Life is not always fair, just and beautiful. Sometimes life doesn't turn out as you had expected. But the truth is, when you are dealt a bad hand, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the game. Giving up, feeling sorry for yourself, and crying over the unfairness of it all doesn't cut it. Parents of special needs children know this to be true.
Raising children with special needs can severely challenge your marriage. But here is the truth: You cannot let your child's disability or ailment interfere or destroy your marital relationship. As we always say, based on our 30+ years of research around the world, "the parents' relationship with each other trumps everything else!"
Here are the 10 tips for nurturing your marriage while caring for a special needs child:
1. Talk openly with each other about feelings, emotions and stresses as they relate to the care of your special needs child. In times of stress, the tendency is to keep everything bottled up inside or to explode over the slightest disagreement. However, this approach will not work if you want your marriage to survive and thrive. In successful marriages, there are no sacred cows. Happily married couples share insights about everything — the good, the bad and the ugly. They are each other's best friends.
2. Make a concerted effort to keep the flame of your love affair alive every day. Can you rattle off a list of activities, topics and places you and your spouse include in your personal book of fun and romance? Have you found what clears your mind and gives you an unobstructed view of your world together? If you cannot answer these questions easily, you need to start today by carving out time to have a romantic date with each other, get a hotel room, go for a long walk together, drink a bottle of wine watching the sunset, write a love note, or snuggle in bed a little longer in the morning.
3. Approach all financial challenges with teamwork and open communication. Balancing the family budget requires teamwork, especially when the added burden of taking care of a special needs child comes your way. It requires common goals. It most certainly requires family support. People in love support each other through thick and thin — through tough times and uncertainty.
4. Don't blame each other when things get tough, as casting blame never solved a problem. The blame game doesn't work in love and marriage, in fact it's destructive. There is a natural tendency in tough times to blame the one you love for your collective misfortune, but people in love don't blame, castigate, or chastise each other in challenging times. Keep reading ...
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