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Infertility Struggle: Childless Doesn’t Mean Hopeless

Surviving Marriage with Infertility

Whenever people ask me how you can build a strong marriage without children, I chuckle to myself, wondering how people build strong marriages with children.

I imagine my life with children: less sleep, more responsibility, less money, more stress. And I wonder how people keep marriages strong on top of all that.

But then I remember all the stress that comes with infertility. I remember all the times my husband and I were so hopeful that we would bring a child into our family, only to have our dreams dashed time and again.

I remember all my friends whose marriages fell apart after failed fertility treatments.

And I remember so many people believing and telling me and my husband that a woman’s, a man’s, and a marriage’s role in this life is to have children.

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Infertility Struggle: Childless Doesn’t Mean Hopeless - About Islam

So how can people who can’t or don’t have children maintain a strong bond without kids in marital life? This is what I have found to be true:

Remember the Real Purpose of Life and Marriage

The first thing that a couple MUST remember is that our purpose in life is not to have children; this is too far from reality. Our purpose in life is to worship Allah.

{And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.} (Qur’an 51:56)

And, of course, having and raising children, with the right intentions can be one way of doing just that.

But there are so many ways to fulfill our purpose in this life without having children.

There have been many pious people, like Lady Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) and Jesus (peace be upon him), who never had children but still served their purpose in life phenomenally well.

Allah specifically warns us against this kind of approach to life:

{O you who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah. And whoever does that – then those are the losers.} (Qur’an 63:9)

The first thing my husband and I remind ourselves of when we get sad about not hearing the bitter patter of little feet running through the house is our true purpose in life.

This helps both of us refocus on what really matters. And this refocusing is not just helpful in dealing with infertility but with all of life’s let-downs.

Have Mutual Goals, Projects, Aspirations

After the intense passion of the honeymoon phase is gone, having children gives a husband and a wife a mutual goal and a reason to work together.

But having children is not the only thing that can bring a couple together.

The goal of any marriage should be to help each other gain the pleasure of Allah and attain Jannah together.

But couples can have worldly goals that feed into this ultimate goal.

Childless couples can start saving money to buy a house without interest, or even work together to plan and build their own home.

They can support each other as they work toward getting advanced degrees or work to further develop their careers.

They can start or join a charity for a cause in which they both believe. They can even help each other learn a new language or a skill. The options are endless.

The important thing for me and my husband has been to build a sense of family in our marriage. This is a little harder to do without children, but not impossible.

Our goal orientation in our marriage has helped to create a strong bond just like that of raising children. We call ourselves a team and we act as one.

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About Theresa Corbin
Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.