In celebration of and to help build momentum for the April 7th bookstore launch of Ever Upward, I will be posting a guest post each week. These guest posts are written by my dear friends and biggest supporters of my work. I am so excited to introduce you all to their stories, their voices and their work in the coming weeks.

This week we have my new friend Chelsea over at Starbucks, Peace and the Pursuit of a Baby. I absolutely love this guest piece she has written for me! Infertility can having amazing or awful consequences on our relationships, we must talk about this! Make sure to follow Chelsea’s blog for amazing Friday laughs and her incredible light of faith she shines on this world. Please also send her love, light and prayers as her and her husband are enduring another loss right now.

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Infertility is hard. Who’s with me? The battle is filled with highs and lows, moments you think you’re beating it and then moments your world seems to come crashing down. My journey through infertility has brought us through a PCOS diagnosis, 6 Clomid cycles, several IUI + letrozole cycles, 4 IVF cycles (2 fresh and 2 frozen) and 2 miscarriages. As I look back at this blur of years, I realize that other than my faith, the only consist part of my journey has been that my husband Josh has been with me throughout it all.

In Justine’s book Ever Upward, she says “Marriages and partnerships, just like relationships, will either evolve and flourish or wither and die in times of trauma and hardships.” How true is that? All relationships in your life will be challenged when you are struggling with infertility, but the one that can take the greatest beating is your marriage. Josh and I will be married for 10 years this July and as we march through this war, I am constantly reminded that we made a promise that we would be together “for better or for worse”. Truth is, infertility feels like a big unanticipated dose of “for worse”. Miscarriages, brutal surgeries, insane amounts of medicine, impressively intense mood swings – all of these things add up and wham, hit your marriage with challenges, making communication critical.

But here’s the thing I have continued to learn as we fight – this relationship is the most important one to protect and that because we have each other, we are not alone. Can I encourage you today to remember that your marriage deserves even more attention than your infertility? I have been guilty of focusing so much on treatments and how I feel, that my communication skills become lack luster. But when Josh and I are in a good groove, communicating openly, making time for one another, listening and attempting to love each other with one another’s Love Language, the battle, as hard as it is, seems a whole lot easier.

Having a baby isn’t going to make a marriage magically all better. In fact, from what I have heard, it makes it even harder. Becoming parents isn’t going to make you click more, connect deeper, fit into your group of friends better. You have to start with a solid foundation before you add to it. This is a challenge because your spouse can be the easiest person to take all your emotions out on. After a long day of feeling brutally run down from hormones, I want to shut down, hold up, snap and demand that Josh matches my mood. Nights like this are rarely a highlight of the week because communication is messy and I fall into the rut of someone held captive by her swinging emotions. Even worse, sometimes I use my medicine as an excuse to be impatient or demanding or cranky. Not okay.

If you are struggling to figure out how to reconnect with your spouse, I want to commend you for knowing that something is off. As soon as we are aware that there is something we want to work on, it becomes easier to work towards a solution. Communication is the best way to ensure a relationship is successful – and communication doesn’t mean a whole lot of yelling and “I always …. you never..”’s

Justine shares in her book some great ways to reignite the spark by having monthly date nights, an idea I love! It’s so great to focus on each other and date again. Perhaps you are a little stalled for conversation – grab some starter questions easily found on the internet. Open yourself up to being open and honest about how you are handling this road. It’s a vulnerable place, there may be tears, there may be questions, but it’s so worth it.

Don’t forget to laugh together and respect one another’s emotions. If you are like us and you have a marriage founded on your faith in Christ, Casting Crowns + Focused on the Family recently offered a great series, 28 Days to a Thriving Marriage, which is an emailed devotional that can challenge and inspire you and your spouse to move closer together.

When you are in a funk, remind yourself that you married your spouse because you wanted to spend forever with them, not because you wanted to procreate with them. Infertility is a battle, adoption can be tough, and choosing to live a childfree life is hard. But your spouse? They are likely feeling the same things as you, even if they don’t share it as often. Reignite that spark and let your love flag fly.

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I love to connect with new readers and friends! Stop by my blog at trialsbringjoy.com or let’s connect on Instagram at @chels819. Can’t wait to “meet” you!

13 thoughts on “Guest Post: For Better or For Worse

  1. What a beautiful piece Chelsea! In all of our struggles, we chose to put our marriage at the top of our priority list because as you say “you married your spouse because you wanted to spend forever with them.” We know we want to raise our children TOGETHER, so we are in this battle together, and so if we aren’t on the same page then we have nothing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. chels819 says:

      Yes! Isn’t it true though that it has to be an intentional choice? I am so glad that you guys are battling TOGETHER as a team! Love you friend!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It absolutely is an intentional choice! Love to you as well!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. lkgaddis says:

    So true! We attended therapy after we lost our Sophia, and I will never forget Tobias the therapist told us she either sees couples fall apart or become stronger. She said she rarely sees anything in between. My husband and I instantly fellbonded tighter as we struggled through the grief. Of course that is not to say we don’t struggle with keeeping our emotions from lashing out at each other. Your words are such a good reminder of how we need to focus on all the important things in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lkgaddis says:

      Tobias is a funny auto correct fail!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Caroline says:

    Chelsea, I LOVE this! It makes me sad how some couples think that having a baby will ‘fix’ their marriage when in reality the order should be God, spouse, then babies!! Thanks for this reminder! I definitely always try to make the most of this time, although it’s hard, to be with Colby and make memories together now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate says:

    This was so timely for me. I appreciate this awesome piece on a topic I haven’t seen a lot written on. As we grieve another failed IVF, I find myself lethargic and in the dumps, and more likely to sit still and stare lost in my thoughts rather than communicate with my husband. I don’t want to push him away, it’s just that this journey robs me of everything from energy to speak and do anything to knowing what to articulate. This is a great reminder that I don’t want to lose more than my dream of a child, and that we need to grieve and move on together. Thank you!

    Like

  5. Sahar says:

    What a lovely post–thank you for featuring Chelsea as a guest blogger!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane says:

    Awesome! Thank-you Chels for being open & honest. I fully agree that awareness makes it easier to move towards a solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Melissa says:

    As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I want to thank you for this post and the suggestions within. I can completely understand why couples go one way or the extreme other during and after treatments, especially unsuccessful ones. The physical effects, the mood swings, the constant dubious and overly cautious optimism- it becomes exhausting. I am hopeful that putting as much effort into reconnecting as we have into procreating will help us to start down the road to healing.

    Like

    1. Melissa, I am so glad you found Chelsea’s words helpful! I write about how Chad and I turned towards one another throughout our own journey and especially thereafter in Ever Upward. You are so right, we must put effort into reconnecting and not only procreating. Thank you for reading and commenting! Justine

      Like

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