Infertility and Divorce – How to Know if You Can Save Your Marriage


Couples who are coping with infertility often feel overwhelmed with grief or anger. Sometimes divorce seems like the only option, especially if one or both partners had their hearts set on having children. Can you save your marriage, or is it too late?

There is no one sure way to know if you’re on the road to divorce because of infertility, but these thoughts from a marriage expert and bestselling author might help.

“If you are considering leaving because your marriage is difficult, and you want a quick fix and think the grass is greener on the other side, I ask you to stay and commit fully until you feel that you have put in the work that your marital commitment deserves,” says Susan Pease Gadoua, author of Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go. “Do everything in your power to work things out with your spouse.”

If you thinking about divorce because of infertility, read Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go by Gadoua – it’s a wonderful resources for couples with marriage problems.

And, read on for some suggestions that might help you figure out if you can save your marriage, or if divorce might be the better option…

Saving Your Marriage From Divorce After Infertility

Uncovering your motives for wanting to save your marriage – or get a divorce – is key to making the right decision. The reasons you stay married can be less important than your underlying motives for staying married. For couples coping with infertility, it can be even more complicated and painful to think about divorce versus saving your marriage.

Here are some misguided reasons for staying married, plus an explanation of the motives that keep a marriage together (or drive it apart!). For more info about infertility and divorce, read How Infertility Can Affect Your Marriage.

Misguided reasons for staying in a bad marriage:

  • Money and security
  • Love (marriage requires much more than love to be workable)
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Comfort and familiarity
  • Pain avoidance
  • Maintaining friendships and relationships with relatives (such as in-laws)
  • Keeping up appearances
  • Keeping promises

“These misconceptions keep couples in unfulfilling or unhappy marriages, and are based on what I consider to be impure reasoning,” writes Gadoua in Contemplating Divorce. “But what is a good reason to stay or go? This is subjective territory…every one of the above misguided reasons can be a perfectly valid reason to stay. This is where the motive piece comes in.”

If you suffered through a miscarriage and your reason for leaving is because your spouse didn’t support you, read 5 Places to Find Support for Pregnancy Loss.

Move Towards a Goal

Moving towards a goal can be a healthy reason (motive) to save your marriage. For instance, the goal of working through your grief over infertility and thoughts of divorce, and making it to the other side with your spouse, could be a healthy reason to stay married. Infertility and divorce don’t always go hand in hand – but if you want to build a happy marriage, you need to work through the underlying pain, blame, or guilt about infertility.



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On the other hand, moving away from pain or unpleasantness is not a healthy a reason to stay married. Here are two examples of fear-based reasons for wanting to save a marriage: “No one will ever love me like this again” or “I’m staying because I’m afraid I won’t be able to support myself financially” are fear-based reasons.

Are you trying to save your marriage because you’re afraid of unpleasantness or the possible consequences of divorce? That may not be the best reason to stay married – and perhaps then getting divorced is a better option.

Factors That Will Help You Save Your Marriage

  • Mutual love and trust
  • Honesty
  • Sense of emotional, mental, physical, and financial safety
  • Good communication
  • Care and concern for each other
  • Kindness
  • Fidelity
  • Shared interests
  • Commitment to the marriage from both spouses
  • Reciprocal partnership
  • Self-esteem and esteem from spouse
  • Mutual respect
  • Common goals

If these factors don’t exist in your marriage, then it’ll require more work to stay married – especially if you’re mourning a broken dream that infertility represents. Not getting pregnant (infertility) is a major loss in life, and it can ruin a relationship forever.

But wait, there’s good news! 

Infertility Divorce How to Know if You Can Save Your Marriage

My husband and I have been married for over 13 years. We were diagnosed with infertility (read How to Help Your Husband Deal With Azoospermia for our story), and have a healthy, happy marriage today.

Our relationship isn’t the result of anything we did. Rather, it was our faith in God that helped us work through the pain and grief, and find healing and joy in Jesus.

This is just a brief, basic overview of the possibilities surrounding divorce, infertility, and staying married. Gadoua goes into much more detail in Contemplating Divorce – it’s a great book that belongs on the shelf of all married couples. She discusses how to rebuild marriages in practical ways. 

If you think it’s too late to save your relationship from divorce, read Healing Your Heart After Your Marriage Falls Apart.

What do you think, how do you feel? I welcome your thoughts on infertility, divorce, and your marriage below. Feel free to share your story – you may find that writing brings a sense of clarity and insight you didn’t have before.

May you be blessed with God’s peace, joy and love. I pray for healing and freedom from pain and suffering. Seek Jesus with all your heart, and you will find everything you need for a deep, meaningful life.

