Love and Marriage

Reigniting the Spark

Froelker-EverUpward CVR-LGSeveral 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.

Engagement Picture


Justine Brooks Froelker is a Licensed Professional counselor and a Certified Daring Way Facilitator (based on the research of Brene Brown). She resides in St. Louis, Missouri and is the author of her blog, Ever Upward, as well as an infertility advocate for breaking the shame and silence of infertility and fighting to recover thereafter. She also writes for St. Louis Health & Wellness magazine and appears regularly on the mid-day television show Great Day St. Louis.

30 thoughts on “Reigniting the Spark”

  1. Thank you for sharing this! It is a def a distinctly different journey for those of us who endure the monthly rituals of timing our sex, peeing on sticks and waiting for smiley faces. Love the monthly date idea!

  2. Oh, wow – I love the idea of pre-planned dates! I think that’s such an amazing thing to do to keep the spark alive in a marriage and I’m so glad you shared this! That pic of you and your hubby is so sweet, btw. Such a cute couple!!

    1. I love the idea too! I can’t wait to surprise him with the envelope and watch his reaction to each date each month.

  3. Thank you for sharing this! And what an amazing idea Justine! I’ve been reading reviews of some of your chapters from some of the other ladies on here and I can’t wait to get your book!

    1. I thought the idea was great too! You should try the date idea too because once your lil one arrives, time will be limited and it’s so important to schedule it.

      1. You’re absolutely right! We’ve been trying to not go out and spend too much money lately to save for when the baby is born, but it’s all about balance and we sure could use a date night 🙂

  4. So cool – I have never heard of this book, or her! I think it’s so true! We can allow the trials to refine and enhance us or ruin us!!!! The choice is really up to us 🙂 Glad you got to read her book and review it – what a neat opportunity!

  5. This is so sweet! What a wonderful idea! My DH and I just started trying, and I’ve heard it can take a toll on your intimacy and marriage, so I plan on using your idea! And the book sounds amazing too! I’ll definitely have to look for it in the library when it comes out.

  6. So great! I think the comparison of Satan to a moth is such an accurate thought. Bits and pieces here and there. Grateful we serve a God much bigger than him. 🙂

    1. Yes because Satan won’t come and take a big bite…he wants to slowly debilitate and ruin our lives/relationships so that we don’t take notice it is happening until the moment it is either too late or we are to weak to fight back. God is so much bigger and when we seek after His guidance and wisdom He will reveal to us those small holes. LOVE that! God is always protecting and restoring! xo

  7. I LOVE the idea of 12 pre-planned dates throughout the year! It is very true that infertility can certainly take the fun out of baby making and my husband and I know all too well how it effects our relationship. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I have also noticed since we got Goldilocks (the child we are keeping while her mama gets help) has put an even bigger strain so it’s important we remember to keep dating now so that when babies do arrive, it won’t be so bad.

  8. Great idea to pre-plan dates! This is so important! Recently, I began to pray for our sex life, and I can say with confidence that God cares about every part of our lives and he has really answered my prayers in this area! 😍 Lots of love to you!

  9. We are struggling with this right now too. It’s a horrible feeling for the intimacy to feel like it has to be timed. I decided no more ovulation tests for me, we just need to enjoy each other when the time is right and leave the rest up to the Lord. Thanks for sharing!

    1. We have also been just doing it when we (I) felt like it and hat turned out to be twice a month…poor guy! Lol! I need to up it a bit if I want my odds of conception to increase. Haha

  10. This is such an important topic and one not to forget. My husband and I have tried to do something similar throughout last year: one evening a week (most weeks) when we take the time to cook a nice meal and just spend time calmly together and a date/week-end away about once a month. It really did help re-discover each other and, more generally, us as a couple rather than two people trying to make a baby.
    Hope you have fun with your activities in the coming months!! xx

  11. What a great idea to plan fun dates for each month. My husband and I have been married nearly 11 years and spent 8 of them trying to conceive. Ugh. We did lose the spark sometimes, and now that we’re parents it’s so important to work on our marriage and continue to have fun, be spontaneous and enjoy lovemaking. I hope you and your husband can find some time to relax, enjoy each other and take a mini-break from the stress of infertility!

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