In the book “When the Cradle is Empty” by John and Sylvia Van Regenmorter, Chapter 5 is titled “Handling the Holidays”. This covers how to handle the difficulties around Christmas and Mother’s Day. Since we have already made it through Christmas and Mother’s Day is a few months away I won’t borrow trouble from the past or the future, but do read this chapter.
Chapter 6 is “How to Keep your Marriage Strong”. This chapter covers the differences between men and women and how they deal with stress and infertility. Men and women communicate differently and this can cause conflict. It talks about the “Blame Game” and how important it is to see infertility as a couple problem and not caused by one person or the other.
The end of the chapter provides a “Marriage Survival Kit”:
1. A Band-Aid “Why? Because it will remind you of an important characteristic of husbands: They like to make things feel better.”
“Husbands need to learn that they don’t have to fix the pain. They can’t! More helpful than “fixing” is simply going to your wife, putting your arms around her, and saying, ‘You’re really hurting today, aren’t you? I can’t make it better, but I want you to know tha I love you-and when you hurt, I hurt, too.”
2. A Stopwatch
“Couples should have a “Twenty-Minute Rule”. Whenever the topic of infertility comes up limit the conversation to 20 minutes.” This gives enough time for the wife to feel heard and with a time limit the husband is usually more likely to stay tuned-in for the full conversation. The limit also alows for more time for other, more enjoyable conversations.
3. Bubble Bath and Candles
“For many couples undergoing infertility, romance is an early casualty.”
They give a list of suggestions to keep the romance alive and the relationship healthy.
4. A Cell Phone
“When the challenges of infertility tax our resources to the limit, help can be just a phone call away. Don’t hesitate to contact a counselor or pastor, even if it’s just for a few sessions to get your relationship back on track.”
Once again the Van Regenmorter’s have brought to light the true trials behind infertility as well as suggestions to get through the tough times. Infertility is an extremely difficult thing for a marriage. Add to that the “normal” stresses of married life and no wonder it feels so tough.
What is one thing you can do to help your spouse this week?