"...Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
Romans 8:24b-25

11 June 2011

An Anniversary Post

Three days ago, my husband and I celebrated our ninth anniversary.  And by celebrated, I mean we went out in T-shirts and jeans to a BJ's Restaurant, had a casual and early dinner, then went to spend the evening with friends.  Both of us have been so focused on this two week wait and the upcoming deployment that we basically forgot about our anniversary until the night before.

I awoke Wednesday morning as my husband was preparing for work.  He called out to me, "Happy Anniversary, Babe!"  I walked into the bathroom where he was getting ready to shave, kissed him on the cheek, and sleepily said, "Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.  Even if we never have children, I'm thankful to have you as a husband.  I wouldn't want anyone else in the world."  

I turned and walked groggily back to bed and slept most of the morning away.

That moment in the bathroom was one of my favorite parts of that day.

Eleven years ago, my attitude was quite different.
I recall a day in which the subject of children came up between the two of us before we were even officially dating.  We both talked about how we wanted to have a large family and I was surprised that he wanted to have as large a family as I did, even though I had not told him how many kids I'd love to have.  When he busted out the number "12" in answer to my question of how many kids he wanted to have, I was blown away b/c that was the number in my heart.

I was so passionate in that discussion, and apparently in future discussions we had, about wanting to have many children that my Sweetheart (now my Dear Husband) felt compelled to ask me what I would do if we couldn't have children.  He asked if I would consider adoption.  

I told him that I certainly wanted to adopt, but that I wanted to have children biologically as well.  This was not answering his question completely, so he asked again, "What would you do if you found that you couldn't have children?" 

I am appalled today at what my answer was to him.  I remember telling him very sincerely, "I'm not sure, but I can tell you this: We better not find out whose fault it is, because if it was mine I'd be devastated and if it was his, I'd regret that I married him."

Wow!  What a little...UGH!  If I could go back in time and slap myself, I absolutely would!  There were so many occasions when I had such a pig-headed attitude (like the time I told someone that the day I dated my DH is the day pigs fly, or the time I told my DH that I'd be mad at God if I knew that God was going to make me like him in the future!  Ugh!  I don't even know the appropriate word to describe the person that I was).

Well, thankfully, God loves me too much to leave me the way I was, and he's done quite a number on my heart.  

You should know that my DH asked me that question in various ways at least a dozen times while we were dating.  So many times, in fact, that I actually asked him if he had some information about himself that I needed to know.

We had only been married a year and six months when we decided to stop using contraceptive.  The interesting thing is that I don't remember at all caring about who was to blame for our not being able to conceive.  I just remember being so disappointed and frustrated that it wasn't happening.

I remember, too, being concerned that we might get so consumed with getting pregnant that our marriage would suffer, so I communicated with my DH regularly on what I was thinking and how I felt, what my concerns were and what I thought we should do.  From the beginning, we were a team in dealing with Infertility.  And from the beginning, it was our goal to keep the desire for children from trumping our marriage.

So, we took breaks.  In seven years, we've only had five procedures (with one year of a holistic approach-which makes six "procedures," I suppose) to try to get pregnant.  I spent a year charting my cycle before we tried medical intervention.  But we only pursued the medical intervention because I was having so many issues with my cycle, and my options were to either take the birth control pill or get professional help.  By God's grace, we have been careful, thus far, not to let the desire for children consume our marriage. 

There was a time when I would have never considered having fertility treatments.  There was a time when I thought I wouldn't be able to love someone anymore if I were to find out they were the reason I wouldn't be able to have children.  I am so thankful for a husband who loves and fears God and who is able to love me when I'm at my worst, who is able to be so patient and tender as he trusts that I will not be at my worst forever.

I eventually came to a place where I realized several things:
  • My marriage is more important to me than having children.
  • My dream to have children is still alive in my heart, and will happen, someday, someway.
  • God is the author of life, and it is his alone to give and take away.
  • God has used every single time in my life that I have been angry with him to teach me more about how he loves me, his faithfulness, his forgiveness, and his grace.
  • God has used every single trial I have faced in my life to strengthen me and to get rid of disgusting parts of who I am (like the attitudes I described above).
  • I am blessed beyond measure to have the husband that I have been given and I treasure him more each day.
So, I am thankful to be able to say with my whole heart that regardless of when, if, or how we have children, I am THANKFUL to have been given the privilege of being married to my husband and I have NO REGRETS that I married him.  

I still sit in awe, sometimes, when I think of how he had seen me at my absolute worst on numerous occasions and was still willing, and even desired, to marry me.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!  May this be only the beginning of a long and fruitful life together!

~Julia

9 comments:

  1. If there's a "good" thing about infertility, it's that we realize how amazingly lucky we are to have partners who are with us for better and worse through it all.

    My husband and I had a similar experience- I always had a feeling we'd have trouble conceiving, but I always said I'd "never" do IVF. This experience has taught me to never say never, and to be careful of judging others choices since it's impossible to say what you'd do until faced with the decision.

    Wishing you the best and a happy anniversary with many more to come.

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  2. Congratulations on your anniversary. What a lovely post to remind us that we can still have love in our relationships despite the loss of infertility. Just what I needed to read today. Thank you :)

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  3. Thank you so much, Jess! I wholeheartedly agree. It's been a fantastic journey (albeit difficult) and an experience I will treasure bc of what it's taught us and where it has brought us. Thank you for your encouraging words.

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  4. Happy anniversary! In a time when divorce is rampant its a great gift to be married so long, and be happier with every day. If there's one thing IF taught me its patience and to appreciate what we have. OK, so 2 things. You and you're hubby are very lucky to have found each other and the trials you face just bring you closer together. Good luck to both of you!

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  5. Just received the second comment. Thank you for your encouraging words! I'm so glad it was an encouragement to you today. Blesses my heart! Thank you!

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  7. Wow! I'm behind today :-)
    Thank you, Calmantha! Your words are very encouraging. We are truly blessed. I still thank God every day for blessing me with this man. And the joy of being loved by him. By God's grace alone, I assure you. Thank you!

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  8. Love this post! Thanks for sharing your honest heart. It is a beautiful reflection of God's grace.

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  9. Thank you so much, Charis! :-)

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I would love to hear from you! The subject matter of this blog can be very sensitive. This is intended to be a place of encouragement and to be uplifting. It is never my desire to cause pain through what I write here, so please keep that in mind as you share your thoughts. Thank you.