Read Part I of this series, where factors that may contribute to divorce in Special Needs Families is explored, here.
How can you safe guard your marriage from “splits-ville”? First acknowledge that you have to shift your life plans. Sit down and be realistic about money. That boat you were saving for, the house down payment may never happen, but if you are honest about where the money needs to go, where the money has to go and were you want the money to go, you will at least be talking and making wise money choices together. Look into programs or support groups so you can learn the best means for securing financial help and learn what programs are available in your area. Take advantage of any help you can get, weed out what does not work or fit your needs.
Find a way to stay in the couple mode. Dinners out may now be a thing of the past, but make a point of having a nice meal together at home. If necessary have food delivered, to save time and prep work. Set the table fancy, light the candles, get out the mood music and spend a time together even if you special needs child is sleeping in the next room. Not your style, have a pick-nick in the middle of the living room floor while watching a ball game together. Do what makes you feel like a couple for an hour or two at least once a month.
Ask for outside help. Be honest when someone asks what they can do for you, tell them what you need and turn the task over to them. While you may not be able to let them baby sit, turn over laundry, cooking a meal or yard work to give you a break and allow a bit of couple time in that place. If a group or friend offers a fundraising event to help with cost, let them. Never be too proud to take help when help is offered.
Seek counseling if problems cannot be resolved. Don’t be worried about asking for help navigating your own feelings or the feeling you both have as a couple. Seek help from your church or clergy may make you feel as if you are opening up your home to air dirty laundry, but seeking counseling from your church home is usually free and allows you to work with someone who knows you family well.
There is no magic guide to having a perfect marriage, with or without a special needs child. The first step is to try and work things out before they go wrong. Remember having a child is a blessing, planned, or unplanned, special needs or not and that child as well as the parents, deserve the best family life possible. ”
What are your thoughts?