Sara and I have chosen not to try for children until year two of our marriage. Nevertheless, my wife has a body, hormones, and emotions that were designed by God for His glory. He has hardwired her with a desire for children.
Last night, she spent time with two close friends who have young children. She had a wonderful time, yet as she came home to me, she felt sad and had a difficult time going to sleep. My breathing during the night bothered her and she woke up feeling irritable and negative about the upcoming day's work.
As I drove her to the office, Sara remarked that last night was difficult for her in light of the fact that she wasn't pregnant this morning. She asked me to pray for her because she dreaded the negativity she was feeling in going to work this day.
In the past, my temptation would have been to try to help her stop the sadness and recognize that this was all part of our plan, so she shouldn't be sad or negative about the day. This scenario would have come from my shame, a sense of believing that there must be something wrong with me or with the universe if she was sad and negative. I would have thought if she didn't see the rationality of waiting for two years that maybe there was something wrong with me, being unable to convince her of the whole rationality of the situation.
Had I done this, it would have further incited Sara's shame, her believing that there was something wrong with her for having such feelings and being unable to keep me happy. I just won't share my feelings in the future with Steven because I don't want him to be angry with me anymore. This is a line of thinking that could have transpired. Sara might even have begun to think that she actually was being irrational in such a scenario, especially if this were the sort of pattern that we engaged in on a regular basis.
Here is what really happened. I simply prayed for her. Sara was acting completely and utterly rationally because her mind, body, emotions, hormones, and all that stuff was working in accord with how the God of the universe has designed her to be. Sara is not an unwilling participant in this waiting business. We mutually decided to wait until year two until trying to get pregnant. It isn't as though she can't see the difference between her decision and her heart's desire. Currently, they are in conflict with one another, and she knows it. My wife has wanted to wait and simultaneously wanted to have children more and more all at the same time. She knows the value of waiting but she is also going through the grief associated with anticipation.
My role as Sara's husband is simply to support my wife in the middle of her grief. She needs to know that I'm there for her, that I'm connecting with her, that I'm listening to her, and that I'm not trying to change her. The reality is that she may or may not have a negative day at work today, but that is something she has to bear. I am neither to be fixer, nor am I to ignore what I cannot fix. I need to be separate enough to recognize that she has to walk through the grief somewhat on her own, and that she might be lonely, but I need to be engaged enough that I move towards her for comfort and support. In short, this is called empathy.
My wife is experiencing the grief of her God given physiology, and I will declare that this is not anything irrational at all, for who am I to claim that God is irrational? Sara's heart for children helps me to see God's heart for His own children, since Sara is simply reflecting the sort of grief that Christ experienced when He desired so much to gather His children around them, but they refused. His longing for the children of Israel was not unlike my wife's longing for her own children. It is beautiful, sacred, and grief-laden; but, in the future it may contain more joy than she can even anticipate now. In this sense, to me, Sara's physiology is a declaration of God's heart and glory. I am thankful to walk with her through such grief and anticipation. I am excited to see who our kids might be someday.