Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Your Advice on Marriage- Win a Book!

I have a new project that I hope will help us with our challenges- this time, the topic is marriage.

Today's post is not about what I say, it's about what you say. We all want to know how you deal with the challenges of being married when you have children with special needs. We want to hear all your stories, good, bad, and even ugly. Tell us what worked for you and what you advise others not to do.

It could be anything from "My husband and I make sure we say five things that we appreciate about each other every day" to "My husband cheated on me but that propelled us to save our family." Your contribution could even be about when you knew it was time to split up. All of these experiences matter and can help us.

This post will go straight into a section called, "What Works For You: Readers Give Advice," located on the right of this blog. So please don't hold back, be anonymous or not, it's up to you. From your comments, I'd like to highlight a couple and create it as its own post on this blog. These contributors would also receive a free copy of Married with Special-Needs Children: A Couples' Guide to Keeping Connected written by Laura E. Marshak Ph.D. and Fran Pollock Prezant M.Ed. CCC-SLP, courtesy of the author. Here are some reviews.

Here are some links that might interest you about marriage and special needs children:
1. Oprah Talks About Autism Divorce Rate
2. The Wall Street Journal Discusses Special Needs Possibly Causing Strain in Marriage
3. Divorce Twice More Likely When Your Child has ADHD
4. A Mother Refutes the Autism Divorce Rate on Autism Vox
5. Lisa Jo Rudy, Autism Blogger Questions if Autism Increases Divorce Rate

(Pictured: Kai and I got married at the United Nations Chapel seven years ago. It is a beautiful place but just don't get married when the General Assembly is in session. We had to have a police escort just to drive three blocks to the chapel. It was a real pain. Second photo: the cover of the book courtesy of Woodbine House)

p.s. if you would like to be anonymous but be eligible for winning the book, you must email me the contents of your comments at the exact same time you comment on the blog. You will obviously have to reveal yourself to me but your anonymity will be protected.

p.p.s. if you write a comment and don't want to leave your email address in your comment or find it hard to show how to be contacted, just keep checking this post from time to time. I'll look for you to tell you that you are one of the winners of the book.

p.p.p.s winners will be chosen by March 3 Tuesday 11:59 pm, so pls submit your advice before then if you would like to be considered. Thanks to all who contributed!


Anonymous said...

I sure could use this book! Hubby isn't too happy with me right now, he wouldn't probably hit me in the head with the book (just kidding!) but I really think we need help and just cannot afford counseling right now!

Anonymous said...

My husband left about a week ago and just came back yesterday. All I can say is that intimacy has to be maintained. If you lose that, you lose communication and become strangers, roommates. We both have a lot of work to do to accomplish this. Also, you need some time apart with friends, to get the lead out so you don't take your anxiety and frustrations out on each other, and to find things to talk about other than your child. I have been guilty of that because I am home handling all her stuff, like a lot of moms. Also, look at your wedding album and write a list of why you married your spouse in the first place. Sometimes we forget!!!!

Anonymous said...

After having been married for 20 years, I have found out that marriage is constantly in a state of evolving. I think the first 10 years were about learning how to be married. THat meant, for me, remembering that I am still ME and don't have to "morph" into this totally different person. Neither does my husband. However, the secret to being able to remain ourselves yet be married is compromise! Listen more than directing. Realize that the only person we can control AND change as needed is ourselves. So, when things are not going so swell, that is my time to look @ myself and figure out how **I** can become happier with MYSELF.

That leads me to the 2nd most important thing. Realize that your happiness has to come from yourself . . . not your spouse. We have to be happy with who we are.

Anonymous said...

Raising SN's kiddos is hard work and when you have a spouse who doesnt understand, it's tough. We've been together over 20 years, have two kids with SN's, and times are tough on so many fronts so it's hard to pick and choose the battles somedays. In the ideal world, the woman should be able to engage in conversation with her dh on a subject other than the kids and share time *together* (on whatever level) is important. And in the ideal world said husband would *listen* and *hear* said wife on what's going on, the challenges, offer suggestions, support and help strategize ways to make things better around the home. I wonder how much that really happens? It doesnt as much here, but I also figure life is give and take and right now, I feel grateful that due to his hard work I can stay home and not worry about my kids' therapies somehow happening while I work full time. It's hard... just plain hard....

