Coming Together As A Couple With A Child With Special Needs.
When we found out the diagnosis that our youngest son Connor was on the middle of the autism spectrum, my wife Samantha began to attach herself to Connor. He became her mission. She was on the internet, reading books, searching everything she could find to help our son. Sam also did an amazing job to not neglect our other kids, Cory and Courtney. Truthfully, I don’t know how she did it.
For me, it was different. Dads connect with their children emotionally. When Connor showed little or no emotion and stopped speaking, it was difficult to connect the way we once did. I loved my child, but I had to figure out a new way to connect with him again. This in turn frustrated Sam because she didn’t see the same attachment with Connor as she had.
I see this a lot with families with special needs. The wife looks at her husband and wonders what is wrong with him. He’s looking back at her thinking, ‘I’m just trying to figure out how to connect with my child again.’ This can easily put a wedge in a relationship. And if they are other issues in a marriage, it can pull them even further apart.
The pressure can be overwhelming, and it can fracture your marriage. The emotional and psychological baggage is heavy. My wife and I definitely had our issues as well, but we made a commitment to keep moving toward one another.
The bible says: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:7-9
We prayed together. We came into agreement with God and with each other. There is so much power in a marriage when couples learn to pray together! Now, we’ve been happily married for over 30 years and our marriage is stronger than ever. My wife is my hero, she makes me better and she makes our family better. Like the verse in Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” You and your spouse are a team. Don’t allow the enemy to put a wedge between you. The best place to start, is to start praying together every day.
“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:7-9
When you are splitting a big block of wood, an axe isn’t enough. You need a wedge. With every hit the wedge begins to slowly split apart the once unbreakable block of wood until, with one last swing, it splits in half. One blow will not do the job. You have to swing the hammer multiple times to drive the wedge in. In the same way, what the enemy does is try to deceive and chip away at marriages. He wants to drive a wedge between a husband and a wife. Before you know it, the union is broken, and all that remains of what was once beautiful is broken in half.
The more you stay together on issues, the less the enemy can put a wedge between you. He can’t hit you if you don’t give him a target. God doesn’t give us grace for two weeks, a month, or a year, he gives us grace for today. It’s so important to just take each day one day at a time and not try to figure it all out. Keep life as interestingly normal and fun as you can. Don’t stop going out on dates if possible. Don’t miss going out on an anniversary trip or dinner just like you would hopefully do if you didn’t have a child with special needs. Make sure you still take your family vacations every year even if it’s for a weekend. Find a church that has a special needs program and go to church together with your spouse and as a family. If you’re in a crisis mode don’t hold it in, get help for your marriage from a trained counselor and work through it day by day with resources that will help you.
One of the key things we did is that we learned to pray together. No matter what we knew, we had to come into agreement first with God and then with each other. There is so much power in a marriage when couples learn to pray together instead of separately. Every time the enemy would try to swing a hammer and drive the wedge between us, we would block it with prayer. The more we blocked it, the more tired the enemy got.
When you do this, pretty soon the enemy has to move on to someone else because he knows that no matter what he throws at you, it cannot penetrate the bond with which God has brought you together. It doesn’t mean you’re perfect or you do everything right. It just means you’ve learned to come together before the enemy can pull you completely apart.