You will likely be emotionally overwhelmed when you first learn that your child will have special needs and require care throughout life. Raising a child with special needs will make you face certain harsh truths. You and your spouse’s life will never be the same, and your marriage will be tested as well.
Remember, life is not always fair and just. And oftentimes, it doesn’t turn out as we had expected. As parents, you have to pick yourself up and carry on with life. Because giving up, feeling sorry for yourself, and crying over the unjust treatment of life does not end this all.
Having a child with special needs challenges even the strongest married couple. What you need to remember is that you cannot let your child’s disability or illness destroy your married life.
Here are some of the tips you can do to nurture your marriage while raising a child with special needs
- Be open and don’t hesitate to talk about your feelings and frustrations. When we are stressed, we often hold in our emotions until it explodes out over the smallest disagreement. But this won’t work if you want your marriage to survive and grow. Married couples should share insights about everything, whether they’re good or bad. They make a safe space to release strong emotions and just listen to each other. Remember, couples are best friends.
- Discuss all financial challenges with cooperation. Having a child with special needs can impact your finances, and balancing the family budget requires cooperation. It also requires common goals and family support. A married couple should support each other through thick and thin. So go figure out the finances together.
- Never blame each other when things get hard. Blaming each other will never work in love and marriage– it’s only destructive. Indeed, it’s easy to blame the one you love for your misfortunes during the difficult times, but shaming or scolding each other in challenging times only makes things worse. It is normal to be frustrated but resist the urge to verbally attack each other when pressure climbs up.
- Don’t indulge yourself in self-pity. Because it’s wasted emotion. Throughout history, no problem was ever solved by feeling sorry for yourself. Strong couples deal with problems bravely and decisively and work for solutions. You can comfort each other but never immerse yourself in self-pity.
- Sustain a network family and friends. As a couple, you do not have to do this all by yourselves. You can ask friends and relatives for help, too. It’s also never a bad idea to seek support from your neighbors. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Don’t be misled into thinking that you should do it all alone. When you make specific, manageable requests to people around you, they are usually happy to help.
- Recognize when you need professional help. At an indefinite time, you may need help from professional disability support, maybe even an assisted-care or similar facility. Don’t feel guilty if that time comes. At this crucial time in your child’s life, someone else may provide better care for your child. Never think it’s a failing on your part. Always make the choice that is best for your family.
- Watch over your own health and happiness. You and your spouse can engage in daily healthy activities. Get enough sleep and eat healthily. It’s quite impossible to take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Remember, you are the ones that your child needs the most.