Pam Halter
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Parents Blog

Keeping it Together - part one
12/5/2013 8:00:03 AM by: pam

We’re familiar with the portion of the marriage vows “In sickness and in health.” We assume that means the sickness or health of our spouse, however I’d like to propose this can also mean the sickness or health of our children, grandchildren, parents or siblings. Let’s even say the sickness or health of anyone you’re close to.

The focus here is having a child with special needs. Anna has autism and seizures. Your child may have another disability. It doesn’t really matter the source; the stress and emotions are the same, and it puts stress on any marriage.

It's been said eighty to ninety percent of marriages with a special needs child fail. These statistics are staggering. It almost seems like an impossible task holding a marriage together in this situation. But it can be done. I'm going to walk you through the unique situation having a special needs child puts on a marriage and offer advice on how we hold on to our relationship together through it all. How we hang on, even when it's not pretty. I realize every relationship is different, but there are enough similarities I can help with.

It's distressing every time we hear of a couple divorcing, even if they don't have a special needs child. I wonder, what's their excuse? I have enough stress to kill an elephant, let alone a marriage, and Daryl and I are still together. It's especially hard when I hear the reasons like:

          

            I'm not in love with her anymore.

            We don't communicate with each other.

            He isn't sensitive to my needs.

            I just don't want to be married.

            She isn't the person I married.

It's not like a spouse who is abusive or is cheating. The above reasons for divorce are easier to fix than violence or infidelity. Because it's so easy to get a divorce today, it's a simple thing to justify, especially when you feel unhappy. We deserve to be happy, right?

Before we go on, let me tell you something I think will help you right from the start. Daryl and I are struggling. We're in counseling right now, and not for the first time. We are not the perfect couple people tell us we are. We don't communicate well, often taking what the other says wrong. We bicker and snap at each other. We resent each other. We don't listen to each other. We spend next to no time together - in any way. So, you see, we aren't a couple who has it all together. But we are a couple who loves each other and have made the decision to fight for our marriage, and we encourage you to enter the fight with us. It's proved exhausting so far, but I have to believe it's going to be worth it. I have to have hope we'll come out on the other end, still not perfect, but with our relationship intact and stronger than it is right now.

Here is a list of topics I would like to talk about:

          Your spouse is not your enemy
          Siblings
          Having a conversation, no, a REAL conversation
          Sex and romance
          Division of duties
          Counseling; when do you need it?
          Support groups – do you need one?

 

So, stay tuned. I'm hoping for some great discussion!


Comments

ellen snyder From downingtown pa At 12/5/2013 9:45:49 AM

Bless you for your candor and courage, Pam. Great is your reward in heaven. In the meantime, praying for strength, humor, wisdom, peace, communication in all aspects of your family. Thank you for putting a different slant on such a timely topic.

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