Making marriage a priority over autism or any other special need seems like an impossible feat. Autism is so much work as parents with therapies, special diets, homeschooling, and all the other little quirks that make it so much fun. I want you to take a minute to sit down. Close your eyes . Take a deep breath.
Remember that handsome man you married or the beautiful princess that walked down the aisle to you? You looked into each other’s eyes and pledged to love each other forever through good times and bad. All was right in your world. You spent hours talking to each other. Weekends were adventures as you went out to dinner or took trips away. Life was good and simple. You could picture yourself with this person for the rest of your life.
Then came children. Time got short. Nights were long as babies cried and cried. Days were long as you became sleep deprived from the crying baby. All of a sudden , your priorities changed. The role of Mom the caregiver and Dad the provider took over increasing as more children are added. One day you get the autism diagnosis for your a special child. All bets are off. Your free time is overtaken with caring for the child or researching new therapies . You become an exhausted mess who can’t make a coherent sentence. One day, you look around and realize you have a roommate not a spouse. You don’t know that person anymore. Autism consumes every waking moment.
That was my life in a nutshell. One day, I woke up to realize that I had no clue who the man was that came in to sleep as I got up for the day. We were on two different tracks of life. He worked long hours at night to provide for his family which for him meant that I stayed home to care for the children and homeschool. For me, this meant long days involving lessons in between therapy appointments for our child with autism. One child with extreme special needs with a toddler makes for a grumpy mom with no energy left to be a wife. We were both doing what we thought was our role as parent. Our priorities weren’t wrong. Just misplaced.
Something needed to change before we were too far gone to save our marriage. We had to make a conscious decision to make our marriage a priority. At first my husband wasn’t completely sold on the idea. He recognized the need for change but wasn’t sure what I was pitching was the best way about it. He takes his role as father very seriously. When he first heard the concept of putting our marriage in front of the children’s needs , it seemed illogical to him. Your window to have an impact on your children’s lives is incredibly short . He didn’t want to miss that nor did I . Not to mention that Logan had some incredible immediate needs with his autism that could not be put on the back burner. In the end, he agreed that one day, the children would be gone and it would be too late to save our marriage. We had to work on it now.
No one tells you when you get married that it’s hard work. That you must work at it every day. Things will come into your life that will either draw you closer or tear you apart. Every day you must make a conscious choice to forgive and move on. To put another’s needs before your own. This can be so hard when you’re already tired and can not fathom how to do one more thing for one more person. Take heart. This season in your life will not last forever . You will make it through to the other side . The question you must ask yourself is will you resolve to make it through with your spouse? That, my friend, takes work and dedication. It will not be in vain. You will reap the rewards of your hard work. Your children will be better equipped for marriage because of it. Your future daughter or son in law will also reap the reward of all the hard work of your children getting to see a Godly marriage. Their parents loving each other is the best gift we could give them in the end.