Longing for Children: Facing Infertility in Marriage
When married to a man, Christian or not, who is pushing you to do something immoral (perhaps insisting on an abortion because of your babyís birth defect), clearly and lovingly share your concerns. If he is open to Scripture, show him directly from the Word of God why you are troubled by what he is asking of you. When it comes down to a choice, you must obey God rather than man (see Peterís story in Acts 4).
Presuming you arenít being asked to participate in anything morally objectionable, it is imperative to consult with your husband before you commit to anything that will impact your family and future together. When my doctor presents a medical course that offers me hope, it is hard to hold back when Rick gives a flat-out no, or even when he wants to just take time to prayerfully seek more answers. But my marriage vows are to my husband, not to my doctor or anyone else.
For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husband, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham. . . . You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
1 Peter 3:5-6
I can point to definite times when, had I given Rickís concerns more credence, I would have saved us both a lot of heartache. An example that immediately comes to mind is the adoption lead I pushed hard to pursue, even when Rick repeatedly, though quietly, stated his discomfort with certain aspects of the situation. It turned out to be a scam. I could have prevented much grief by listening to Rickís misgivings early on.
In the very week I am writing this chapter, Iíve spoken with three women about regrets over past choices in their fertility journeys. These were choices they pushed for that will carry lifelong painful consequences. In each of these case their husbands had mentioned some level of concern with the given pursuit, while the wife felt it to be the ďright thing.Ē Each woman longs to be able to turn back time and give her husbandís comments more prayerful consideration. Hereís one such example:
I didnít realize how much having a child had consumed my life. Itís so easy for women to take the lead in managing the infertility situation.
My husband wanted to please me, and I think some things he went along with because he wanted to make me happy. . . . I realize now that I wasnít being submissive.
He still needs to be the leader in my family, and he still needs to be part of the decision-making process. There are so many decisions to make. Weíve been struggling with infertility for over three years, so itís not like we rushed into our decision. But with his personality, I think he was afraid to make the decisions, so he let me take the lead.
Does this mean our husbandís decisions are always the ďcorrectĒ ones? Not necessarily. But we are called to trust God by allowing our husbands to lead us, even in the face of their very human fallibility.
Wives, I challenge you to allow your husband to take the leadership role God has given him. If he doesnít guide your family in this process, resist the temptation to make all the decisions, but gently encourage your husband to help you with them.
Actively pursuing family growth is not sinful. But an obsessive drive that rushes you ahead of Godís leading is. If God is convicting your husband about something while striving to build your family, be open to hearing his concerns. Your husband is treating you with honor and love when he is honest with you. The Bible is clear that your marital relationship is to be a gentle, loving partnership in order to maintain clear communication with God.
While yielding to conviction is imperative, it is also important to note that just because something seems unnatural or uncomfortable, it isnít necessarily outside Godís plan for your family. One of you may be ready to apply to an adoption agency long before the other is even ready to consider the possibility. One might not feel any peace about taking another step down the medical route, while the other wants to go as far as humanly possible in pursuit of a biological child.