If you are married and have a special needs child (or children), you know the unbelievable strain that parenting puts on your marriage. You have extenuating circumstances that can destroy your relationship over time if you aren’t careful.
Child comes. Parents are ready and excited. The child has physical, behavioral, and/or emotional disabilities. Parents think they are prepared. The child’s care requires more than expected. For a longer period of time. The situation never seems to get better. The once-united front of the parents begins to crumble, because needs are not being met. One parent leaves the marriage -usually the father. What was a bad situation is now an impossible situation for the remaining parent, because, if two couldn’t do it, how can just one?
The politically correct way society often thinks (because they haven’t lived it), is that the parent who left is bad, and the one who remains must carry on regardless, for the sake of the child.
Carry on what was impossible before, with two people?
I must clarify a little here at this point, and say that I am talking about a child with more than a simple disability; one that is severely wounded, damaged, or physically incapacitated. If you lose the core family unit, then you lose. The child loses. Everything falls apart.
Taking care of the marriage must come before the child in this situation, because you can’t help that kiddo by yourself. Ouch. I know.
This is an explosive conversation, and most people won’t talk about it. Bruce and I put our relationship ahead of Lilly, and because we did, we were able to continue to be in her life, even to this day. Had we not taken care of our marriage, and if the stress and conflict involved in her care had torn us apart, then Lilly wouldn’t have us today as her parents.
I don’t know what might have happened to her.