Monday, May 5, 2014

Seven Ways a Husband can Support a Wife During Infertility #1

Seven Ways a Husband can Support a Wife During Infertility #1

This is another series written by Mr. M. It will be split up over seven posts throughout the month of May, but then compiled into one document for you on our “inspiration page” at the top of our blog. He was inspired to write this series because there is so little guidance for men struggling with infertility! We hope it will inspire other men to share.


            While equal in dignity and in many other regards, men and women are still nonetheless different. In fact, I think the best way to approach sexual difference is to realize that men and women can do almost all the same things but they do them differently. This is true in regard to suffering. It is evident that both men and women suffer when going through infertility. But men, let's bluntly admit it: the woman has greater involvement in the physical and emotional suffering of infertility because of the greater role her body plays in fertility; she therefore takes upon herself the brunt of the struggle of infertility. This truth is reflected in the blogosphere where women make up the majority, if not all, of the infertility blogs. They are writing all of these blogs seeking help because of their greater need to grieve! As a result of this difference, I think a husband has a unique role to play in supporting their wives. He should keep this following rule in mind: while the wife takes upon herself more of the physical and emotional suffering than the husband, a husband has to be a greater support to his wife emotionally and spiritually than she is to him. If this doesn't happen, then I believe there is an unbalance in the relationship in regard to the suffering and it makes the suffering a lot more unbearable than what it could be. So here are seven ways I help my wife through her suffering. I suggest them to all husbands for their immediate consideration, although they are in no way exhaustive. Comments with other ideas are welcomed. 

1. ) Be a man of prayer – Dare to be silent with God! Men more than women tend to run away from the spiritual life, although it is difficult for both in this secular culture. There are many reasons for this greater evasion by men,but I think men run away from prayer primarily because it has to do with the fact we men are constantly educated to do something ourselves first, rather than to receive from another. However, when going through a great suffering or a great love, our first action must be one of receptivity - receiving all God wants to give us and work from there. Women "get" receptivity a whole lot better than men, and we need to learn from them. Perhaps this difference is chiefly due to woman's greater receptivity involved in their fertility cycle.

This lack of receptivity is a great weakness of men during infertility because the greatest gift a husband has to give to his wife during suffering is his constancy and leadership in the faith, which is a gift we can't create on our own. Faith cannot be earned like a salary, but only received like a gift. This faith is crucial for getting through infertility joyfully for a few important, practical reasons.

First, faith in God is the only answer to your joint desire for children and your joint suffering. God alone can fulfill all of our earthly desires; when we have God we have everything. Also, God alone can give meaning to our suffering. To read more about this, click here.

Second, prayer is important because we need solitude to do the most important work in our lives – to discover our wounds, to examine our faults, to receive forgiveness from God, to grow in our awareness of God in all things, to develop a supernatural outlook, and to recognize the core of who we are. The core of who we all are is a son, a beloved son of God, regardless of our situations with our earthly fathers or the many sins we have done; and as a son we need to spend time with God and to receive everything from our good, heavenly Father in prayer.

Third, if you do this work of prayerful solitude, then it will build up greater intimacy with your wife. All of the above mentioned attributes and gifts of prayer are crucial for intimacy. Also, when we are courageous enough to examine our own sin and receive forgiveness from God, we begin to develop the important virtues of attention, patience, and forgiveness, which are crucial for a healthy intimacy. As a result we must never forget this law of a couple's married life together: "my intimacy with my spouse is measured by my capacity to have solitude with God."

Fourth, it is not enough to know about God. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, we must also encounter Him as individuals and as a couple. The chief place of this encounter is prayer, especially the prayer of the Church in the Sacraments and shared, daily prayer together as a couple. 

Thus, for all of these reasons, we can only be good spouses through this struggle of infertility if we recognize the deep need of prayer for ourselves and our wives.


  1. I haven't had a chance to read this yet but I love it already! Great idea! Looking forward to your insight.

  2. So true. We say this often now but our best days are when we get up and start the day with prayer and reading the Bible together. Not sure how, but this has got us through so many days when we did not know what to do with ourselves, our marriage and our ways of handling grief.

  3. A great idea for a blog post series! Really looking forward to following along. This was a great way to start. :) Prayer is key! I'm definitely going to be forwarding these to my husband!

  4. Thank you for putting the time and effort into compiling this series. DH and I will be reading them together. <3