Guest Post: Colby on Communication
I am always so thankful when friends are willing to share on our blog, but my favorite is always when Colby shares. You can check out his first two posts here and here. Today, he is sharing a very real and raw post about communication during our infertility journey.
Communication is vital to relationships and essential to marriages. We have all heard, experienced, and accepted this important truth. Yet it is these types of foundational truths that we can also take for granted and miss if we become complacent. And communicating specifically in the area of a marriage that is going through infertility is something that has come up for us numerous times. I recently realized where I may have missed key communication that caused recurring heartache for us. Hopefully this will help other couples identify a potential area of hurt and miscommunication.
You’ve probably heard of the dilemma faced by children of great depression, WWII, and post-war era fathers. This generation of men typically would not share their thoughts, feelings, and emotions with others, and specifically did not verbally speak to their children the words, “I love you.” Even though their actions clearly demonstrated that they did, and deep inside they did have a great love for their children and family, they could not or did not speak it. Decades later, their grown children – some who since lost their parents – are left with a nagging void. They wrestle with thoughts of, “I know my dad loved me…he worked so hard to provide for our family. He never told me he loved me…but I know he did…”
I refer to this example to explain my own shortcoming that caused us several times of despair over the past few months. Feeling alone as the proactive partner in our journey, Caroline would become worn and upset at some mistake I did or something I failed to do. In frustration, she would lament that (in addition to seeking God’s hand for healing and pregnancy) this blog, the small group she leads, and things like acupuncture, essential oils, dietary supplements, and diet changes initiated by here were all evidence of her deep desire to become pregnant and be a mother. In fair turnabout, where was my evidence? What research had I done, and what new changes had I discovered for us to try? To be fair again, I didn’t have much to offer. This caused me to reflect, and then become offended, thinking, “how can she think I don’t care, that I don’t want to be a dad? Of course I want us to be pregnant and to be a dad! How does she not naturally assume and know that?”
Do you see the connection to the earlier example I gave? The light came on for me in that moment. Even though I internally knew my great desire for us to naturally conceive and become parents, I had left her to assume this was true of me. I was not expressing this desire to her and encouraging her in this way. She wasn’t hearing me express our shared desire, doubt crept into her mind, and she began to feel like she was alone in her desire and on the journey. Like I was just along for the ride, following her lead, not really caring either way if our desire was fulfilled. Why didn’t I instead tell her how excited and hopeful I am that our prayers will soon be answered, or that today I prayed for our healing and natural conception, and for the health of our children?
Think of it this way – don’t you tell your spouse, family, or close friend daily or frequently, “I love you”? It’s repetitious assurance, affirmation, acceptance, and unconditional love. It’s the same thing over and over, but we don’t get tired of it! It’s a source of life, joy, and hope for the one declaring it and the one who receives it. Things get pretty bad when you withhold saying it or when you are not hearing it. So to guys who are on this journey with your wife: apply the same concept and tell her about your passion and desire to be a father soon. Tell her that you are praying for it in your alone time and that you want to pray about it together as a couple.
Given my profession, there is another adapted example I like. It is from the thought-provoking question, “If you were being prosecuted for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”, meaning does your faith, attitude, and heart condition cause your words and actions to make you stand out for God’s glory? So in this context, guys, make sure it is evident to your wife that you are equally passionate about your breakthrough pregnancy. Believe me, authentic verbal admission is one of the best pieces of evidence!