Several weeks ago, author and blogger, Justine Brooks Froelker, gave me the honor and privilege to read a chapter of my choice and then write a review for her soon to be released book, Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to own a Childless Life. There were so many interesting chapters to choose from, but the one that stood out and grabbed my attention the most was “Reigniting the Spark.” This is such an important topic as too many times throughout the struggle to conceive, one of the biggest challenges a couple might face is maintaining and protecting the intimacy within their marriage.
Within this chapter, Justine discusses how IUI, IVF, timed intercourse, irregular cycles and financial difficulties can all put a strain on one’s marriage and intimacy level. Unfortunately, I know first hand what she is talking about. My husband and I have been married for eight years and within the last three, we have endured the stress of long cycles, timed intercourse, doctor appointments, tests, the lack of ovulation, IVF, and a very heartbreaking early miscarriage.
Marriages and partnerships, just like relationships, will either evolve and flourish or wither and die in times of trauma and hardship. ~Ever Upward
As a result,I have often times let the enemy, who is like a moth, slowly eat away at our marriage without even realizing or taking notice. He hasn’t taken big bites or cause us to contemplate divorce, but rather he has taken little nibbles here and there that has caused tension, fights, and a lack of interest in one another. For the last three years since trying to conceive, the purpose of intimacy has no longer been about sharing our love, but rather producing baby; not to enjoy each other, but accomplish a goal. Each cycle I try to schedule our time together based upon the reading of an ovulation prediction stick and whether we felt like it or not, we have done the “deed”. My thoughts have been more focused on the baby I hope to conceive and as a result, there is no more romance. There has been no more spontaneity and little passion as our love-making has become more about “business than pleasure.”
It’s no doubt that these stressors have reduced our ‘spark’ to a mere flicker. However, just like Justine pointed out in her chapter, you have to be diligent to not let it stress or put a damper on your intimacy with one another and in doing so, a couple must make their relationship and connection with one another top priorities. One way she recommends doing this is planning and even pre-purchasing dates for each month within the year.
What better to find ourselves again, bring us back to us, have fun and spend quality time together than to make sure we have a planned activity for every month of the coming year. ~Ever Upward
I thought this was such a fantastic way to stay connected and rekindle the spark that I took her idea and planned 12 special “dates” for my husband and I to start taking in the month of September. I purposefully picked seven “dates” that have been on our bucket list for years while the others are simply because they sounded like mischievous fun. My plan is on the first day of every month, have my husband and I open the envelope together and plan the special weekend in which we would fulfill the promised date night (or weekend). My hope throughout the next 12 months is to have fun, connect, and reignite the spark.
Thank you once again to the amazing Justine for giving me this opportunity to take a sneak peek inside just a small portion of her infertility story. Her story has helped me remember the importance of not being too focused on working towards making a baby, that I forget to work towards making our marriage strong so that it will last the ups and downs of this thing called life. I encourage anyone who is struggling to conceive or has struggled in the past, to purchase Ever Upward which will become available October 1st, 2014 via her website or in bookstores early March.