Maintaining a Healthy Marriage While Raising a Child with Special Needs

When I look at couples who parent children with special needs, I am continually bewildered when they choose to divorce.  Please understand me — I am not condemning those couples.  But what I do find myself thinking is how exponentially harder their lives may become.  True, trying to maintain a marriage while raising a child with a diagnosis is a huge challenge.  However, it appears to me that when those two people separate into two different households, their need for communication and coordination has just increased rather than decreased.  Pain seems inevitably persistent in divorced households.  While the dissolving of a marriage may solve some problems, it presents others.  It seems to be a sad outcome for everyone involved.

These may be only some of the many reasons that we, within the church, are called to help these couples to maintain and save their marriages.  Reference your concordance on the topic of divorce, and you’ll see close to 3 dozen explanations as to why it’s not God’s preferred way of dealing with our marital strife.  Raising typical children requires that couples model of teamwork.  Caring for a child who has significant challenges requires that mutual support all the more.

It is not uncommon to find extra areas of friction when a husband and wife are parenting a youngster with medical, cognitive or emotional challenges.  Many wives belabor the fact that so much extra caregiving falls to them.  Whereas many husbands lament the added burden that is placed upon them as a provider facing a mountain of medical bills.  Families of origin who lack compassion or understanding towards our kids can make in-law relationships that much more contentious, thus straining a marriage even further.  And the exhaustion couples feel often makes a sex life something of a distant memory.

Even so, an awareness of those hurdles ought to inspire us to train and support couples to overcome them.  Those who have come before on the journey can be of significant help to those who are newer to the journey.  Encouragement and offering of respite are absolutely key in holding these marriages together.

With all of this in mind, we are thrilled to be able to have as our guest on the Thursday, April 12, 2012 #SpnMin Chat author, speaker and special needs mom, Cindi Ferrini.  Our discussion will cover important insights on maintaining a healthy marriage while raising a child with special needs.  Cindi and her husband, Joe, not only have a passion for this topic, they have been an encouraging example of successful marriage for over 30 years.

Until we meet, Thursday, at 8 PM, CST, please feel free to explore some of these excellent articles that may inspire questions you may want to ask Cindi during our conversation:

For Better or Worse, and Kids with Disabilities

Book Review: Married With Special-Needs Children

Protecting a Special Marriage

Special Needs and Marriage (Cindi & Joe’s article series for Focus on the Family)

If you have never participated in a TweetChat before, merely follow these instructions:

First, you must have an established Twitter account.  If you don’t already have one, simply go to http://www.twitter.com and set a free account. When participating in the chat for the first time, click on the following link:  http://tweetchat.com/room/spnmin.
You will be prompted through an easy three-step process.
  1. When you click “Sign In”, you will then be asked to “Authorize an Application” through your Twitter account.  To attend, you will have to click the blue “Authorize App” button.
  2. Once you have done so, merely type in the name of the chat (hashtag) you wish to attend at the top of the page, and click go.  For our chat, type in spnmin.  Now you’re in the chat room!  But you’re not finished yet.
  3. To keep most current with the conversation, go to the upper left hand side of the screen and click on “Refresh Speed”.  Slide the tab down to 5 seconds.  This will keep you up-to-date with the scrolling conversation.  Remember, just like on Twitter, you are limited to only so many spaces for your comments…in this case 132 characters.  You don’t have to add the #spnmin hashtag after every post. TweetChat adds the hashtag automatically.

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