299.00 Infantile Autism, paragraph 5

Mother feels that the shift in family roles has had an overall negative affect on father’s and mother’s relationship. I think that both parents showed a great deal of awareness and concern both for their own feelings and those of the children and of the marital partner….

Marriage is difficult. It takes a tremendous amount of work. Add children to the equation, then multiple the difficulty factor by 1,000. Raising children has put the most stress on my marriage. If your marriage is on the rocks, the worst thing you can do is have kids.

Add a disabled child to the equation, then multiply the difficulty factor by 100,000. Add a disabled child plus siblings multiply the difficulty factor by a million. The divorce rates in this group sky rocket. Raising children is stressful. How are you under a tremendous amount of stress? Cheerful, uplifting, possibly kind? Hell no! It is our natural tendency under stress to be quite the opposite. My parents spent many years of their marriage in crisis mode.

My parents were high school sweethearts with many differences. Their differences could not be described as the opposites attract kind of differences. They have very different upbringings, values, religious beliefs, etc.. You name it. They have never been very compatible. I always wondered what they saw in each other in the first place. Then they had 4 children within 5 years, one of them with autism.

My parents are still married! I saw my parents happy together twice. Once was when I turned 18 and was old enough to take care of things for them to get away for a week by themselves. The second time was right after Matt went into a group home when he was in his 30’s. For the first time since the early years of their marriage, they were able to focus on each other for awhile.

Most of my childhood, I remember conflict. My mom and dad couldn’t argue around Matt because it would set him off to have his own meltdown. So my parents spent a lot of time arguing before we woke up in the morning and after we went to bed at night.

A smart person once told me that the strongest marriage is held together by a small thread. Oh, how true that is.

I want to tell you that their struggles made their relationship stronger, but I don’t see that. I give them a lot of credit for holding onto the thread and not giving up.

I have heard people say that it is hard to live up to parents that have a strong marriage. I want to take that a step further and say that it is even harder to live up to parents that struggled through some very difficult times and still stayed committed to their marriage.

My grandparents had a strong marriage with eight children (one of them being my mom). Out of those eight children, the divorce rate is over 50%. So far my brothers and I have stayed with our original marriage partners. One for almost a year, one for over 10 years, and one for almost 20 years. Maybe our parents taught us more about marriage then we thought they did.


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