Infertility & marriage: What women wish men knew

“God made man before woman so the man would have time to think of an answer for the woman’s first question.”

Unfortunately even with the extra time, many men struggle with how to answer their partner’s questions. Which answer is the right one? Will it hurt her if I tell her what I really think? How do I get out of this one with minimal fallout?

OK, so maybe these thoughts don’t go through men’s heads with every question, however questions that arise from efforts at conscious conception are likely to raise a few of them from the basement up to the top floor of thought.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from women attempting to conceive in partnership is that their husbands won’t communicate with them. Having no idea what he is thinking, they often move to the logical (well at least it is to us women) conclusion–that he simply doesn’t care. From there an entire torrid novel can be written in our heads about how they no longer love us, how they see us as “broken,” or how we are no longer attractive in our imperfect state.

When this happens the marriage moves to shaky ground and two people who love each other find the Grand Canyon of a divide between them.

Today, I offer a few tips for men on the fertility journey. For women readers, feel free to pass this along to your partners. Sometimes the words are easier to “say” when said by someone else.


  1. We love you.
  2. We are most vulnerable to your judgments; more than to any other–perhaps with the exception of ourselves (we often beat ourselves over the head with a 2 x 4 for our perceived failures).
  3. The one and only person who can truly crush us, is you. Yes, you hold more sway in our lives than you may ever have imagined.
  4. We reach out to connect with you in words, when we want to “talk.” When you don’t respond, we are crushed.
  5. We do want a child, we truly do. And, the deepest part of our feelings of inadequacy comes from the inability to give you the one gift we most want to–and that we believe you most want.
  6. We see our beauty and desirability as women as intricately tied to our fertility. We don’t hear you when you say we are beautiful anymore, but we feel it when you kiss us the way you did when we first met, when you reach out to hold our hand every time we are walking by your side, and when you surprise us with a night out on the town. In those moments, we are beautiful again.
  7. We don’t want to have timed sex either, it’s just plain awful. We are just so afraid to stop because when we do we let go of any control we think we might have to give you the thing we cannot.
  8. Our nature is to give, and give, and give. Women are designed to be nurturers and givers. Now, this does not mean that every woman is loving and nurturing, just that most of us have a hard time saying what we really need back. When we finally do, please, please, please listen to us. Those moments are when we show you the center of our hearts. We just handed you the key to our “happy.” Please use it.
  9. We love you, even when we shut down to protect our battered hearts. We still love you, and you are the only one who knows how to open us back up again. Love us back by being gentle. Sometimes all we need is for you to sit quietly next to us and hold our hand while we cry. Just hold our hand.
  10. We are soft, though we can be tough as nails. Inside, we are soft. The fight we must find to go down the road of conscious conception catapults us into the space of a prize fighter, it’s not natural for us. Forgive us if we are harsh toward you, the soft sometimes feels so far below the surface. You can take us there though; you are the one who can remind us. All you have to do is be gentle with us. When we rise up into our fight, touch and speak to us softly, hold us close (you see that’s what reminds us that we don’t have to carry the weight, that’s what you are for), and tell us you love us, for we may have forgotten that we are lovable.
  11. We are angry, but not at you. We are angry for all of the dashed dreams, for the influx of hormonal nightmares our bodies continue to endure. We are angry that we can feel so alone going through it all, even when you are standing right there next to us–it is always us stuck in these bodies. Sometimes we are just plain angry and don’t even know why–it’s just all become too much. Let us be angry, and know that it will dissipate much faster if you talk to us about it–yes, talk.
  12. Our hearts our broken, right in half and you are the only one with the glue.
  13. If there was a time we ever truly needed you to be the strong and sturdy man in our lives, it is now.
  14. Sometimes we just need to hear your voice to know you have not abandoned us on this deserted island. It is not so much the answer to our questions as it is the acknowledgment of the question, and all the “ouch” underneath it.
  15. We love you; sometimes we’ve just forgotten how to let anyone love us back.


  1. Lisa Willinger · · Reply

    Thanks for sharing. I would add, “It is ok that you can’t fix it. You don’t have to. Just by being here, holding our hands, and listening, you help.”

    1. A wonderful addition, thank you Lisa.

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