Starting a family comes with abundant joy, but the level of stress can elevate in marriages when children are added to the equation. This can be further exacerbated if a couple is raising a child with special needs.
Because of the love and concern that parents have for their special needs children, all of the worrying, doctor visits, and advocating for their rights can be overwhelming and exhausting. Often times, spouses have different feelings about managing a child with special needs, and the responsibilities can sometimes fall on one spouse more than the other.
Caring for special needs children does not have to be the trigger for causing divorce in the marriage. The following are some suggestions for keeping marriages strong when dealing with a special needs child:
Show gratitude and appreciation for each other. It is important for parents to divide the responsibilities of caring for their special needs children. Equally as important, is for couples to recognize the efforts that the other parent is making. Putting an emphasis on what a spouse is doing right can help marriages stay strong and avoid divorce.
Keep the lines of communication open by engaging in ongoing dialogue. It is important not to let anger or resentment build up.
Keep romance in the marriage. It is a challenge for couples with special needs children to find child care so they can spend time together by themselves. Be creative and plan a romantic afternoon or evening with each other every few months.
Talk about things other than your special needs child. Couples need to share and connect with each other on a level which does not always include their children. Make time for children-free discussions each day.
Unfortunately, the stresses and strains of providing for a special needs child can become debilitating. Although it may be hard to face, there are instances when couples simply have to separate or divorce in order to do what is best for their children and themselves. This can be scary for all involved, therefore, it is important to speak with a family law attorney experienced in the unique issues regarding divorce and special needs children.