Thursday, July 23, 2009

Finally Announcing Book Contest Winner! Lisa!

After the posting of the Barbara Levine's book review, Married With Special Needs Children: A Couples’ Guide to Keeping Connected, one of the authors, Dr. Laura E. Marshak, (pictured above) graciously chose a winner of our second book giveaway contest. Here are her words:

It truly was really difficult to choose a winner because each contributor highlighted a strategy that is useful in making marriages work which raising children with disabilities and/or illnesses. Judging took a bit longer that I expected because I would initially pick a favorite…write my rationale for choosing it…and then pick a new favorite. This is more a testimony to your fine responses than my indecisiveness (few people call me wishy-washy!). I liked all of the strategies suggested for different reasons. For example, I was taken with the couple who celebrated their marriage each year with an “alone getaway” to remind themselves of why they married each other. I also agreed with the importance of respite time and the need for individual activities. But because I need to pick just one, I will pick the strategies suggested by Lisa.

I thought she made many wonderful points although I will only highlight a few of them. I really liked what she wrote about the importance of being a team and that neither parent’s contributions are more important than the other’s. Another one of my favorite parts of her reply was her comments about putting aside their own issues in order to support and enjoy each other. It reminded me of a quote (we ended our book with) from a couple who have three children with Fragile X syndrome. Comparing a marriage to a boat they wrote, “Don’t hack at your boat in a storm.” Lisa’s response contained this same wisdom.

In addition to taking care of our children, we need to take care of our marriage, ourselves and our partners. Lisa also demonstrated a lovely ability to work creatively within life’s limits. To me this contained some of the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer. She accepted that their lifestyle did not permit date nights and romantic getaways but was active about making life enjoyable. I also really liked her advice about making sure both partners had a little time to restore themselves through rest, hobbies etc. This underscores the fact that everyone’s life in the family matters. Furthermore, a little down time and self-care, makes us better able to be good parents and partners.

Here is Lisa's entry:

My husband and I simply do not have anyone to watch our son for date night, let alone an overnight trip.

At some point when our son regressed and we waded through the emotional fallout of the diagnosis, we both sort of looked at each other and said something like this: "Well, he NEEDS us both. Neither one of us would ever hurt him or give up on him. It will take BOTH of us to go ahead with biomed/recovery protocol. So since neither one of us will ever leave HIM, let's put OUR crap aside and face that we are in this TOGETHER and the three of us pretty much are in it on our own. Family isn't going to help, friends have run for the hills. So if we w/o a doubt, not getting out, stuck with each other, we may as well support each other and make this as pleasant as possible."

More so than romantic couple time, we go to our base of friendship and try to support/help each other survive/stay sane/still have a LIFE. We do a lot of family things and make sure the other has time to nap, read, pursue hobbies, have downtime. That is the only way we can show that we care right now, and what we each need more than anything else.

Thank you Lisa and other readers for pitching in their two cents. Also, I'd like to say thanks to Barb for sharing her insights on this book and to Dr. Marshak for writing a book that speaks to our families. We are very blessed to have such great people on our side.

Picture 1: Laura E. Marshak, PhD, (pictured) told me that she and co-author Fran Pollock Prezant CCC-SLP decided to write this book because couples often make the mistake of feeling it is not possible to meet their children’s many needs and have a fulfilling marriage under stressful circumstances.

Picture 2: Lisa and Steve from Pennsylvannia pictured here with their son Ethan, 6, who is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Lisa said...

Jenn and Dr. Marshak -

Thank you both! I doubt either of us think we have any sort of romantic fabulous "movie worthy" marriage, but we know we have the same goals and values on the things that matter.

As time has passed, our son improves and becomes easier to handle, family can now help out sometimes, and some old friends have realized we didn't disappear, just have our hands full. We've also made many new friends with special kids of their own.

Thanks again.

Barb said...


Great advice and congratulations on being the contest winner!


Barb said...


Great advice and congratulations on winning the contest.

I am glad to hear that the journey is getting a bit easier. I always find it helps me to put things in perspective when I'm feeling overwhelmed to look back. Then I can see how far forward we've moved!