As I was praying about how to open this year’s 31 Days to a Better Marriage series, the Lord was very clear: share how you and your husband worked through your miscarriages. While this topic is one that I have only recently begun to open up about publicly, it still remains one of the most raw and painful wounds I’ve experienced in my life.
The loss of a child is something that should not be hidden, but rather talked about as often as the parents are comfortable in sharing. While my first miscarriage occurred over 15 years ago, I still long for my child every single day.
I pray that the words below can help speak life into hurting marriages that long for healing and closeness after the devastation of experiencing a miscarriage.
5 Tips to Help Married Couples Navigate Through Miscarriage
Talk about your miscarriage often.
One of the parts of my first miscarriage that was really tough for my husband and me was the fact that it occurred just 7 days before his first year-long combat tour to Iraq. We realized rather quickly that even though we only had a solid week to spend together with predictable communication, we needed to talk about the loss of our baby. Not only did we need to talk about it for ourselves and for our marriage, but we needed to be strong and do it for our baby girl, who at the time was only 3.
And so we did.
We talked about it those 7 days. And it helped bring it out into the open. We talked about it over the course of that year through spotty communication via email and the occasional phone call. We’ve continued to talk about our losses and will do so until the day we depart this earth to be with the Lord. It’s amazing the healing that can take place between you and your spouse when you are able to talk about delicate issues such as miscarriage together.
Give yourself (and your spouse) permission to grieve.
While this may seem like common sense, until you actually walk through something, you don’t always know how you are going to react. For me, my natural tendency in difficult times is to just “get over it” and move on. It wasn’t until my first miscarriage that I realized there was no way I could “get over it” and I needed to allow myself to feel the intense pain in my heart. It was through this scripture that God clearly spoke to me about the importance of the grieving process:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
The night that God gave me this scripture I felt His peace surround me. I felt the security I needed in order to grieve. I understood that even though I am hurting now, that somehow, some way, God would comfort me through it. Once I gave myself permission to grieve I gained the clarity I needed to allow my husband to grieve, too. I also realized that we all grieve differently and was able to be a supportive wife to my husband as we both walked through our first great loss together. Give yourself (and your spouse) permission to grieve. I promise you that if you allow Jesus access to your heart, He will comfort you.
Pray about it together.
One thing we learned early in our marriage was the power of agreement in prayer. There is something so special about praying with the one you are in covenant with. My husband and I have been praying through our miscarriages together for over a decade now and it has helped us to not only get closer, but to be able to bear these devastating losses.
We have watched as the power of prayer has healed us beyond the “what ifs.” We have watched as the power of prayer has prevented us from playing the “blame game” or any other divisive thinking that could have torn our marriage apart. We recognize that the role of prayer as we’ve navigated through our miscarriages has given us the freedom to walk in God’s peace, even though we want nothing more than to hold our babies that we’ve lost.
Give yourself (and your spouse) grace as you heal.
My husband and I both found that we had to be graceful to ourselves and to one another over the years. The pain of miscarriage never leaves — but it does get better with time. By giving one another grace, we’ve been able to get over some hurdles in our grieving process that could have damaged our marriage.
If I am being honest, my husband showed me a lot more grace in the beginning then I showed him. I am so thankful he knew me well enough to know that I wasn’t lashing out at him — but I was in pain. He loved me enough to give me grace in my time of need. I am so grateful for that. What my husband didn’t know is that once I was further along in my healing process, I would have the strength to give him the grace he needed when he really had the time to think about the loss (as he was deployed immediately after and didn’t have the ability to focus on anything but combat). But Jesus knew.
Give yourself grace and allow God to use your spouse to give you grace — and do your very best to show your spouse grace as they grieve as well. And in the midst of it you will experience a closeness with your spouse that is unimaginable.
It’s okay to seek outside help to make sense of your feelings.
It is not uncommon for your grief to make you feel out of control. If you or your spouse begin to feel this way, be sure to communicate it to one another. Please don’t allow yourself to be consumed with your loss. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor — if you start to feel like the loss of your child is unbearable (or notice that your spouse feels this way), do not be afraid to seek outside help. There are many ways to seek help: pastoral counseling, licensed grief counselors, and support groups to name a few.
While we all experience the loss of a baby through miscarriage differently, one thing remains true for us all: We mourn the loss of our baby and need to heal.
Friends, I know that everyone has a unique experience when dealing with the loss of a baby through miscarriage, but I hope that this scripture will bring you some peace:
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Please know that you are not alone. I am praying for each one of you and your marriage as you learn to navigate the grief of a miscarriage with your spouse. Never forget that God is on your side and He will see you through.