Every marriage has its ups. Every marriage has its downs. The key to a successful marriage is the communication patterns and strategies the couple utilizes to navigate their world. Having a child with special needs, or a child with behavior difficulties can put an intense amount of strain on a relationship. The rate of divorce in America is about 50%, and that number jumps to 80% percent with families of children with special needs. Parents end up putting all their effort into their children, their day-to-day schedules and work, which leaves very little time for one another.
Another issue is that parental upbringing is very different. Maybe your spouse came from a family with strict rules, or no rules, or one parent, or a divorced family. These differences can affect the way you raise your children, or the rules you want to set in your household. They can lead to a number of arguments, increased stress and each partner feeling isolated or frustrated.
If you are in a situation like this, the first step is to accept that your partner is who they are. Every person has great things about them, and things you would like to change. NO PERSON IS PERFECT. It can be very powerful, but very difficult to accept that certain things may not change. Also, acknowledge that you are not alone, 100% of marriages fight, and struggle. Marriage is work. Loving someone for the rest of your life, and having a family together is not easy. But, working on your communication and your negative patterns will help you work as better parents, and create a calmer household.
Make sure to keep adult conversation, adult conversation. Try to keep arguments away from the children. Never undermine your partner in front of your children. If necessary, schedule adult time once a week. This could be a date night, or a night when you meet together and discuss the positives/negatives of the week. It is important to be open-minded during this scheduled time, and respect where the other person is coming from. Visual cues and lists can be very helpful, these tools can take the pressure off one another and focus on the details of what is happening. People tend to be less defensive when visual cues are used. Make sure to problem-solve and share a common goal; how to run as a smooth team against stressors. The goal of a marriage is to work together through life’s up and downs, not against one another.
Good luck communicating!
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