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Experts Advise Couples To Wait, Not Waste


Couples who are battling with infertility are up to three times more likely to end in divorce if they fail to produce a child, fertility experts have opined.

This is even as they have urged couples to build up their intimacy while waiting for their bundle of joy.

Fertility experts, who gave the advice at a webinar on how to enjoy intimacy while waiting, organised by Nordica Fertility Centre in Lagos, said without intimacy, there is no relationship and the lack of intimacy is the most common reason for relationship breakdown.

Relationship and marriage therapist, Mr Olaiwola Abiola, said divorce rate is very high all over the world, with about 40 to 50 per cent, adding that in Nigeria, it is about 14 per cent, which is not entirely true due to lack of accurate data.

Explaining further, Abiola disclosed that in January, 2023 alone, about 4,000 couples filed for divorce and most of them were in the first year of their marriage. He averred that broken marriage don’t happen overnight, as couples had to first of all drift apart, due to lack of intimacy.

For one to reset intimacy in marriage, the marriage therapist tasked couples to work on their communication.

“They must be able to share their fears, their joy together, and seek help when it is necessary. One of the reasons why God allow couples to wait, before carrying their bundle of joy, is because He wants them to get it right. For instance, if couples don’t have a good relationship, it will not be good to raise children in that toxic environment.

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“I also advise couples to make room for their differences. We are different in that our background, level of maturity, education and temperament are different, hence the need to make room. We must also evolve because the kind of man you were before marriage, should not be the same in marriage. You must improve on yourself. You must also get all the needed help. Some couples may need professional counselling, therapy, support system and even spiritual counselling. Get all the help that you need.

“There is need to be intentionally, which is key. We must do things deliberately, in that you need to set some rules. Deliberately look for things to be grateful for in your spouse. You need to also learn new things about your spouse. Set time aside for each other. Show physical affection. Plan something to do together. Know how your spouse want to be loved. Some people are overwhelmed with fear and sorry while waiting to conceive. Start projects together, while waiting. That will ignite your passion,” he advised.

In the same vein, the clinical manager and fertility counsellor at the Centre, Tola Ajayi, said waiting to conceive could be a very difficult period, which oftentimes could lead to divorce, especially when the baby is not forthcoming.

She called on couples who are battling with infertility to not focus on their present condition, but rather use that time to make their relationship stronger.

“This is the time to be more intimate with each other. Intimacy is not something that you develop in one day, it grows and it continues to grow during your time together. Intimacy is more than sex, because sex is just one of the aspects of intimacy.

“There are three keys to intimacy which are understanding, trust and acceptance. Intimacy is being vulnerable, there should be nothing hidden. Intimacy is emotion, it is love, it is effort, smiles, laughs, memories and passion. It is all encompassing. Sometimes, the best part of intimacy is when you just layback, laugh together at the sweetest things, hold each other and enjoy each other’s company,” Mrs Ajayi averred.

Meanwhile, a couple, Prince and Carol Arheghan, who had battled with infertility for 11 years, before carrying their bundle of joy, said the 11 years without a child wasn’t a struggle for them, because they were determined to make their marriage work, child or no child.

Carol Arheghan said they faced pressure from close relatives, but they didn’t allow the pressure to get to them, because they were busy doing things together.

“We love each other so much. We eat together, bath together. In fact, we do things together. There is nothing my husband don’t know about me,” she added.

She, however, advised couples who are battling with infertility to “Have a life, don’t allow the pressure to get to you. While we were waiting, we organised baby shower for couples who were pregnant. We were sowing seed in the lives of other couples while we were waiting. Whether the issue is from your spouse or from you, please do not play the blame game, rather, look for ways to tackle the infertility issue together. This is how we scaled through, and I believe it can also help you as well.”

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