How Abortion Can Impact a Marriage

What happens in a marriage after abortion? Is everything all better after the “problem” of pregnancy was solved? No matter what language you speak, what race or nationally you belong to, how old you are, or what religion you believe in, the answer is the same: No!

The answer is “no” because a human life has been taken. The couple’s child has died, and as in all cases involving the death of a child, the couple must eventually come to terms with their grief. Abortion grief is very much like any other grief, except that in an abortion situation, a relationship that was “bound together as one,” has now been torn in two.

Abortion was a serious wound in my own marriage–one that left a tremendous scar. Before the scarring took place, however, the wound first bled, then it seeped and oozed and bled some more. Infection set in and gangrene soon followed . . . .

The wound was ugly and painful, and it got worse before it ever got better. In order for healing to come, the wound had to be opened up and the infection scraped out. This resulted in many fights and arguments between my husband and me.

After an abortion, there first comes a stage of denial: “Go through life and pretend it never happened.” This is how the mind and body cope with what has taken place, but the human mind can’t forget that the abortion happened. It stuffs the information away into the subconscious. But it must always be dealt with later in some other, often very unpleasant, ways.

There is proven, documented evidence that tells us that women will suffer from post-abortion syndrome. They may be haunted by guilt and extreme sadness that manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including bad dreams and crying spells. These feelings will not just go away on their own. Sweeping them under the rug and having an unscathed marriage is an impossibility.

Eventually the reality of the child’s death can no longer be stuffed away in the subconscious. In my own life, I reached a stage where I was consumed by vicious, verbal anger and intense blame which I pointed directly at my husband, blaming him for the death of our child. My grief and anger so consumed me that I could only focus on it and on how lousy I felt, rather than trying to save my marriage.

I watched a documentary once about a couple that had aborted their child. The woman confessed that when she walked into the waiting room after the abortion and saw her husband, she immediately hated him. She said that if she had had a gun in her hand, she would have shot him. I never wanted to kill my husband, but I sure had a lot of angry, hateful, hostile feelings toward him.

Abortion goes beyond post-abortion syndrome that affects the woman alone. It carries over into relationships, affecting how couples feel about each other. It even affects how you parent the children you decided to have and are now trying to raise.

Marriage vows are based on the idea of loving, honoring, cherishing and respecting each other. After an abortion, love can turn to hate, honor to dishonor, respect to disrespect, and cherishing to yesterday’s newspaper.

What took an abortionist and his staff six hours to undo, took me 18 long years to put back together, both my life and my marriage. Unlike so many other stories, mine has a happy ending. With God’s help and the help of other caring Christians, our marriage and lives have been healed from the wound of abortion and it is no longer a negative issue.

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Comments

How Abortion Can Impact a Marriage — 19 Comments

      • I’m deepest regards. I am recently married and we were on out honeymoon when this happened. It began with nervous and alittle excited and now, I’m so lost it hurts. Isn’t this suppose to happen when your married. I get it’s my last year of college and he hasn’t worked in almost a year. I guess I’m more hurt because we both have one of our own and now he doesn’t want anymore. I asked him if I did this, can we get a divorce!! He looked up me with no question and blanked out. I hope one day I’ll get passed this. For now, I’m hurting with so much sorrow I can’t help but cry

  1. I’m so happy to read that this marriage was fixed. 18 yrs of healing? Wow. I envy that. I felt/feel the same ways mentioned here after the procedure. My marriage didn’t last afterwards and he divorced me. I’ve remarried and now have 2 beautiful kids. But I still long for my first marriage, my first husband, and to actually have dialogue about the “real feelings” with him. I wish he would eventually accept me back with a blended family and still give him a child. He says he would have a hard time accepting my kids. This article made me realize why. That’s the fairytale in my mind.

  2. I had an abortion 2 years ago it was my decision alone my husband didn’t want it he couldn’t come with or support me. Since it happened my feelings have changed towards him I’m not sexually attracted to him and I don’t think I’m in love either but we have 2 children and I don’t know how to fix this marriage anymore. I need some advice please help.

    • Hello Martina, have you thought about talking with a counselor? Would your husband go with you? You have both been affected by this abortion, no matter who made the decision or how much he was involved in it. Some marriage counselors might not want to address the abortion or know how to do it, so you need to make sure you find someone who can. Our Healing After Abortion page has information and links to organizations that offer free and confidential support after abortion to help both you and your husband find healing from this.

  3. My wife and I have been married for 6.5 years. Due to severe and chronic morning sickness, my wife and I decided that terminating was the safest thing for her. We tried a second time, but again her body reacted so violently we decided to terminate again. Since then, my wife has been significantly scarred by these events, she is constantly depressed, and has no libido at all. I often feel rejected and detached from her. We adopted a child last year who we adore. I desperately want my marriage to improve, but I’m terrified for our marital future. I fear she is unable to participate physically because of these events. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Hello Justin, as you’ve seen in this post abortion can have a huge impact on a relationship. There is often a lot of unresolved sadness and pain or even resentment or other issues that crop up. Even if you feel like you made the decision together it can be difficult to talk about. It sounds like this is something you and your wife need to work on together. Even if you feel like you aren’t struggling yourself with the abortion, your wife clearly is and she needs you to be there for her. Do you think your wife would be willing to seek healing for this experience and support for your marriage with you? I would suggest visiting our healing page for more information on post-abortion healing as well as a list of organizations that offer free, confidential and non-judgemental support for women, men and couples after abortion. You can also contact Rachel’s Vineyard for support through email. Even if your wife isn’t ready to take this step, you can do this on your own if you are struggling, both for your own sake and to better understand and help her.

