Marriage and Autism: Why marriage is worth fighting for…
Tonight I needed a sanity break.
Because I was I-N-S-A-N-E.
Actually, I still am…but my crazy has moved to the category that I call “functional insanity”. It’s where I usually dwell, and it’s warm and cozy here.
The past few weeks have been highly stressful for me. Not only have we had a ridiculous amount of things to do, I’ve been plagued with some awful pain from my long-running battle with endometriosis (which seems to be getting exponentially worse with each passing month). Sprinkle in a dollop of sleep deprivation and you have one CRAZY chick.
So…the marriage thing.
This afternoon, I was at my breaking point. My brain was shutting down and I was getting weepy and irrational.
Doug stepped in and took over.
He lovingly talked me out of the tree that I was WAY WAY WAY up in, and coaxed me down to solid ground. He then sent me OUT of the house for a break. I was to get away and talk to God and not think about anything that had to do with selling our house or planning our budget or Children’s Ministry.
Since he didn’t include autism on the list (you missed one, honey), my journey out included a trip to Barnes and Noble, where I spent some time leafing through this month’s Autism File Magazine.
One article immediately caught my eye. It was about marriage and autism. It was well-written and contained solid principles and advice. The author talked about how some couples focus all of their energies on their child’s autism and completely neglect their marriage. The end of that is, of course, disastrous. The article had some solid tips for keeping a marriage strong and then using the marriage as a source of strength and comfort in the midst of the stress of autism.
As I sat there reading and silently “amening” the author’s article, I realized that I am living out the priceless benefits of a solid marriage. Oh, it’s not perfect…we will always have stuff to work on and through…but we have a marriage that’s strong and sure…and fun to boot.
Living with the stress of autism…and it’s highly stressful, at times…is hard. Living with autism WITH someone…working as a team and being able to laugh through it all…makes ALL the difference.
Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a few moms who were in that “shell-shocked” state of a new autism diagnosis.
My first advice?
Guard your marriage. Guard your marriage. Guard your marriage.
Autism will threaten to take over. The race for “recovery”…the stress of everyday life, now altered forever…can send wave after wave of overwhelming trials to a marriage.
Do NOT let it win. Do NOT let autism have your marriage.
I’ve talked to a lot of autism moms over the past four years…in waiting rooms…at school…in support groups. Regardless of how “severe” or “high functioning” their child, the most content and peaceful ones are, hands down, the ones in a good marriage.
Back when we first started biomedical treatment with Noah, I spent all of my energy focusing on “recovering” Noah and totally neglected our marriage. One day, I realized with sudden and startling clarity that the path that I was on would hurt…and may eventually destroy our marriage. After that stark reality check, the gauntlet came down with great force. “Recovery” would no longer take center stage in our home. Autism…while a far-reaching reality in our lives…would now take its’ proper place in the back seat…and never be allowed to drive our car. Our marriage…and our family…would come first. Autism would just have to wait its’ turn.
Back to tonight…
I was on the fast train to loony this afternoon. For the first time in a (thankfully) long time, I found myself teetering on the precipice of the frightening pit of depression. Doug fought FOR me. He pointed me to the Great Comforter. He gave me the practical things (time away and help at home) that would help me get in a better place mentally. He rescued me. Our marriage rescued me. I cannot imagine being without the source of strength and comfort that our marriage provides.
Marriage. It is absolutely worth fighting for.