Sunday, June 21, 2009

His Sacrifice

When we first began “planning” to have a baby my husband was preparing for his Ph.D. comprehensive exams and I was working full-time. When I realized that 3 months of unpaid maternity leave would put is in the hole $5,000 for rent and insurance alone, we decided it might be time for my husband to get a full-time job. We planned to wait until the summer when my husband was finished with exams and I would only be a couple months pregnant (ha ha!). But that winter a job opportunity came along that was a perfect fit for my husband. It was close by, he would be using the skills he had learned in grad school, and the benefits were great. We decided that he should go ahead and interview and he was soon hired for the position. The office liked him so much that they were willing to let him work part-time until he finished comps.

It was a busy and stressful few months for my husband as he tried to balance his work load and getting through a 50+ book reading list for exams. In May he took and passed exams and immediately switched to full-time work. His next step was identifying a dissertation topic – a process that ended up taking over a year. As the months went on without a pregnancy, I started feeling more and more guilty about my husband taking on a full-time job and barely having any time to devote to his Ph.D. work. The guilt has followed me to this day, over three years later. Several times I have recommended that perhaps he give up his job for now and just finish his dissertation, but he presses on. Each time we see some friends or family and they half-jokingly ask how his dissertation is going, I feel the guilt. When his Mom nags him about getting serious about his dissertation and about how it didn’t take his brother this long to get his Ph.D., I feel the guilt. None of these people have any idea why my husband decided to take on a full-time job at that point in his schooling, and my sweet husband has never brought it up in his defense.

The end is finally in sight – he is actually setting a date that he hopes to graduate, but it will take a lot of work and sacrifice to meet his goal. Even now I am still telling him to leave work and pursue the dissertation full-time. But he recently moved into a new and higher-level position and wouldn’t dream of leaving it now after giving his word to put at least 1.5 years into the position. I am so thankful for the amazing husband that God has put into my life. As I have told him on a numerous occasions, he is a better man than I had ever dreamed of marrying. (Thank God he is nothing like my high school boyfriends!)

I know that in addition to sacrificing time for his Ph.D. work, he has unwillingly sacrificed being a father at this point in his life. When I see him holding a baby or interacting with our friend’s children, it brings a mixture of joy and sorrow. He will be an amazing father when the time comes just as he has always been an amazing husband to me.

“I found him whom my heart loves…” Song of Solomon 3:4b

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” John 15:12

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

Reflection Questions

1. What types of sacrifices have my husband and I made on the road to having children?
2. Do I acknowledge my husband’s sacrifices and the ways that infertility affects him?
3. In what ways can I show my husband my thankfulness for him?

Christian Marriage Prayer

Lord Jesus, grant that I and my spouse may have a true and understanding love for each other. Grant that we may both be filled with faith and trust. Give us the grace to live with each other in peace and harmony. May we always bear with one another’s weaknesses and grow from each other’s strengths. Help us to forgive one another’s failings and grant us patience, kindness, cheerfulness and the spirit of placing the well-being of one another ahead of self. May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year. Bring us both ever closer to You through our love for each other. Let our love grow to perfection. Amen.


  1. I loved this! I often forget the amazing sacrifices our husbands make for us on so many levels. Many prayers for your husband as he begins to work towards his goal.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts on the endo diet. I am about 1/2 along in Dian Mills book. I hope to be able to make the diet changes she suggests. I'll make sure to post my stories on the blog.

    PS I love your questions at the end of your post. The marriage prayer too. Thanks for writing.