With His love,

Laurie

xo


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9 thoughts on “Infertility and Divorce – How to Know if You Can Save Your Marriage

  • Laurie Post author

    I’m so sorry you have to cope with infertility and divorce. It’s a very difficult season of life, and there are no easy ways to find healing or resolution. And there aren’t any surefire ways to know if you can save your marriage, or if it’s too late! Even if one partner wants to leave or requests a separation, reconciliation and rebuilding is always possible.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray for healing in your marriage — as well as your body! May you find strength and power as you seek God’s will for your life. May you seek His face and presence, and learn who Jesus is apart from your desire to have a baby. May you build a strong relationship with God, and may you know the comfort and counsel of the Holy Spirit.

    With His love,
    Laurie

  • Josephine

    I’ve read a lot of these articles. My husband is leaving me because I’ve had 3 miscarriages and currently undergoing a 4th miscarriage. And he wants children, simple as that. Even though I was also devastated about loosing the babies I could cope as I had my husband. Now I feel worthless, useless and don’t see any point in life. We left having children to later,his choice, as he was not working for a few years. I helped him so much through it all finiancially, emotionally, physically did overtime to support him. I couldn’t afford testing or treatment due to that. I feel devastated and wonder if I was just being used now. I still love him and would take him back in a heartbeat but I can’t compete with imaginary unborn future children.

  • Jose

    Ok, I know I will sound like an a-hole or what have you but this is my perspective on this. My wife and I have been married almost 3 years now and when we found out that we could not conceive it was devastating. I have a decent job and she works for her parents but still what was put into savings was spent because of poor money management. I will file for divorce because we just don’t have anything in common anymore and our goals and hopes and dreams aren’t the same anymore. I married her knowing she had a newborn son but she always throws it in my face that she didn’t have a problem having him until she met me. That was before we found out we could conceive children without ivf. So about this article I believe that it is both fair and just for a couple to divorce if their dreams included children of their own to raise, and not adopted kids because that is a whole nother debate, and cherish and love the whole idea of the pregnancy and watching life being created inside the mother gets ruined (for lack of a better word) because of infertility).

  • Kouri

    Ramona I’m in the same boat as you. That’s a hard one esp. if money and time was spent actually going thru the IVF process. IVF can leave a couple financially and emontionally wrecked. We never will be able to get the money up for any ivf/iui what have you. I have pcos and I have had several surgeries to try to correct my disorder. My husbsnad however won’t even consider getting a verocile repair. I’m so tired of it. I ‘ve thought about getting a divorce. I feel like a huge experiment and my husband is just sitting there laughing at my pain. He’s older then me and i don’t think he understands the urgency I feel i’m in my mid 30’s and i sware my biological clock is screaming. Honestly I don’t think he understands that just because we concieved once and only by chance, and it ended in very early m/c that some how it’s all my fault and he’s “fine”. He won’t do anything to help himself he won’t quit smoking, or eating crap or work out a litttle. Me I’ve gotten a lapand lost almost 100 pounds since we started this whole infertiltiy mess, had sevral painful surgeries on my lady bits and been to one gyn after another. I’m so tired of it and he don’t seem to understand the pain I feel. We can’t even talk anymore and even our intamacy is gone. It’s like we don’t relate anymore and it sucks. I want to leave and i think he feels it too.

  • Laurie Post author

    SoumZub, thank you for that tip! I haven’t heard of the film, but think we couples coping with infertility need all the help we can get. It’s really hard on a marriage. My husband and I aren’t getting divorced (that I know of!), but we do mourn not having kids.

  • SoumZub

    watch this film “The b.a.b.y.m.a.k.e.r.s” u’l have an idea how to save your marriage due to infertility…

    if ur husband really loves u he should accept the way you are watever the situation is!! thats the meaning of true LOVE!!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Ramona,

    I am SO sorry for missing your comment! I don’t know how it got past me. If you’re still around, let me know how things are going — I’d be glad to give you my input.

    And Diana, thanks for your tip on infertility and divorce. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

    Laurie
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog ..7 Cheap Ways to Lose Weight and Save Money on Your Workouts =-.

  • diana@divorce and kids

    One of the several things you can get done to avoid a divorce and save your marriage is to discern the source of the crisis. You must sit down and reflect on what led to the present demand for a divorce between you and the person you have always respected and desire to share your future with.

  • Ramona

    I think my husband and I will get a divorce because I can’t get pregnant. Can a couple live together and be happy after trying and failing to have children for 9 years?

    thanks for your advice,
    Ramona