Infertility is really hard on couples — emotionally, physically, financially. All the ways. It’s hard. One Danish study reported that couples who pursue fertility treatments that fail are three times more likely to get divorced.
I’m grateful this has not been our experience. We’re a stronger couple for having navigated this hardship together.
We’re better at naming our needs and accepting help.
I try not to be too proud to receive help, but I much prefer being the helper. Infertility and the associated medical treatments have left me in a position where accepting help from my husband isn’t optional. After I had my most recent surgery, I could barely do anything for myself for a week. I felt so guilty relying on my husband to take care of my every need, and I felt bad for him having to juggle that plus work and everything home-related. He demonstrated how much he loves me by the amazing care he provided in those times.
We’re also both much more quick to ask for what we need from each other. Whether we’re feeling blue about something and need some extra quality time or just want the other person to listen while we vent, we don’t expect the other person to read our minds. Neither of us happen to be telepaths, so discussing how we’re feeling and what we need has been very useful. 😉
We’ve increased our emotional intimacy.
I shared recently about the lies infertile people tell themselves
and some ways we’ve moved beyond them. These lies (and the 500 others I didn’t write about) have the power to ruin us if we believe them and continue to play them over and over in our heads.
Infertility forced us to confront these lies, throwing away the untruths and then building each other back up with love. It’s been a messy process, but we’re both much more in tune with who we really are — our strengths and weaknesses. Infertility has forced us to be more vulnerable and as a result deepened our emotional intimacy.
We’re less attached to our plans.
Before we were married, we discussed having 5 children. We’d get pregnant right away and would be done having children by the time I was in my mid 30’s. We wanted to live in our current house for 3-5 years and then move into something bigger to accommodate a growing family. I’d be a stay-at-home mom or work part time to be the primary caregiver for our kids.
Obviously none of this has happened.
Letting go of my expectations for our future has been one of the hardest parts of our infertility journey for me. Harder than all the shots, the medications, the surgeries, the insensitive comments, the insurance paper work, and the baby showers combined.
I work every day to try to be more detached from the plans we made for our lives, focusing on where the Lord is actually leading us instead. In doing so, I’ve learned expectations can be a source of a lot of heartache. Now our hearts are more open to God’s plan for us than ever, and we’ve been clumsily feeling around to find that path together.
What are some of the ways infertility or other hardships have strengthened your marriage?