Can You Be What Your Partner is Not?

I used to think so.

I was half-listening to a TV talk show program after I got home from work today. When all of a sudden, I heard, “IVF” and “injections,” two words you don’t commonly hear on TV.  Intrigued, I turned it up, and begin really listening.  The couple was sharing their story of how they got married, and started TTC on their own.

Once they found out they had reproductive issues, they dove into IVF, and got pregnant their first cycle. Of course, they were ecstatic, but unfortunately, not long after, their joy was stolen, and the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.  The couple never went on to do IVF again after their 1st loss.  Instead, they adopted a beautiful baby boy, and seemed to be quite content with their decision.

After they shared their story, the commentator of the program spoke to them, which is really why I have brought this story up in the first place. What he said made me think.  He talked about the loving relationship that (should) takes place between partners in a marriage.

He began by explaining how he has ran to his wife for support during the most difficult times in his life. These times included difficulties with his career, his parents, his health, his friendships, etc. During these times, he would describe his wife as being, “everything that he was not.”  If he was not happy, not relaxed, not energized, or not reasonable, she was; she was everything he was not. This being said, she was usually able to help him sort through difficult things. And of course, as his wife faced trials in her life, she too would turn to her husband, and he would be the part of her “that she was not.”

Here is what he said next: “I can’t imagine what it would be like for both of us to be going through the same trial over and over again…because how could I be what she was not? And how could she be what I was not? How are you two able to be what the other one is not?” The couple didnt answer the tough question, they just sat politely and smiled, almost as if they didnt know the answer themselves. He went on to commend the couple for their strength and resilience in the midst of their infertility struggle that they both were going through firsthand.

I definetly got some of what the commentator was trying to say. No doubt, this couple was indeed strong; their marriage survived IF & a miscarriage.  I also understood how he was to his wife what “she was not” because I have experienced similar situations with my husband. For example, when I have trouble at work, or with my family, I can go to my husband and he can help me see the issue in a way I am not.  Likewise, he can come to me about his problems, and I do the same.  It seems it can be easy for the partner not actually experiencing the situation to be “what the other is not,” as the commentator himself said. Sometimes, when we are on our own, we can’t see the forest from the trees, and our spouse can help us to do so.

But, when you are both are experiencing the same struggle, is it as easy to be “what the other is not?” Now that we have both suffered through IF and RPL, my opinion has changed & so, my answer would have to be NO. Being everything “the other one is not,” as the commentator suggested, is actually impossible, and precisely why my husband and I have tried to turn our relationship over to God more than ever before.

God is “everything we are not” for each other as we continue our battle to survive infertility and RPL together.  Depending on only my spouse to satisfy all of my emotional needs during this journey will surely lead to disappointment, and vice versa. This is not to say we dont need to love & comfort, and help one another, because we do. We just need His help along the way, when we cant possibly be “what the other is not” anymore.

We just received this new night time devotional below. We are only a few pages in, but I must say, I am enjoying it so far. It appears to focus on how to keep your marriage strong over the trials throughout the years, with of course, His help. 

2 thoughts on “Can You Be What Your Partner is Not?

  1. I saw the same show you’re talking about! I had just got home from work and turned on the TV. Needless to say, that topic ALWAYS catches my attention. I thought about that too and ironically T and I were talking about it this morning at breakfast. No, you cannot be everything the other is not. It’s not possible in IF. You’re both going through so much, sometimes it breaks couples up and sometimes they are stronger because of it. T said it’s really about feeling like we are in this together… hanging on to each other.. finding strength through and for the other other person. I did see that episode and this is a very lovely post about it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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