First and foremost an important disclaimer: we’re not marriage counselors. We note this because the information we provide on topics like this is merely intended to be a bridge to information you can obtain from others with more specialized qualifications, and is not based on our own expertise. That said, anyone who is or has ever been married can vouch for the fact that each marriage is different and that the unique individuals involved can face extremely different challenges (requiring tailored advice!) Adding a child with special needs to such a marriage only further contributes to the challenges faced in your home, which is why we went looking for marriage tips to hopefully help the parents of our community grow and learn on this topic.
With that introduction, here’s a collection of suggestions from across the Internet on marriage tips for parents of a child with special needs. We’ve included ideas from a wide range of helpful approaches; we did not want to simply suggest talking more or find therapy options to help. Instead, we wanted to provide tangible, applicable concepts that at minimum help our families see this is not a unique problem in their home and that there are options out there that can be applied in their home today.
5 Fast Marriage Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs
- Consider videos on YouTube! Here is the first of a series of 20 video suggestions aimed at helping parents of children with special needs tackle their relationship’s challenges and relate personally. You can share videos and watch independently, or find just a small amount of time to review videos that speak to the community’s unique challenges
- Surf the web for optimism to find your confidence and what works for you. YourTango features 9 Tips for a HAPPY Marriage While Parenting a Special Needs Child. While the push of borderline guaranteeing happiness is a bit hyperbole, we love their suggestions on pushing to make time each day for your marriage to ensure the partnership thrives, as well as their tip on including your family in the journey. Doing so not only helps encourage advocacy, it also ensures your child’s needs are not a two person effort but, instead, that your marriage is part of a larger family network. Just as much as this expands opportunity for help, it also brings additional family into the loop.
- Share a book. While books can easily lay dormant after a solid idea or gift loses to the busy nature of your daily life, making advice books a shared assignment is a great way of bonding over a source of information (not making one person ‘more educated’ than the other), as well as creating a shared environment. A book like Married With Special-Needs Children can be an excellent resource: over 350 pages and paperback, this book can be easily shared and help you jump into the effort. (Note: It’s 5 stars rated and if you buy it through the link below, our non-profit Foundation benefits!)
- Make family dinners important! While not only saving money, putting a focus on family dinner can help in making both parents comfortable in terms of awareness about your child’s dietary needs, as well as building teamwork into your daily life. Planning can allow for more coordination and make cooking easier – it can also
- Embrace differences in your marriage and personalities. As noted in this well-titled Huffington Post “How to Take Care of Your Marriage When You Have a Child with Special Needs,” being aware of each other’s strengths can help in dividing efforts and playing to each other’s strengths. By finding out one parent may be more fit to handle home tasks while the other handles each night’s “winding down” period, you can make quick lists that can be knocked out quickly and make both parents feel they are contributing. This helps to lessen what might “pile up” (sometimes literally when it comes to chores like cleaning the yard, doing dishes, handling laundry or doing toy/craft cleanup – things any parent can do), while also affording more ‘couple time’ to end the day.
Have some ideas for helping your marriage and relationship while both parents help their child with special needs? Let us know on the Forum!