Fertility treatments may be harder on a marriage than money problems! These marriage tips for couples coping with infertility will help you and your spouse strengthen your relationship.
Infertility and relationships don’t always mesh well; in fact, infertility can take over a woman or man’s life, emotions, and thoughts. Her inability to conceive a baby – or his inability to get her pregnant – can affect how they feel about themselves, their lives, and their marriage.
Here’s how one woman coped with infertility in her relationship:
“I knew what I was doing,” says 36 year old Jeanette. “I could feel myself pushing him away. I was cold, distant, and not very nice. At the time, I felt like I was doing the right thing – the only fair thing in an unfair situation – giving him a way out if he needed it.” ~ from What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant: The Complete Guide to All the Technologies for Couples Facing Fertility Problems (an extremely helpful book for couples faced with infertility).
Infertility – and fertility treatments – affect marriages in different ways. Some couples separate and get divorced, while other couples find ways to build a stronger, healthier, better relationship.
Here are five ways to keep your marriage strong during the stress of infertility…
How to Keep Your Marriage Strong Through Infertility Treatments
Use “I” statements when talking about your relationship
Here’s a common marriage issue for couples coping with infertility: women may feel like their partners don’t care about trying to get pregnant or continuing fertility treatments. In this case, it’s important to avoid using the word “you.” Instead, say “I feel alone and scared when I think about our struggle to get pregnant. I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who cares.”
Focusing on your feelings (as opposed to making your partner feel defensive), is an important way to keep your marriage strong in infertility.
Empathize with your partner’s feelings
My husband and I are have accepted that we won’t have kids, and we’ve managed to keep our marriage strong. This is partly because we try to understand where each other is coming from. For instance, I think I understand how difficult not getting pregnant is for him (he comes from a big family, and he’s always wanted kids). And he understands that not having children isn’t a major problem for me, because I can see the benefits of life both with and without kids.
When you talk about infertility with your partner, try to accept his perspective — even if it’s totally different to your own!
Pay attention to your body language
If can’t understand why you and your partner always argue or get emotional when talking about infertility or getting pregnant, be aware of your body language. You may be giving each other signals without even knowing it! “Crossing your arms and legs, rolling your eyes, clenching your fists or teeth, and yawning all give negative cues to your partner,” write Daniel Potter and Jennifer Hanin in What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant. “Instead, keep your arms and legs loosely by your sides to indicate your willingness to talk, use eye contact, relax your fists and jaw, use a normal tone of voice, and stay awake.”
Paraphrase your partner’s thoughts and feelings
On of the best ways to empathize is to repeat what your partner says. Something as simple as, “So, what I hear you saying is that you are getting worried about the cost the infertility treatments, and you want to take a break from trying to get pregnant. Am I reading you right?” might go a long way to help you keep your marriage strong when you can’t get pregnant.
If your (or your partner’s) emotions are getting in the way of your communication, read Depressed About Not Getting Pregnant? Tips for Husbands & Wives.
Consider marriage counseling
At the very beginning of this article, Jeannette said that she kept pushing her husband away. They ended up in marriage counseling – and they saved their marriage. Sometimes, the best way to build a strong relationship (no matter what you’re dealing with) is to get an objective third perspective. A counselor can help you see your marriage with more insight and clarity, and can help you rebuild a bridge back to one another.
“The main pitfall you’ll want to avoid is taking each other for granted,” write Potter and Hanin in What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant. “This happens when you get so comfortable in your relationship that you forget simple things matter.”
Don’t forget to stay positive! Read 5 Ways to Increase the Chances You’ll Conceive a Baby.
If you have any thoughts fertility treatments and marriage, please comment below…