I Was a Wife Before I Was a Special Needs Parent

The life of a parent of a child with special needs is both rewarding as well as challenging. Keeping your marriage a priority can be a struggle.

With long days and some sleepless nights, energy can be in short supply, and many aspects of our lives are put on auto pilot. Sometimes I find myself letting stress from dealing with medical issues or yet another call with the insurance company, bleed over to time with my husband. Sometimes it is easier to react negatively towards him than it is to others, even when he is in the same boat I am! (Hopefully he will not read this blog and see my admission of guilt!) In reality, us staying strong and working together as parents, is one of the best things we can do for our precious daughter.

I have noticed a few things in the past that have been essential to the strength of our marriage and wanted to share.

  • On the rare occasion we have a kid free night; we try to make an effort to date! Not just the ever so popular watching a movie on the couch, but actually going out to eat at a new restaurant, putting down our phones, and talking about something other than parenting.

We both have had to learn to allow each other to have some “me” time. David likes to go to the gym some nights after work. I spoil myself every now and then with a massage, pedicure, or even something as simple as a trip to the store by myself! It is just enough to refresh us and makes us far less snappy with each other.

  • We divide and conquer based off our strengths. I am better at keeping a schedule and staying on top of the insurance or providers to get Maddie what she needs. David is better at managing our finances. By splitting up the responsibilities, we don’t get too overwhelmed by trying to conquer it all alone, and we appreciate each other for both pulling some weight. 
  • We try to take our friends and family up on the offer to help! Sometimes it is hard admitting we need help, but who doesn’t?
  • We make the most of the moments we have, even when they are small. Sometimes when Maddie is in school and we have a day off together, we try to put duties aside and squeeze in a quick outing just for us!

  • We have found a few hobbies that we enjoy together. We invested in some board games and puzzles that we both have fun with! The time we spend together is simple, but strengthens the friendship that our marriage was built on.
  • When all else fails, we try to give ourselves and each other some grace. This one can be tough but we are only human! We aren’t super heroes or immune to disappointments, no matter how hard we try!

Parenting and marriage can have their ups and downs, but have been two of the most rewarding ventures in my life this far. I am stronger and more prepared to be an advocate for my child because of the partnership I have with my husband. Even though our relationship has been tested through the fires of health issues and stress, it is more beautiful and refined today than it was when I first sat next to that cute boy in pharmacy class.


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