In the previous article, I wrote that our daughter, Casey, had very complex medical needs. She was fragile and required constant care. For Casey’s first two years, my husband and I did almost all of it, except for a few hours each month. That took its toll on our relationship.
Before we had nurses coming in and helping me, I was doing a lot of Casey’s care myself. I would be up all night because I knew my husband had to work in the morning. Then I would care for Casey during the day because he had to work. There were many times that I would feel very angry and start to resent him. I then realized he was feeling the same anger and resentment towards me. He saw me spending so much more time with our little girl than he was able. He was missing a lot—and missing her a lot. He was frustrated when I would take it out on him because he would have loved to spend the day with her.
Along the way, we realized a few things were crucial to keeping our relationship healthy.
First, we had to communicate. If I needed him to do something, I had to let him know. There was no time for games or dropping hints. I couldn’t get angry at him for not reading my mind.
When one of us was feeling neglected or like we were missing each other emotionally, we had to let the other know. It’s easy to become busy and not realize that the other is feeling alone or unappreciated.
Second, we had to be a team. When facing medical decisions and major choices, we had to be together. Before we made decisions, we would talk to each other and get on the same page. If we were not together, our daughter’s care suffered.
Third, we remembered why we fell in love. This was very important. When you are angry or busy, it’s easy to forget little things. I would remember all the reasons I fell in love with my husband and then see that those things were still very much a part of our relationship. And if either of us felt the things were not happening anymore, I would remind him or he would remind me and we would make the effort to keep that spark alive. It could be something as simple as a compliment, or bringing him a cup of coffee when he was stuck on calls all morning.
Marriage is hard. Put in the effort and don’t forget to tell each other how much you mean to each other.
If you work as a team to make sure your child is taken care of, you will be able to do so much more than if you are working against each other. You are the best team your child can ask for - make him or her proud. Where ever your spouse/partner is right now, tell them you love them and appreciate all that they do.
Check out more ideas for making time for your marriage under Self Care on this website.
Marriage is as powerful and enduring as it is quiet and understanding. This is a tribute to marriage and what it brings to this couple.
After 15 years of being parents to a child with special healthcare needs, my husband and I realized what we can offer this world is experience.