Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For Better or For Worse....In Sickness & in Health

 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”   1 Corinthians 13:13  NIV

    In honor of Valentine’s Day today, I thought I would talk a bit about love & marriage.  Marriage is a lot of work!  Anyone who’s been married any amount of time knows this.  Throw in kids, & there’s another strain on it. Throw in a kid or two with special needs, & the strain increases. I had heard of some “statistic” that 90% of married couples divorce who have children with special needs, but that statistic does not seem to be true, but a rumor. However, I believe that the divorce rate may be slightly higher in these cases.
  When a child has special needs, they require more of your time, & therefore, sometimes your spouse will feel ignored.  You spend so much of your time with your child that you are exhausted by the time it comes time to spend with your dearest husband.  That can be one reason there is extra strain on the marriage.
  Another reason could be that, in many cases, the husband has a hard time accepting the diagnosis.  Men are fixers by nature. That’s how God made them, so when they feel helpless to fix something, they don’t know what to do!  Many run from the truth & therefore you are left to deal with it on your own, more or less. You don’t feel in unity with your spouse, because you aren’t.  He won’t admit your child has Autism or some other thing.  He refuses to accept it.  It’s fine not to embrace a label. I’m all for that!  The problem is when you ignore it all together, it won’t make things disappear.  It is a good thing for both parents to educate themselves on their child’s needs & work with that child to better them & pray about those things that could be negative.  It’s so hard when you’re not of one mind in things, because you are of one flesh. So there is quite a struggle.
  That said, regardless of whether you have a spouse who is of one mind with you or not, it is so very important to put focus on the marriage. I know that can be hard when you have a child who requires your constant attention, but for the love of the child---if that’s what it takes---you need to set aside time for your marriage.  Not all of us are so fortunate to have our mothers living nearby, so we can’t leave our child with them, but I’m sure that the Lord will provide us someone we can trust that can give us even an hour of time alone with our spouse.  Or, wait until the child is in bed (for mine, that’s hard because he goes to bed so late), & spend a bit of time talking to your spouse about his day. 
  Believe it or not, your spouse should come before your child! I know that it seems to be the world teaches the opposite, but look how that’s working out? So much divorce!  We are showing our children an example of love! No, love is not a fickle emotion; it is an action word! It is a commitment.  But it’s so much smoother when we get past our feelings & do what we know is right.
  My husband & I always had our share of struggles in our marriage, so having a child with special needs on top of all else really put an extra strain there. But we are committed to God & our marriage & we don’t want to just make it work, but make it good.  We aren’t there yet, but by the grace of God, we will be.

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