This is my second marriage, so I’m aware of what it’s like to break free of unhealthy circumstances. My divorcing Richie's father had nothing to do with him having autism and everything to do with the fact that we just weren't right for each other. We are both remarried and thank God we are in healthy relationships. For now, I’m writing strictly about my current home situation.
I understand there are many people for which nurturing or caring for others doesn’t come natural to them. They may not have the patience and understanding that is needed for raising special needs children. If they know themselves well enough to admit that they will not commit to loving and caring for special needs children, then it’s right for them not to be involved. They could possibly cause more pain than good to the family. But why would anyone who does have what it takes to nurture and care for someone with special needs want to be measured up against those who don’t?
I understand that when we see situations that seem extraordinary and unique to us, we might feel compelled to say something like, “I could never do what you do,” or “How are you still there?” in an effort to offer words of comfort, but are they really words of comfort? It’s a direct insult to the child and biological parent (whether it’s the mother or father).
In my case, it’s me. It makes me feel as though Richie and I aren’t worth it. We don’t measure up to the neuro-typical situation – for which one might say, “Try your best to stick it out, it’s the right thing to do.” Instead, someone might even give my husband the “green light” to leave. After all, this is just too much for anybody. Well, that’s absolute nonsense. Richie is so worth it. We are not just the package deal, we are the daily special.
However, most of us already know that relationships and marriage is anything but easy. I know couples in marriages who put on quite a good show in public but can barely say two kind words to each other, some, sadly, include a history of violence. I know couples in marriages who have no shame in disrespecting one another in public. I have been in situations where it seems it's a race between spouses on who can make friends and family feel uncomfortable the quickest.
I know couples in marriages who have forgotten how to be affectionate with one another. They live more as roommates than they do as loving spouses. Sadly, I know couples in marriages who have affairs routinely. For these couples, it's a matter of who can cause one another the most pain. Children living in these unfortunate situations suffer through these circumstances whether they have special needs or not.
Please note that this is not to say that families without special needs children don't have loving relationships and healthy marriages. Of course, they do. I know many couples in healthy and loving marriages who don’t have special needs children. My point is, there is no greener grass on any side, there is no such thing as an “easy marriage.” As a married couple, you do the work, try your very best and you love your family unconditionally.
Have you ever felt that friends and family think your spouse or life partner being with you is an unbelievable thing? Please share your thoughts with us!