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How Infertility Can Destroy a Happy Marriage

People who are trying to have children but struggling to do so experience a lot of stress, emotion and pressure. When you and your spouse are struggling with infertility, it can take over your marriage, create habits that can destroy your happiness, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Some couples even find that their relationships are strengthened because they faced this difficulty together. Be aware of the following destructive behaviours that can hurt your marriage during this challenging time.

You Stop Protecting Each Other

People love babies and when they see a couple who has been together for awhile, some can’t help but start asking questions or making comments: When are you guys going to have a baby? You two would have such a beautiful child. You can sign me up for babysitting. These comments might be well-meaning, but if you’re trying to conceive and are struggling, these seemingly innocent words can sting.

Always keep in mind that although you and your partner are going through this struggle together, you may have different needs and different impulses, depending on your personality. Maybe you are an “open book” and feel comfortable sharing your struggles with friends and family members. Before you start revealing anything, pause and make sure you discuss this with your partner. He might feel that infertility is too personal to share with others or feel embarrassment if others are aware of their struggle.

A couple dealing with infertility needs to plan responses together so that they can protect each other when insensitive comments are made, or awkward questions arise. By sensing each other’s discomfort and stepping in, you can navigate the harsh waters that other people may create. If not sharing your feelings makes you feel isolated, you need to share that with your partner as well. Maybe you can compromise and only share details with one close confidante or look into seeing a therapist.

You Let Desperation Come In

Desperation can erode a happy marriage pretty quickly. Putting all your efforts, hopes, time and attention into achieving something that is not under your control is a sure-fire way to put your marriage into jeopardy.

Infertility can make a couple desperate because they feel as if they are “working against the clock,” whether that clock is tied to financial limitations, getting older, or other factors.

Before you and your spouse make big decisions, agree to banish desperation from your home. Remember that when you go to your infertility treatment appointments, you will both be okay, and life will go on regardless of what the news is. You may have a long road ahead of you and staying positive and practicing gratitude in other areas of life can be a big help.

Your World Narrows Too Much

Some parents don’t think of anything outside of their kids; you might notice that their conversations are always about the kids. This can be the case for people who struggle with infertility, too. Before you realize it, all your conversations with your spouse or others revolve around children and what you are doing to have one. It is not healthy to be that single-minded.

As much as you want to add children to your life, you cannot let this become the sole focus of your world. Enjoy what comes with not having children, for example, taking that trip you both always wanted to go on, sleeping in on the weekends, or hosting adult get-togethers. Allowing yourself time for socializing, hobbies and conversations about different topics will also help minimize your stress. Obsessing over getting pregnant and constantly worrying over elements that you can’t control isn’t healthy for you or for your marriage.

You Allow Communication to Shut Down

Stress, hopelessness, negative emotions – all of these can shut down the communication between you and your spouse. However, it’s vital that those lines stay open. No decisions about treatment will ever be easy, so you must be able to talk openly and continually to each other to get through this period. One partner may be feeling responsible for the fertility challenges, leaving them to fear that the other will leave them for someone who can give them a child. You shouldn’t just live with the fear that your partner may leave and never say anything. It can be scary to bring up difficult topics, but you’ll feel relief when your partner offers you reassurance. Talking through your feelings is a cornerstone of any solid marriage.

None of the habits above must take root in your marriage. Although being unable to have a child is a difficult experience, you and your spouse can still have a solid marriage by being mindful of how this issue can impact your relationship and interactions with each other. As you explore your infertility treatment options together, make a real commitment to stay strong and work as a team during this time. Don’t let infertility rob you of your marriage.