Written by
Anita McDermith

How a Marriage can Survive Infertility

Published on 
July 7, 2023

There is so much beauty in the way God created human beings. He not only chose to
make us individually unique but also made our counterpart physically different. Men and
women are made to balance and complement one another as one. Therefore, we see in
scripture that God brought them together and then spoke the very first command over
them, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). These God breathed words are a part of our
very being. It is etched into our heart, and has led to a deep, aching, and yearning desire
to be fulfilled. When a couple is unable to multiply and have children it’s a devastating
blow as it seems like an attack on the one thing that has been engraved within our very
being. It is an overwhelming pain that rocks every part of you from emotionally, mentally,
physically to even spiritually. It’s a deep void that leaves a person willing to seek answers
or options that will fulfill what only they feel will satisfy: a child.

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or unable to carry a child full term. This
can happen when trying for the first baby or the first child may have been a success while
the second has more difficulty. When a couple desires to become parents and then finds
out they may not ever be able to have biological children it can rock them to the core,
which may result in a marriage that becomes shaky and unstable. The setbacks and
obstacles of infertility can push a marriage to its absolute limits. When a couple has
children as an integral part of the vision they have for their lives and then it becomes
challenged, it can be detrimental to their marriage. Therefore, when a couple receives
this devastating news, what could they do to protect their union as husband and wife?

Stand Together! Do Not Blame!

When a couple goes to see a specialist about whether or not they are infertile both the
man and woman are tested. It is then that a couple finds out where the cause of the
problem stems from. This could cause a person to cast blame, which would result in
division and bitterness. No matter the results stand together, as a united front, and as
one. Pointing a finger at someone helps no one because that person will already feel
guilty. Blaming can cause a marriage to crumble as it not only makes things worse but
adds to the already low self-esteem. Instead of accusing, come at it with a “we”
perspective by standing on the truth that, “we will get through this together.”

Give Grace while Grieving

The grieving process bounces around these five stages, in no particular order: denial,
anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This process and the way a person
copes can look differently for every person. However, infertility can lead you down a road
of grief that jumps from anger, doubt to hope, especially when undergoing treatment. The
disappointing attempt time and time again can way heavy on a person. Therefore, offering
grace and support can bring comfort. However, this too could look differently for each
spouse. What would make you feel the most supported, a hug, a listening ear, being left
alone, or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? As time goes on, you’ll begin to recognize what the
other needs and it may need to simply begin with, “What can I do for you today?”

Make Informed Decisions Together

As difficult as it may be, talking about your treatment options objectively could help you
make a wiser decision. However there also needs to be space for an open and honest
conversation about how to handle moving forward. Regardless of what decision is made
be sure to always be on the same page. Check-in with one another as you proceed
through treatments and discuss how far you both are willing to go to conceive a child.
There are so many options available to couples that are infertile, however from the very
beginning you must know where you both stand as well as be completely informed.
Always know each other’s boundaries.

Encourage One Another

Infertility is a journey no couple asks for but unfortunately, at times, it can be the hand
they were dealt. It’s a hard road for both husband and wife. So, become one another’s
greatest encourager by finding ways and words to be kind. Notice your spouse and
comment on what is good and positive in your life. Think about and discuss the love you
have for one another and remind each other that they are not alone. Desiring a child can
cause some overwhelming emotions but through it all put your relationship first, don’t
forget about each other. As hard as it may be, focus on the needs of your spouse above
your own. Love each other well through this deep valley and once you’re on the other side
your marriage will be stronger.

Keep the Spark Alive

Wanting to do whatever it takes to have a child may mean the spontaneity of your sex life
could become more rigid and scheduled. It could lead to sex becoming a way to produce
an outcome, no longer enjoyable but a chore to hopefully see results. One of the best and
most beautiful parts of being married is being intimate, as making love can breed a deeper
and passionate love for one another. Preserve your sex life by removing the pressures
and doing it even when pregnancy isn’t a possibility. Be intimate with your husband and
wife simply because you love them.

Infertility isn’t a walk in the park, but it also doesn’t need to leave your marriage in
shambles. In the midst of such heartache lean on God, we see this with Hannah in 1
Sam.1:10 as she cried out to God in her anguish. Trust in God’s ways, lean on His
understanding and know “that God causes everything to work together for the good of
those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Rom. 8:28). Even
when the answers are unclear and you grow weary from the rough terrain, run to God, let
Him lead you, guide you, and hold you, because ultimately it is through Him that you will
get to the other side with your marriage intact and stronger than ever.

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