This month my husband and I celebrated our 7th anniversary and my 31st birthday. I love the month of August! While these milestones mark another year passed and another year older without a baby, they are also reminders of how blessed I am to be in this beautiful family. It is easy for me to think that my husband and I are part of a family, but that we are not a family yet because we don't have any living children. In my mind, I know that our family started the day we were married, but how do you grasp that concept when you have grown up thinking that family necessarily involves children. A couple years back we were spending a weekend with our college friends. This couple got pregnant on their honeymoon and every chance they have had since. The oldest daughter was talking to me one morning and asked, "Are you guys married, but you just don't have kids?" It occurred to me that in the family she has been raised, it had never occurred to her that a couple might be married with no children. So, how do my husband and I form a family by ourselves?
The family is the fundamental cell of society and it's roots are in the married couple who form a family on their wedding day. One of the most basic characteristics of a family is sharing. We share a home, food, income, activities, friends and relatives – we don't have to have children to do any of those things. All of the things that a family encompasses is modeled first and foremost in the married couple through the expression of their vows– together in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. Yes, we are dealing with the sickness of our bodies – even if that may not be physically evident to others. Our husbands join us for important doctor's appointments, hold our hands when we receive difficult news or are undergoing an uncomfortable procedure, they care for us when we've had surgery and vice versa. We face good times and some very difficult times, but we persevere and hopefully our relationships are better for it. Each day of our marriage, and through every sacrifice and shared experience, we are deepening our commitment to those vows. We become a model of love and of the true meaning of family, in a world that so often needs to be reminded of that.
Families are never called to be closed in on themselves, but to be fruitful. During the rite of marriage, we state that we intend to accept children lovingly from God. So how are we to look at our marriages if we try to have children, but are unable to? Well, we are seeking to accept children from God –whether naturally or through adoption. We are not preventing ourselves from receiving children, but waiting for God to bless us at the time of His choosing. And when He does decide it is time, there is no doubt that we will love those children in a special way. Our patience, endurance, and perseverance bears much fruit in the meantime – fruit that will help us in our future roles as parents. For now, we may seek ways to serve others outside of our family whether through giving of our time, prayer, or monetary blessings. But most important of all, we are blessed with this extra time to focus on building a strong marriage. People are attracted to strong families and strong marriages. What our future children and what society needs most are strong, happy marriages. That bears fruit beyond measure.
"Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. For you I wait all the long day, because of your goodness, Lord." Psalm 25:4-5
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh." Mark 10:7-8
"It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a
- Do I see my husband and I as a family? Why or why not?
- How are our interactions and experiences of infertility a reflection of our wedding vows?
- How are we being called to be fruitful at this time?
A Marriage Blessing Prayer
We thank you, O God, for the Love You have implanted in our hearts. May it always inspire us to be kind in our words, considerate of feeling, and concerned for each other's needs and wishes. Help us to be understanding and forgiving of human weaknesses and failings. Increase our faith and trust in You and may Your Prudence guide our life and love. Bless our Marriage O God, with Peace and Happiness, and make our love fruitful for Your glory and our Joy both here and in eternity.