  4. My wife and I have been trying to have a child for 6 plus years and we’re not able to. We considered adoption and foster children but it never quit worked out. Once we conceded That being parents was not in the cards we moved on with our lives. We recently found out that my wife is pregnant. I was overjoyed and excited by the prospect of finally becoming a dad! She was totally devastated. This was even more apparent after the first ultrasound. She wanted no photos or anything. She came up with every reason why we shouldn’t be parents from we can’t afford it to we have no child care to we are too old and she was in so much pain… that part is true. She told me that she doesn’t want to go through with the pregnancy and I don’t know what to do. I hoped this was just the hormones and uncertainty taking but I believe she means it. I am afraid for our relationship. Any constructive words or thoughts would greatly appreciated.

    Jay

    • Jay, I might begin by asking her to read through the risk factors that identify women who are most likely to regret their abortions and experience more severe emotional reactions. The psychological risks can be devestating . . . especially for a woman who previously was of a mindset of wanting a child. The physical risks should also be considered.

      I’m not sure why she is suddenly reversing herself. My guess is that she’s getting cold feet due to some insecurity and perhaps due to a fear of getting her hopes up again after having given up once before.

      Ask her about seeing someone at a pregnancy help center, or a pastor, or even a pro-life doctor who can give her a good strong dose of reassurance. She needs hope in her life. I know you are trying to provide exactly that . . . but I’d suggest looking for other people who will also rally around and encourage her.

      • Thanks for your encouraging words. A quick update things are getting much better. We have talked about how we both feel and have started going through the process. We have had several appointments with various professionals as well as my wife’s primary doctor who has been great. We have had ultrasounds and have chosen to proceed with the pregnancy for the time being. She is still very unsure and worried as am I but I and the rest of our family (who we recently told our news to) are being as supportive as we can be.

        Thanks again

        Jay

  5. When my 1st son was 3 yrs old my husband and I split up after a struggle with my mental health after him finding out I was traumatically raped several times as a youngster. The deal was we would separate and he would support my recovery in the hopes we could be together again one day. So after a couple months I became pregnant and was sick immediately. I still remember the first dose of agonizing pain and sickness only 5 days later. Obviously unawares I was pregnant till I did a test weeks later when my period never came. I was still sick.

    I couldn’t work and had to move out of my house and live with my mum so I could have help with my son. I remember the daily pain and vomiting at least 10 times per day. It frightened my son. I made the decision that with my mental state and sickness I had to think of the well being of my son and knew I would be incapable of caring for him if I kept going.

    At 12 weeks I terminated to the horror of my husband. It wasn’t over though. I was still sick, bled for 10 more weeks, was anemic, fatigued, still in pain. But it eventually passed. My husband hated me for it but we got back together about a year later and welcomed another son a few years after that….after I was well recovered mentally of course. He is now 3 and for the first time tonight my husband had a bit to drink and told me he wanted to punch me till I breathed no more (he would never actually hurt me) and that looking at our youngest son was like looking at the life that was taken from him….

    I feel he hates us both now and I don’t know what to do. I never knew this still hurt him so much. I felt I dealt with it but he obviously never has and is now reaching out to tell me how much he hates me for it.

    • Dear Diane,

      I’m sorry to hear all that you have been through. After what your husband said, you are right to reach out for help. As you said, the loss of his child to abortion is clearly weighing very, very heavily upon him. This is more common for men than many people realize. I strongly encourage you to ask him to go with you to a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat weekend for couples who are struggling with a past abortion. As you will see on the link, they are available in many countries.

      I would also encourage you to not read too much into his angry words. First, there is nothing in what you wrote to suggest that he hate’s his youngest son, or resents him. It is better to assume that seeing his other children makes him feel grief over the child he has never seen laugh or play. Most of the time, anger comes from a place of hurt. When he spoke of the feelings of violence he feels toward you, he’s really just shifting his tremendous feelings of pain and loss into anger. Don’t tolerate violence, of course, but do try to be understanding of his pain. Tell him that you understand, and if you have any feelings of loss, share those with him too, and promise him you will do all you can to work with him to work through this loss. If Rachel’s Vineyard isn’t accessible, look for another post-abortion recovery program.

      You are all in our prayers.

  6. Thanks for all the comments. I am pleased to let you all know that after a long difficult pregnancy my wife and just welcomed our baby boy yesterday and she is so in love with him. Our relationship is stronger for going through this journey. We welcome our future together. I know these situations don’t always work out but I am here to say have faith and things can work out.

  7. It is a horrible thing… my husband and i came to a decision after crying about it for a while. We held each other crying… after it was done i pretended it didn’t happen for a week. He seemed more upset after than i was at first.. i felt so relived because my morning sickness was gone. I felt revived. Then it hit me. I was never the same after. I have dreams that i am pregnant. Woke up crying in the middle of the night. I act as if i hate my husband all the time. It’s almost as if he disgusts me now… i love him but my heart just aches when i look at him .. i don’t know what to do. All we do is fight now. It’s almost been 4 months since..

    • I am so sorry for both of you. I pray you will cling to the hope that things can get better. The most beneficial thing you can do for yourself, and him, is to take the time to find a post-abortion recovery program (see our resources and tips page). That will put you into touch with women (and men) who have been through what you are facing. They can listen to and support you in ways that others can’t, and because they have found substantial healing they can guide you thru the recovery process and be examples for you as to what you can achieve.

      Do not give up hope! I know that when you look at your husband your mind instantly goes to your loss. In time, with good counseling, you can both work through your grief together, and by doing so, you can restore and even deepen your love and compassion for each other.

      You are in my prayers.

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