Have you ever been on a date night where you knew you needed to talk about a hard thing but you didn’t quite know how to start? Same. It feels weird to just be like “hey yeah I know it’s date night and you just got your burger but I’m feeling depressed.” Sometimes you just need an icebreaker. A question to launch you into the deep topics that can wind around to the hard thing you need to talk about. So whether you talk about hard things on date night or not, hopefully you’ll find these questions helpful.
We had been married for three years and I was two years deep into waiting for a baby. It was a difficult season of announcements and baby showers, and one gloomy Saturday, he surprised me with a trip to our favorite amusement park. As we zoomed down the roller coaster hill, smiling and squealing, the weight lifted.
Fast forward a few years to the one where I spent it in front of a screen because I was numb and just wanted to be alone. One date night, he took me to the local bowling alley. We played a couple games, snapped a pic of our shoes, and I remembered what it was like to smile again as we drove home with burgers and cheese curds.
Several years ago, I reconnected with an old friend over wine and canvas and somehow we got on the topic of infertility. Our conversation was deep and she listened to me talk a lot. She offered no advice I can remember or solution that fixed it. It was just that somebody understood. My experience and my grief wasn’t weird or isolated. And that was the greatest relief.
Grief can be separating. It’s so easy for people to pull away from us because they don’t know how to relate or sympathize. Sometimes it’s an old friend who has all her babies around her. Sometimes it’s a family member who can only ask you how work is going. But let me encourage you to do one thing.
Infertility. Oof. A word that’s followed me around now for seven years. Spoken by doctors, family and friends. I’ve been on a journey through so many thoughts, feelings and decisions in this area of my life but one thing is for sure. Infertility has become one of the biggest struggles in my relationship with my husband. Seven years is a long time to trash negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test. It’s a long time to attend everyone else’s baby showers. It’s a long time to be just “you, me and the cat”.
In the seven years, our communication has certainly evolved and it is major that it’s been a positive evolution! Lots of hard work and hard words have brought us to where we are. So as we focus on restoration this month, I wanted to share several things that have helped our relationship along this journey. Let’s start with the two tips that will lead you to the right frame of mind to have these hard conversations. The kind of conversations that lead to restoration.