Happy 10 Years!
The divorce rate among couples who have a child with special needs is disturbingly higher than the general population. And I totally get it. This life is stressful. I once read that mothers who have a child with autism have stress levels comparable to combat soldiers. I feel a tremendous amount of pressure on a daily, hourly, and minute by minute basis. From coordinating the beast of a therapy and appointment schedule to handling ever-changing self-stimulatory and problematic behaviors to teaching basic skills most kids naturally pick up, to riding the emotional rollercoaster that is autism. I’m sad when I see other people’s kids the same age and it becomes painfully obvious where we are. I’m sad when I see other autistic kids doing great things that my child is not. And I feel guilty when I sit down to do something that isn’t autism-related or is in no way engaging with Mark. And I read books about recovered kids, and even though they are inspirational, they always elicit a deep burdening pressure to recover my child.
Then add the conundrum of actually financing this life. The diet, supplements, equipment, therapy, and insurance copays and premiums. A lot of the interventions available aren’t covered by insurance, so now there’s the financial pressure to make that happen. Not to mention we have another child who has needs just as important as our child with special needs. So our resources of time, emotional availability, and money are all tapped. All of those challenges are very real and we often feel like our house of cards is about to come tumbling down each time some new issue surfaces. However, through all of this chaos, we have managed to remember the importance of our marriage. We know that we have to work so much harder to take care of each other because this life is hard. Facing our multitude of challenges takes the strength of the Lord, and the encouragement of each other to be able to dig deep and rise to the occasion.
As of today, we’ve been married for a decade. And in those 10 years we have nurtured an incredibly strong friendship and love for each other, but as the stresses of life piled on, and on, we began to drift back and forth between feeling like roommates, to a loving couple who wishes they had more time for each other. But in the past couple of months, when the stresses of our autism life have become their greatest, instead of crumbling, God has moved us to make our marriage a priority. We have started diligently, intentionally working on understanding each other. Even though we have been together for almost 16 years, we are still learning how we tick, and how to grow closer as the pressures of life continuously pull us apart. I pray that the next ten years hold even more opportunities for growth and instilling strength in one another.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12