Marriage Matters-Special Needs Style



MARRIAGE MATTERS – and so do other relationships!

Some say the divorce rate in families caring for children with special needs is between 80-85%. Because of these statistics, many are single parents, but whether single or married, we need the support of others.

Building a strong marriage needs to be done in all aspects of that marriage:  emotionally, physically, and spiritually – and its hard work! 

In order to make marriage work, we have learned to Divide and Conquer! That would mean splitting up and one of us accomplishing something while the other “mans the fort”. It’s not always our first choice, not the fun way we’d choose, but it’s what works! The idea for YOU, is to consider how this technique would work for you. Here are a few ways we made it work: 

1-      In the early days, one of us would go to church. The other would stay home with Joey (and our girls, sometimes). The one at home would bundle up and pack up the car with the children, meet whoever was at church and trade places. That worked during those years when we couldn’t have Joey with us IN church and when there was no place for him AT church.

2-      If Joe was asked to speak somewhere or meet with someone, Cindi would be the one to manage things at home. Alternating allowed us both to have opportunity to go out.

Additionally it’s important to Pamper Your Marriage!  We can’t do life as usual for very long without some kind of relief from the pressures of caring for another’s full-time needs. If you go back to our website there are POWER POINT PRESENTATIONS that will give more ideas, but here are a few to make marriage work when one is caring for another with special needs:

Plan intimacy

Take time to sit and talk, hold hands, take a walk

Grocery shop together and make a recipe and dinner together.

Plan a weekend away when you have opportunity. Just don’t forget to come home.

Talking things out is crucial to a marriage. That takes time. Here are a few ideas (more will be shared on the POWER POINT PRESENTATIONS that will help you think what might work for YOU:

Write out “care issues.”

Talk through decisions until mutually coming to an agreement (working through smaller pieces of the decision rather than the big chunk).

Offer solutions without judging or jumping to conclusions.

Show respect for each other’s ideas

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS certainly include extended family – the children we have and our own siblings. This relationship can be tricky because we to accept help but not take advantage of those who offer help.

We wanted all of our own children to be treated the same but knowing there are some things the person with special needs would need that they won’t. Because of that, we were careful not to ask or expect our own children to care for our son unless we asked them to do so like we would of a babysitter, and then followed through with also financially compensated them. We never wanted them to feel obligated all the time to care for their brother.

We made sure to have family rules, which included the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them” and Mark 12:31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” If we could follow that, we thought we’d be able to set a good example for our children, neighbors, teachers, etc. Also, we always desired to work as a TEAM (Together Each Accomplishes More).

Family meetings and goal planning were always tops on our list as a family, so we knew we were all on the same page, and no one could say they felt left out or unimportant. Everyone had a “say” at our meetings!

OTHERS: Friends , teachers, aides, administrators, people at church are folks to keep near us for the well being and help in development and learning of our child with special needs. Our goal? BUILD BRIDGES rather than BURN BRIDGES. These people will give us help in getting to the next step of life. Not everyone will be able to help and be a part of our child’s journey, but it’s important to give as much help and advice (to those willing to learn) so they can be of help and assistance for YOUR life journey. Not all advice we will receive will be helpful, but we can accept it, try it, and use what works – disregarding the rest.
RELATIONSHIPS are important.

Join us on FB at UNEXPECTED JOURNEY for daily (M-F) encouragement!



Leave a Reply