Simply Sweet Marriage: Marriage Insight Guest: The Green Piece

May 11, 2009

Marriage Insight Guest: The Green Piece

{Simply Sweet Marriage Note: This beautiful entry is from our guest blogger Jenny. She and her husband, Marcus, are raising 2 adorable girls. She graciously shared with us insights from her life with a special needs child and life with adoption. Marcus and Jenny have found ways to keep the romance breathing as they juggle their toddlers.}
written by Jenny
Let’s face it…we frequently say that our spouse is our first priority, but sometimes we don’t act that way. When our daughter, Samantha, was born with a rare genetic condition, she became my priority. Though I wanted to think that my husband was still my number one, I don’t think my actions, or thoughts, always proved that to be the case. I had become consumed with my daughter and her needs. I believe that every mom wants to give their children 100%, but when you have a child with special needs, sometimes you feel like you can’t afford to give anything less than 120% because their life may depend on it – and quite frankly, these kids do take a lot more care. Samantha will be turning three in a couple months. Over the past three years I have come to realize that it’s crucial to keep my husband number one all the time…not just 3 days a week. And I have found that as I work on keeping my marriage alive, I am a much happier person, my days run more smoothly, and I am able to take care of all my kids’ needs. My life becomes more balanced as I put my marriage first. Four things have helped me the most to make my marriage number one again.
1. Allow Yourself to Feel: And that may mean grieving. It took me some time to realize that this was our life – that my “ideal” plan was no longer our life. We had a little girl who wouldn’t be doing what every other little girl would do. That was hard for me. But I had to work through those feelings for myself before I could give to my husband and family the way I wanted to. And as I talked to Marcus about that, he understood and supported me through that. And he also understands that there are phases in Samantha’s life that reignite some of those feelings and I have to work through those again.
2. Make Time: Sometimes I would think that there was literally no time to be alone with Marcus. There was a period of seven months where we took shifts sleeping with Samantha because of severe seizures she was having. That was a very difficult time for us. But we found a way to make time for each other. We just had to plan it out better. And we really looked forward to that time we had set aside for each other. Sometimes our “alone” time was with Samantha on a walk. She was content in the stroller so we didn’t have to pay special attention to her while we walked. We could focus on each other instead. We love our walks!
3. Try: After a day of struggles with your child(ren), you may not quite feel like being romantic or even giving a hug. But your efforts will be rewarded. I find that as I try to do more little things to express my love for Marcus, I think about him all day long, all week long. My attitudes and feelings change as I make a concerted effort to express my love and appreciation.
4. Keep At It: Life is so complicated when you have a child with special needs. But if you keep at your marriage like you do your child, your life will feel more balanced. You will feel more support from your spouse, you will be happier, and so will your child.

It is possible to keep your marriage alive and have sparks flying when you have a special needs child. You just may have to change how it happens.
Marcus & Jenny with their darling girls Samantha & Callie
Feel free to visit their blog HERE


Megs said...

Jenny! That was so great to read. Such great perspective and advice. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am a lucky extended family member of Jenny and Marcus. The love they have for each other and their daughters is a joy to behold and to be around.There is a teamwork between Jenny and Marcus as they care for Samantha and Callie. There is fun, enthusiasm, humor, respect and love in their voices when they speak to each other.I am sure it has been incredibly difficult for Jenny to keep perspective when Samantha's needs have been and are so great. But honestly, there is such a devotion to each of her family members she somehow balances it. Marcus does too. We all love being around them and wish we lived closer to spend more time with them. So while I don't know what each of you are going through with your special needs child/children, I can say that what Jenny suggests sure is a gift for our family. I think when you put your husband first you then have a teammate/co-conspirator/helper and BOTH of you are not alone with such big and real concerns. At least that is what it looks like from watching these fun teammates. I'd be a kid in their home ANY day!

reggstyl said...

Thank you for your words, as I feel that your four points are applicable to any marriage, with or without the blessing of a special needs child. And I hear you about the walking! With the kids in the stroller it's really easy to "ignore" them and have great conversations with Tyler. Thanks for your advice and your example!

bostonroms said...

Jen... you are AMAZING. Love your advice. It's so pertinent to all couples - even ones with so-called "normal" kids. I know the stressed on your time and am so impressed with how organized you have become. You are an INSPIRATION to me!

ps - that family pic is SO foxy. Whoever took that MUST be a babe. :)

rachel said...

Go Jenny! You are awesome!

maryirene said...

what wonderful reminders. thank you. i needed this. love you.