Don’t believe the marriage fallacy of 50/50. You hear it all the time about how a successful marriage is both partners participating equally toward a common goal.Nothing could be further from the truth in all honesty. Marriage is never about each of you giving half to make a whole. When you throw autism into the mix, nothing is 50/50. Marriage, parenting, and survival all depend on both of you giving all you can when you can. Some days that translates into one of you giving 100% to the marriage while the other person gives their 100% to the family or autism. Other days it translates into the other partner giving 75% while you give 25%.
I have been incapacitated in the past with migraines. My mom will always tell you that it’s because I get way too stressed and tense. I feel the weight of my family on my shoulders. I am a worrier by nature so it is hard for me to not look to the future for Logan and get overwhelmed sometimes. I get these grandiose ideas in my head of how things should be that are clearly never attainable sort of like Clark in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Thank goodness that Michael is just chill and laid back. He is the one who steps in to remind me to rest. When I’m wallowing in hopelessness.
A few times a year, morning will bring a headache that keeps me in bed all day. I mean, all day. If I’m lucky, Michael will have the day off. He will feed everyone, teach lessons, as well as manage to keep the children quiet all day. On those days, he is clearly giving 100% to the family’s needs with nothing left for our marriage relationship. On days when he’s working long shifts, I give more to the immediate family needs and less to our marriage. There is a sort of comfortable rhythm to our relationship in these interactions.
How does this translate relationship wise? If I only gave half of myself to the marriage, it would never survive. For a successful marriage you have to give 100% when you can. Each party to the marriage has to be willing to give their 100% at every feasible moment. It also translates into giving more than my fair share without complaining. This means I am just as responsible for keeping up the marriage as he is. The ebb and flow of marriage will always change how much you give at any certain time. The key is to be willing to go all out when you need to and to not sacrifice your marriage at the altar of autism or children.
Michael is so thoughtful and considerate of my needs. I have never once thought of who would care for me or the children at any time. He is an amazing father in addition to being a great provider. Yeah, sometimes he could spend more time with the children and less time on the computer but we all have faults right? He has always been an equal partner in Logan’s treatments and researches all the technical stuff that I don’t understand. Somehow he manages to explain it all to me in a way that I can understand too. When the children’s math lessons became more than I could handle, he took them over without a second thought. I have never wondered for one second if he was on my side. He is my biggest cheerleader and greatest defender.
I pray that he would say the same about me as well. That every decision I make is made with him in mind. I put his needs before my own as well as give 100 percent whenever possible. A successful marriage isn’t a feeling or an attitude. It’s a choice. A choice to love the other person day in and day out, to give 100% regardless of how much the other person is giving at that moment. It’s putting their needs before your needs. This is so hard in any marriage, autism or not. It’s a minute by minute choice some days. Make the correct one and work on your marriage instead of sealing your divorce.
How much are you giving to your marriage today?