Jenn said...

To the person who wrote about raising SN's kiddos... if you are interested in winning a copy of the book, please email me asap so that I know you are interested in winning a copy of the book.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I were very lucky. Our autistic child was our third with our oldest being 17 whe he was born. Between two older siblings and two parents our son had a lot of help. If one person got tired and worn another stepped in and we learned to do this all without having to be asked. It was important that all of us spent time with him to understand. I was the primary of course being the mother however everyone participated and helped. Fight? Yes there was lots of fights when the kids thought I could do better and have more patience but then I would give them the reins and let them have a turn until they understood. Husband being the one who left the house for work had the smallest part and at first I think he might have been scared and we fought lots becuase he couldn't understand why he wouldn't do things or why he did things the way he did (my son) and I would argue I am trying etc.....We had and have some pretty good spats but it all comes down to when we tuck the kids in to bed (yes even the older ones) we do it together and reflect how blessed we are. Its hard, its a daily struggle for the whole family but We have the one thing that keeps us together and that is, Our Almighty God that has given us this child for a reason, and He never will give us more than we can handle.

manuela227 said...

Barb took the words right out of my mouth. I think she should win. After geting married many people revolve their lives around the marriage and forget their individuality. My husband and I stress having a life together but also having lives apart from each other. Others also don't realize that the honeymoon has to end at some point and that they have to work daily on their marriage. Compromise and realizing that you cannot change the other person is very important. I do want to point out that many marriages are usually already on the rocks before the diagnosis comes.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I faced some of the most challenging times in our marriage dealing with the diagnosis of our son with ADHD and the subsequent discussion on how to treat him.

I think the most important lesson that I learned was that my husband and I think differently. I have a tendency to lay all the cards on the table, accept the situation and try and move forward with a decision. My husband, on the other hand, cannot make a decision as decisively as I can. He needs a few days to think about, mull it over and slowly come to a decision. Initially, this was driving me crazy until I realized that he was not trying to upset me deliberately but rather this is the approach he needs to take. Once I had that revelation, communicating with him became easier. I guess I needed to put as much effort into understanding my husband as I was putting into understanding my son’s issues.

My son is on his second week of Concerta and it has changed his life around. He can focus in school. His behavior chart, once filled with all frowning faces has been coming home with smiley faces. His social skills have also improved. Just yesterday, he was giving advice to one of his friends to NOT say a bad word in school, as he would get in trouble.

Even now, I try and point out the positives I am seeing and my husband remains leery. Ultimately, it’s probably a good thing as we balance each other, which may have been what attracted us to each other initially (“opposites attract”).

It is easy to get caught up in the stresses of the day. There is no magic potion, just a lot of hard work.

Kim said...

My advice would be do as I say not as I do... I know I need to pay more attention to DH and nurture our relationship! I need to remember that he is a part of our family too and that, while our SN child's needs are important, so are everyone else's in the family. Parenting a SN child is a challenge in the best of circumstances and, if the marriage is a good one, you have to fight to keep those "good circumstances." So I made a resolution to my DH to have a date night once or twice a month -- let's see if I follow through (my intentions are good!).

Andrea C said...

What works for us is knowing our strengths. I have patience where he doesn't and he does where I don't. We do occasionally butt heads, but try to see each other's point of view and meet in the middle. It also helps to be able to tune into each other and know that sometimes I have to take over because he is just plain worn out-and the opposite is true as well. Sometimes we all need a break. We are working on adding a date night at least once a month, but babysitters are hard to come by. It's one of our goals though for sure. ADHD in my ds is hard, but we keep plugging away at helping him and trying not to forget our dd and us.

It helps too that each of us has our own interests. I have things that I like to do and he lets me do them alone and the other way around. We each try to take the kids and give each other a break-even if it is just for long enough to soak in the tub.

Hope this helps, it's not much, but it works for us! Thanks for letting me share.

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