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How I Saved My Marriage

Having a marriage while raising children is sort of like climbing a mountain.  You realize you’re all tied together and there’s no easy getting off.  You stay in the moment because you know you have to.  Sometimes, you may even want to.

Eventually, the climb becomes more synchronized.  Once upon even ground, however temporary, the realization that everyone is still standing sets in.  Taking in scenery is a time to relish.  That’s when the breathing becomes easier.

You get better at synchronizing your movements.  This is a choreography of sorts, when you’re schooled in a dance the two of you choreograph.  You learn to dance together.

Marriage and parenting are for grownups.  I have a lot of catching up to do.  I wouldn’t want to quibble with any statistics floating around or studies that say exactly the opposite of each other.  So I’m not writing about divorce rates among parents of children with autism.  And I don’t have any methodologies, books, tapes, or DVDs to present.  I will just tell you I am one of the lucky ones.

I’m lucky because I was able to travel, have interesting jobs, and meet many incredible people.  There’s no hole gaping in my life of wished-for things left undone, aside from a cup of coffee or a nap.  I was able to marry the Love of My Life.  We were able to have a family.  There’s one thing about marrying the Love of Your Life, though:

Life keeps happening.

I’m finding a sense of humor helps.  In our salad days of autism, there were signs and messages with pictures throughout the house.  We were sure to include a poster over the mantle that stated, “NO Babies Allowed in the Fireplace”.  Sharing a faith in something or someone bigger than the both of you also helps.  For a few of you, this may be your mother-in-law.

Being willing to pitch in and do what may not have been originally delegated contributes to a marriage that keeps.  Random acts of kindness become thoughtful habits.  During trying times, easing up on expectations eases tensions.

My tendency to become a recluse in my marriage balances unevenly with my bombastic, emotional interventions.  I’m not sure if this is a “Venus/Mars” issue or it just reflects my confusion in times of change.  Never taking a partner for granted is more than just lip serve.  But, if I am like other parents of children with autism, I can’t ignore acknowledging the guilt I feel for having children who require extra help.

How did I save my marriage?  I haven’t.  I’m still saving my marriage every day.

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  1. Keeping your sense of humor is so.. important no matter what situation you are experiencing.. working as a team is always helpful in salvaging a marriage,
    most importantly a positive attitude and being patient with one another will assist in challenges that a couple has to experience when having an autistic child.

  2. bensmyson says:

    I heard the most loving thing the other day from by wife when she said, \”Do you honestly think this is all your fault?\”

    Comforting to know there is an outside voice somewhere near-by that questions that loud voice inside my head. To me that\’s a partnership I can live with….forever and ever.

    We are all lucky to know we are loved and respected and can be the voice of reason when we are just about to find a place under a bridge someplace to crawl under and disappear.

    Standing in the cold, dirty and holding a torn cardboard sign up at off ramp that says, \”Will work for redemption.\”

  3. Alice Petersen says:

    This is beautiful Alison. Your family is so lucky to have you!

  4. michele i. says:

    love it!

  5. Donna H says:

    Thanks for writing this! I needed to hear this right now!

  6. Anita W says:

    Your way with words falls second only to the love you show for your family. You are such a blessing to all of us!

  7. What nobody realizes is that many abusive or “in-denial” spouses will not allow a child to be diagnosed in the first place. Therefore we need to study custody battles in family courts and link it to Autism, rather than study Autism and un-link it to divorce.

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