This post was written by guest blogger, Tammy Lessick, who publishes the blog "Autism Learning Felt" at http://www.autismlearningfelt.com/."
I’ve covered a lot of topics that parents of a child with autism deal with. One topic that I have not covered is how to maintain your relationship as a couple. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I do know that the divorce rate among couples with a child with a disability are higher than that of couples without. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me that parents of children with autism have the highest divorce rate.
We spend so much time and energy taking care of our kids, we tend to neglect each other. My husband and I do our best to make sure we have a balance in our relationship with our kids and ourselves. Do we get enough time for each other? No. We do take moments that help us connect with one another.
At home, when one of us is going in one direction and the other in a different direction, we will stop and take a moment to hug. It doesn’t sound like much, and only lasts about a minute, but it means a lot. We take a moment to say “I love you” and have a physical connection, then go about taking care of the kids. If one of us is walking by the other to take care of the latest crisis, a light caress and off we go. In the car, we will hold hands. During meals at the table, we will exchange light touches.
These little moments keep us connected. They let both of us know that we are in this together. We don’t go out without the kids that often. We try to arrange a weekend twice a year, but that is about all we get. After the kids go to bed, we take time to talk about anything that we can not discuss in front of the kids. Then, if we are not too tired, we make love. Unfortunately, it is not as often as either of us would like. If you have a child with autism or any child with a disability, then you know what I am talking about. That is why it is so important for us to make the little connections.
We love each other and our kids. That is the foundation of our relationship. To keep our connection strong, we discuss everything that is on our minds. If something is bothering us or something great happened, we discuss it. It is really important that we let each other know when we are upset about something and why. When an issue is left unspoken, it can fester and grow. The longer this goes on, the harder it is to work out the problem.
Our children need us to be happy and secure in our relationship. It is what allows us to give them the best of ourselves. It is also what gets us through the tough times. Let’s face it, there are a lot of tough times when raising an autistic child. What do you do to keep your relationship with your spouse connected and strong?