challenge to parents of children with special needs.

23 03 2010

Hi, friends! You may have already heard this statistic, but according to multiple sources- 80-85% of parents with a special needs child will divorce.

Scary, huh! I can easily see why this is so. The truth is, these kids require much more of our time, energy and sometimes love. But, even so we can not put our children above our spouse. The Bible commands us to prioritize our marriage above our children (but, right after God, of course).

I can think of one example that has been very public. If you have ever seen Jon & Kate plus 8, you know that Kate always put her kids ahead of her marriage. Having 8 small children would demand a lot from any parent, but sadly, they put their marriage on the back burner and the rest is history. Now, I would never put the blame on one person for a marriage deteriorating, but this was a fundamental flaw.

My challenge to you friends is to guard your marriage! Your little ones will benefit much more from a Mom and Dad who are actively pursuing a good marriage than a little extra time spent with the kids.

Make date night a priority! I know, it is inconvenient to find a sitter and much easier to stay home, especially when you have a child who has seizures.

Read up on how to strengthen your marriage. Some of my favorites are; Marriage on the Rock, For Women Only, For Men Only, and for the ladies– Feminine Appeal.

Remember that your spouse is not the enemy, you are a team! Appreciate your spouse’s differences instead of resenting them. God placed you together for a reason.

What are some of the ways that you purposely prioritize your marriage?

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8 responses

23 03 2010
Zoe

I completely agree with your post here. Ken and I have had this conversation and we agreed back when we learned of Lillians diagnosis that we ARE commited to each other through it ALL, no matter what. (We have been together for 13 years now)

My oldest daughter is from a previous marriage she will be 17 in June. We have had a lot of struggles with her over the years. She is in regular contact with her father. (This is good and bad) Her fathers and I’s parenting skills, and tactics are COMPLETELY different and in turn has created a deal of confusion for her over the years. She is not “special needs” in the same way that Lillian is however, we have learned how damaging this can be! I was not a Christian when I married my first husband and was not a Christian when we divorced. If I could go back, there would be many things that I’d change if I could. Not for myself but for her…. She will not have the same advantages as Lillian will.. I am regretful for that.

Ken and I decide on everything together. Every dollar that is spent we decide together. We help each other daily to assist in achieving items that we find important. We respect each other and at times, we agree to disagree. We try to be loving and kind to each other to demonstrate to the girls what a loving relationship is.

23 03 2010
josephine

It is a sad thing, but you’re right, the extra stress can really try even the best of marriages. But it is still possible, and 100% necessary, to make your marriage your priority…not only for the benefit of you and your spouse, but also for the benefit of the child. I think everyone has has good and bad days (or even weeks or months!!), but I think it’s important to ALWAYS remember why you chose to marry your spouse in the first place. Part of the reason I have always insisted on a 7pm bedtime for my children (I know that will have to change as they get older!) is because it means that my husband and I still have our evenings together with no distractions, so even if we can’t make it out for date night, we can still have a quiet date night at home πŸ™‚

23 03 2010
Kristen

Besides having date nights out, we also, on a regular basis, work to express gratitude for each other. Even though it was posted on Valentine’s Day, my list of “100 things I love about Mike” is something I express to him regularly, and he does the same for me. Showing consistent appreciation for each other is making sure we are never taking the other one for granted, especially the small things.

Often times I think resentment between couples arise because each spouse feels like they have been putting so much effort and work into the family and the other spouse is not taking notice and appreciation for it and sometimes can even hurdle an angry, demanding list starting with “You NEVER…” or “You ALWAYS…”.

With a simple every day purpose to focus on what your spouse does to make a difference in a day can make a big difference in the days ahead. For example, tonight when we got back from spending the evening at my in-laws, even though it was late and nearing bedtime, Mike immediately set about emptying the trashes in our house and taking it to the curb for pick up tomorrow morning. I thanked him for remembering (as so many times in the past he’s forgotten and that task is just yet another thing that gets added to my already full plate and I feel frustrated by that). He told me that he worked hard all day to keep that “window” open so he would remember. With much gratitude I expressed my thanks again telling him that things like that make my day easier. He expressed to me that it blesses him to make my day nicer.

There was so much expressive gratitude we did in just one simple household chore like taking the trash out. Right now I am full of fuzzy wuzzies, and feeling so close and taken care of by my husband.

Like you said, a household, a family, is about team work. And just like all good teams, they have pep talks and thorough communication. To be expressing to each other what we appreciate about the other one is a positive way to show how their work is so important on the “team”. I don’t think it’s just good enough to give a vague appreciation, like “I appreciate all that you do.” Really, that doesn’t tell a person much. But give them specifics and it sticks in the heart and memory much longer. To do this forces a person to focus on their spouse and watch for those things they do that are helpful. It keeps us reminded to not just stay focused on the kids.

Good post Sherri!

24 03 2010
kelli

Just popped over from my blog and I’ve really enjoyed reading up on you and your family. Your house is adorable and so cozy-looking. Your son is precious and I’ve really enjoyed reading your story.

God Bless!!!

24 03 2010
kim

we rarely get to go out for a date, but we do have what we call sundates. sunday nights the kids go to bed early, and they know why. they know mom and dad are going to spend time together. we chat, catch up, usually watch a movie. during the week whenever they are giving us a hard time about going to bed we remind them that mom and dad are going to spend time together and they are not allowed to spend that time with us. it works for us!

24 03 2010
carla

AMEN! I totally agree with you:)
We had several “rocks” thrown at us by life when we first got married. We joke to each other that we have gone through more in our 4 years of marriage than some couples have in 10 years of marriage.
My view of my new role as a wife/mother changed drastically when we moved to TX & I became the SAHM. I now know that I have to work at being a wife, more than at being a mother. I try to be a good helpmeet to my husband by keeping food in the house, keeping the house clean, the children as well behaved as toddlers can be & sharing desicions regarding money, childrearing & family relationships. I also serve as his sounding board. He had a previous marriage & came to me with some “baggage” & I came to the marriage as someone who put career first & everything else second. I can definately say we have both changed, I feel for the better. We would love to go out more as a couple & will try to put forth the effort to get an “out of the house” date, but so far, movie nights at home are working well for us:)

25 03 2010
Jill

Great post Sherri. I totally agree with that statistic. It can be difficult at times to keep the love flowing. We have agreed never to let the “d” word enter our conversation. It’s not an option. We have to work it out.

I, too, would love to do date nights. We’ve scheduled two in the last month and both times, Matthew ended up hospitalized. We’re hoping we can reschedule when the weather gets nicer!

2 04 2010
Lisa

What a great post filled with wonderful wisdom!

It is so important to be devoted at all times to your spouse and shower them with love and attention. Donald and I just try to be kind to eachother. It’s that simple. If you are always trying your hardest to make your companion happy things work out perfectly πŸ™‚

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