Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Marriage Series: In Good Times and In Bad

Welcome back to the Marriage Series! I hope you enjoyed last weeks intro post. I loved reading all of yours!

This week, we are talking about struggles in our marriages. I mentioned before that God has laid it on my heart for awhile to talk about marriage. Satan has a way of putting doubts in my mind...things like "I haven't been married as long as others" or "my struggles weren't as bad as someone else's." I've come to realize that everyones struggles are different, and maybe sharing my story will be helpful to someone out there. I can't keep trying to qualify myself to be good enough to talk to you about this because I never will be. But God has called me to share my story, so that's what I'm going to do.

I started this blog 5 years ago, after a 2+ year long battle against infertility. When Chris and I decided to try to have a baby we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. With each new diagnosis of what was wrong with me, I got angrier. I went from a happy, carefree young wife to a depressed, angry, shell of a person. I didn't want to go out with friends anymore, and as a result, lost most of them. In fact, I didn't want to leave my house, period. I was put on Clomid for nine months which basically made me crazy. Chris came home everyday to a angry or crying mess.

After Clomid, I was put on Femara. Then we started doing IUI's. Then it was shots. Finally, after several failed IUI's my RE (infertility doctor) told me he had to cut me off and that our only option was going to be IVF.

I remember leaving the doctors office in Tulsa and not saying a word to Chris on the 2 hour drive home. Finally, I told him that I give up. I just couldn't do it anymore, and frankly, neither could he. And then what happened? I got pregnant, completely naturally. But unfortunately, I ended up miscarrying. I can't even tell you in words what that did to us. If I had had a blog back then, I don't know what I would've said. Coupled with everything we went through beforehand, it completely destroyed me.

This was the first part of our "In Bad" time. The second part was after our oldest son, Brayden was born. For those of you who've read this blog for years, you know the story, but for those who don't, here's a quick recap. Brayden was born full term with a condition called PPHN. It's very rare, and there is no way of knowing your baby will be born with it. Basically, he didn't realize he had been born and continued circulating blood in reverse, thus not oxygenating it. His pulse ox was in the 40's. He was incredibly sick and we nearly lost him. He was taken from the hospital I had him at by ambulance to another hospital here and then flown by helicopter to Arkansas Children's Hospital where we stayed for 5 weeks.

So, how did we deal with these hard times?

I have to give major credit to my husband here. He dealt with my irrational anger, my crying, and my craziness every day with love and compassion. He was always there for me. He would calm me down and do things to make me feel special, like bringing home my favorite treat after work or sending me flowers for no reason. And, like I mentioned last week, he communicated with me. He didn't shut down and he didn't let me shut down. We talked almost every day about what I was feeling and what he felt.

When Brayden was in the hospital he was such a rock for me. There have been times in our marriage when I have had to be the strong one, but this time it was him. He let me break down and cry. Every night we held hands and prayed together. We talked about all of the possibilities and potential outcomes and we prayed that God would guide our decision making.

The biggest factor in getting through hard times in our marriage has been putting our trust, faith, hopes, dreams, everything in God's hands. That day after my last failed IUI, I told Chris I realized I had been wrong all along. I thought I could control our situation. If I just researched enough, I could find our solution. If I did this procedure or that, I could increase our odds. It took awhile, but I finally realized that I am not in control of anything, ever. God is. And He commands us to put our worries and struggles in prayer to Him.

And, like I mentioned last week, communicate!!! If you are upset, hurt or angry about something, talk it out. I know that sometimes it makes me feel better just to tell him what's bothering me, and the same goes for Chris. Also, remember that it's never to late to improve your marriage. It's never too late to talk with your spouse about the things you want or need for you to have a healthy and abundant marriage.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Phil 4:6

I'm not saying that it's easy. Getting through marital struggles is so hard. If you are newly married I recommend coming up with guidelines for how you deal with fights and hard times. Our pre-marital counselor suggested this to us. Some popular guidelines are things like not going to bed mad, not sleeping in a separate room, not discussing your marital problems with your parents, not walking out on the other person. Look at your "fighting style" and determine some reasonable guidelines for your marriage. 

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