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.
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!