to have fun, connect, and talk away from all other distractions. Turn your phones off and enjoy some one-on-one time.
It doesn’t have to always lead to a conversation either. Implement “side-by-side” time. Emmerson and Sarah Eggerich explain this in their Love and Respect series. Men especially love this. It’s a time when verbal communication isn’t necessary. You do something together like hunting or building something where words aren’t required. This will bring great enjoyment to your husband, and it’ll give you time to observe him and understand more of how he works as well.
Then, every once in a while, surprise your spouse with a grander event. Get dressed up and go out to a fancy restaurant. Book a night in a hotel. Take a relaxing or adventurous vacation.
I think one of Michael’s favourite dates I surprised him with was a night out to a local hotel. I got home from work before him and quickly packed our suitcase. I hid it in the trunk of the car, along with his baseball gear as he had a tournament the next day. I mentioned I wanted to take him for a drive when he got home. We hopped in the car and I drove to a nearby city. I pulled into the hotel parking lot and grabbed our stuff out of the trunk. He was shocked and then very excited. We found a nice restaurant for dinner and relaxed back at the hotel afterwards. Just the thought and surprise of it was enough for him.
Sometimes you need to shake up your routines and have fun. It’s healthy for your marriage and will strengthen it. It shows your spouse that you still care and are thinking about him/her on a regular basis. Do the things you know will make your spouse feel special. It may not be that she reciprocates the efforts right away. Keep going and do the work on your part. Eventually, if your spouse doesn’t start initiating anything ever, don’t give up or get angry. Just ask them to consider planning one for you. Don’t put expectations on him. It may take a while, but in time, it’ll be worth it.
I keep thinking about the movie Fireproof while writing this post. If you’re struggling in your marriage for various reasons, watch that movie and be encouraged that hard work and diligent efforts are worth it in the long run. Marriage and intimacy are recoverable. Put the work into it that’s needed. Love and respect your spouse, and have fun again!