Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Marriage and making it work

Did you know that the divorce rate of parents with special needs children is 80 - 85%, that's a staggering number. Combined with the normal everyday stressors and the complicated issues surrounding a child with special needs, you are bound to have issues. Even without the added stressors a marriage can sometimes be difficult. Did you know they actually have something called the "disability and divorce syndrome", no joke it exists. To me it seems like when we had Jude we started on an emotional, and confusing roller coaster ride. I like certain roller coasters, but I don't like to ride them everyday of my life, so it's understandable you sometimes want off. It's a slow realization that our life will never be what we thought it would be. I have come to realize this over time, and to accept the great things that have happened in my life if it weren't for Jude. I am slowly learning to handle the roller coaster by slowing it down some, and embracing the curves. Although, finding time with just Mike, and myself is challenging. Not tearing each others throats out during this transition has also proved difficult.

I love my husband, but like I said it's hard sometimes. I was reading about making marriages work when you have an ill child, and I read some great ideas that I thought I would pass along.

Use empathy with your partner
Reflect back what you understand
Avoid dangerous comments
Compromise with each other
Be flexible
Keep arguments from escalating
Fight fairly
Make repair gestures

One thing I have learned through this experience is that your partner is your support Mike is my wall when I need something to lean on before I fall down. I think that you have to have someone there to help you through this experience, and fall back on. You have to support each other, or you are going to crumble. Since your child already has special needs they need as much stable emotional support as possible. In addition to that their siblings need the same. Emily always needs my attention, but add a brother with major medical needs, medication, and frequent issues into the mix, and she needs even more attention. It's hard to split yourself into different pieces, but in essence that is what has to be done. Parents must find a way to divide their time out equally amongst their children, and their spouses. Easier said than done huh? We must also find a way to not allow everyday simple triggers to ignite unnecessary fights or stress. If you love someone than if there is anyway to salvage a marriage that should be done.

So as a parent dealing with a sick child, or special needs child how do you avoid conflict at home? How do you make your marriage work? Let's share some ideas, I am sure everyone would appreciate them.


MrsFought said...

Honestly, we laugh. We spend even just a few moments together every night and let our cares go. We laugh. Brandon is my rock, but there are days I want to just forget the world. We lean on each other. Also, we are big supporters of "date night". With two special needs infants we go out once a month, but its very nice. Hope this helps!!

Candace said...

It sure isn't easy, right? We spend our free time together, as a family mostly. Carl definatly wishes we had more free time that we could go out by ourselves. I think having to same goals for our family really helps us.

jocalyn said...


just kidding....sorta!

kcoleman said...

I'm used to work with Fleck and have followed your blog for sometime now.
It is hard on your relationship and I remember reading the stats when we were at our lowest time with our baby and being so amazed that the numbers were so high. I can totally see why it's that high though. It's hard.
I think it has brought us closer together and we lean on each other more. When I'm down, he's there to pick me up and when he's down, I'm there for him.
We also try to get out and have time to ourselves as well with a "date night" here and there too.