Today’s post is a guest post by Ally from The Speckled Goat. You can read more about her infertility story in an interview I did with her a few months ago.
Three years ago, as I walked down the aisle towards that man I love, I knew that marriage was more than tulle and diamonds, roses and soft lighting.
I knew that we were going to face conflicts, arguments, hurts, tough stuff. I knew it.
But honestly, I had no idea that one of those tough things would be infertility.
I really had no idea.
We all have difficult things that shape the face of our marriages- and my husband and I made a very conscious effort to use this hard season of infertility to shape our marriage for the better.
Infertility has made our marriage stronger.
When we were dating and while we were engaged, my husband and I took several week-long motorcycle trips- camping along the way and carrying everything we needed with us.
It was always an incredible adventure- in part, I think, because it was just us.
On the road, it was just me and him- the two of us against the world.
Of course, now that we’re married and have jobs, commitments, and bigger responsibilities, it doesn’t usually feel like us against the world anymore. More often, it seems like us against… each other. Arguments and who’s turn it is to do the dishes can really disrupt the sense of unity in our marriage.
Infertility changed that for us.
Once again, it’s the two of us, united to solve our fertility issues, united to work together towards health and hopefully a baby someday.
Just like in any marriage, one thing is true- my husband can’t read my mind, and I can’t read his.
Unfortunate, I know.
I really thought that our communication skills were pretty good, but infertility made it clear how much more we need to clearly express our needs and desires to one another. Infertility is so charged with emotion. It’s easy to miscommunicate when we’re upset or angry or embarrassed. All the extra hormones flying around make that communication even more important.
We’ve also had to communicate what we want for our family, what’s best for us in terms of treatment, and with whom we’re going to share our infertility journey. These deep, meaningful conversations have made our marriage stronger.
I remember one afternoon, after another particularly painful disappointment, my husband came home to me sulking sadly.
“I’m sad,” I said, glumly.
“Yeah… I know,” he replied. “I feel like you’re always sad. And it makes me feel like I’m not enough, like I don’t do enough to make you happy.”
I’d never really considered how my feelings were making him feel. And it was so good for me to realize that my emotions strongly affected him.
I tend to be the “feeler” in our marriage, where he’s more practically minded. That means that sometimes, he doesn’t understand my reactions to comments or disappointments that come with the infertility territory. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care. He’s just dealing with it differently.
We’re learning to not only have empathy for one another, but we’re also learning to accept the fact that we need different things. He’s learning to hug and comfort instead of fix, and I’m learning to slow down, and think it through before jumping into the next thing.
The bottom line is this. We never expected infertility to be part of our love story. We, like many couples, expected that our marriage would include lots of babies and diapers and snotty noses, and a lot less charting and doctors appointments.
Infertility sucks. It just sucks. But look hard enough, and you will find some silver linings. In our case, infertility has made us (and our marriage) stronger.
This post is linked up with several blog hops. You can see everywhere I link up here.