13:What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger: Infertility & Marriage

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Posted: February 11, 2018 by Ashley Ogle

They say infertility can either make or break a marriage. It can either bring you and your spouse closer together, or it can tear you apart. Taylor and I have been married for 2 years, and we are walking through the hardest trail we have yet to face. Our marriage was going through something we weren’t used to and something we could not control. You were NEVER supposed to struggle in your first few years of marriage, right? This could not be happening. Everything was supposed to be perfect according to every movie I’ve ever seen. Insert rolling laughter here.

The day we were married was the happiest day of my life. Cliché, I know, but it’s true. It was so FUN. While we were exchanging our vows, we took three strands and braided them together to illustrate Ecclesiastes 4:12. My uncle officiated our wedding and he explained the meaning of this braid. Two of the strands were gold and the third was white. The two gold strands stood for Taylor and I, and the white represented the Lord. Since I was a little girl, I prayed for a marriage that would be centered on the Lord, and the braid illustrated that prayer beautifully. I often daydream about that day, each moment of it, and wish I could go back in time and relive it.

Marriage
Taylor and I on our Wedding Day

While everything felt as if it was falling apart around us, we clung to each other and to the word. Our cord of three strands was not easily broken. On the outside you could see doctor appointments, tears, tests, and at times, defeat. You could see me saying hurtful things I didn’t mean. You could see me feeling hopeless and sad. You could easily see one big, fat, hot mess. But inside our house, this pain was bringing us closer together in ways I would have never imagined. We were praying together often. Not just before meals, but throughout the day. Before bed, Taylor was laying his hands on my stomach and pouring his heart out before the Lord. Taylor would send me scripture when I was struggling to encourage me. He would sit with me in the room of our future nursery and hold me as I shouted out through tears in prayer. He would reach out to the prayer warriors in his life and ask them to pray for us. He would pray when I just couldn’t. He took off work to go to every appointment with me and never once complained. When I couldn’t see the light, Taylor was there holding it. When I was weak, he was strong. My love for Taylor was growing so much.

Often times, we try to avoid struggle at all costs. We don’t want our loved ones to have bad days. We want to keep the peace no matter how bad it hurts us. We are constantly covering pain with kindness and putting on a brave face. We run from conflict, flee criticism, and avoid reality. But the truth is, struggle is necessary for growth. Spiritual growth. Professional growth. Growth in our relationships. Growth in ourselves. Look at it this way: if you’re struggling, you are growing. I promise! In fact, the bible tells us to REJOICE in our troubles. Celebrate them! Why? Because suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts (Romans 5: 3-5). Want some more verses that bring this point home? Try 2 Corinthians 12:10, James 1:2-3, and James 1:12.

Instead of looking at this situation with doom and gloom and hopelessness, we were called to celebrate it. We were supposed to look at it with pure joy. That’s crazy right? It’s actually not. The worse things got, the closer Taylor and I became. The Lord was constantly renewing us and changing our hearts. Each day, we had to learn to surrender to Him. We told the Lord we were opened to anything He had (which was by far the hardest thing EVER)- having a baby, adopting, fostering- whatever He wanted. We were joining closer and closer together and closer to the Lord, and the feeling was indescribable. Had we not gone through this trail, would we have had a reason to pray together so fervently?

infertility marriage
Two months into dating- One of the first pictures we ever took!

One afternoon, Taylor got home from work and was talking to me while I was cooking dinner. Taylor commutes 45 minutes to work during the week and he often uses that time to listen to podcasts and pray. This particular day, Taylor had a confession to make to me. I remember sitting down at the kitchen table and listening to him while he ever so sweetly opened up to me. He shared that he had been talking with God lately and feeling that maybe the waiting part was okay. Maybe it should last a little longer. He and I were growing so much closer together. As a couple, we were growing so much closer to the Lord, and we could really feel His presence. He didn’t want that to end anytime soon, so maybe we needed to continue waiting. Taylor told me he felt really bad for praying this, because he didn’t think it was fair to me. He knew how badly I wanted a baby and how hard the waiting was for me.

Every word Taylor was saying out loud spoke to every feeling I had been feeling as well. This was insane. Why would we both ask God to make us wait longer? Surely we were crazy. Or maybe we weren’t. Maybe we were actually enjoying this time together. The pain was real and it hurt, but we were seeing the Lord so clearly through this that we didn’t want it to end. That’s how amazing our God is. His very presence is enough. We just wanted to feel closer and closer to Him, even if that meant we had to wait longer.

James 1:2-3
James 1:2-3

If you’re reading this and are feeling like you are in the “break” category of infertility making or breaking your marriage, I want to encourage you to reach out to those around you that are mature believers. I’m certainly no expert on any of this, but I can offer my own experience. The minute Taylor and I began sharing our struggle, instead of keeping it a secret, we felt we were able to breath again. Secondly, I encourage you to pray. On your knees. Multiple times together. Pray alone in a quiet room. Pray together with your husband holding hands. Do not stop praying! I know personally, when things get hard, I want to stop praying. I tell myself I don’t have the energy. I have to make myself pray even if I don’t feel like praying, and the more I do that, the more I actually want to pray. Thirdly, be patient with your spouse. Ladies, I’m really talking to you here. The men really get the short end of the stick when it comes to infertility. Their wives are emotional all the time. They want to fix our problems, but in this unique case, they can’t. Our men are often times hurting as bad as we are, yet they feel they aren’t allowed to break down, because they have to be strong for us.If they cry, they know it will make us cry even more.  Maybe right now your husband doesn’t agree with the medical suggestions your doctor has given. Maybe he doesn’t feel comfortable with treatment. Maybe you’re feeling like he doesn’t care. Regardless of the reason for the “break” category, try your best to offer grace and patience. It’s hard on both of you. If you’re in this category now, I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email, find me on Instagram or Facebook, and share with me! I’d love to commit to pray for you! Don’t give infertility the chance to break your marriage!

 

Infertility and marriage

 

Love always,

 

 

 

 

 

Want to continue reading? Click on the following links for my most popular posts:

Appointed Time- Lessons from Elizabeth on Waiting Through Infertility 

Our Ebenezer Jar- Visible Prayer

Waving the White Flag, Surrendering Control 

 

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