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One of the biggest lessons I learned during our journey is how important it is to be intentional about cultivating my marriage during infertility. This was especially true for Tom and I because we have such different personalities and temperaments, and we processed the experience in very different ways. We realized very quickly that infertility had the potential to tear us apart, so we made the decision that we would cultivate our marriage and that having a baby would not become more important.
But cultivating your marriage isn’t just important for helping you get through infertility. It’s a habit that will continue to serve you well in whatever season comes next– whether that’s pregnancy, adoption, childfree living, or another path.
So, how can we get into the habit of cultivating our marriages? Here are a few ideas:
Make time for a regular date night.
It’s cliche, but it’s so important. Dates don’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Simply taking the time to be together (and NOT talk about infertility) will help keep you strong. Make it a priority to plan and schedule dates together on a regular basis.
Tom and I recently signed up for DateBox and we really enjoyed our first box. It was a fun way to have a date night that went beyond the usual dinner-and-a-movie. (I don’t get any kind of kickback or commission for saying that; I just really think it’s a great service and wanted to share it with anyone who might be interested in it).
Seek counseling together.
Infertility involved a lot of complex emotions. Sometimes it’s difficult to sort through them on our own— especially if you throw in the hormones from medicated treatments. Tom and I saw therapists separately and together during infertility, and we continue to do so now.
I know therapy can be expensive. If money is an issue, ask the therapist if he or she offers a sliding scale or for a referral to someone who does. You can also inquire with local churches to see if they have any resources for lower-cost counseling.
Read books on marriage and discuss them together.
I think it’s so important to learn from people who have insight and wisdom about marriage. But many people have a hard time finding couples whose marriage they want to emulate. Fortunately, there are so many GREAT books on marriage. Some of my favorites are You and Me Forever by Francis & Lisa Chan, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver. I’ve also heard that The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller is outstanding.
No, I don’t mean you should take up bike riding! I mean that it’s a good idea to go through treatment cycles as a team. So often, it becomes something that the woman does alone. I know that not everyone has a flexible work schedule, but try to attend appointments together as often as possible. Get your hubby involved in giving you your shots, or reminding you to take your medications. Plan extra dates and time together during treatments.
Give Each Other Grace
Infertility is hard. Marriage is hard. Put the two together and you’re bound to have rough moments. Give each other as much grace as possible.
How have you cultivated your marriage during infertility? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!