I Should Be Divorced By Now
6 Tips for Marriage Success
This article recently appeared in The Connect Magazine. CLICK HERE to see the full article on page 16.
Run a quick google search on the divorce rate among families with a special needs child and you will quickly find a plethora of articles that show the divorce rate is higher than the national average. Similarly, run one on the divorce rate among families with twins or multiples and you will also see a number of studies that show a rate higher than the national average. It is understandable considering the stress and issues that come with these children.
My wife and I have experienced both and our marriage lives to tell about it. We have a 4-year-old girl named Mikayla who has significant special needs. She has a rare congenital brain malformation called Dandy Walker syndrome and she requires considerable care, therapies, and medical attention. We also have 2-year-old twin girls named Ainsley and Hailey who are both typically developing, but they sure keep us running around. The statistics don’t lie. My wife and I have some significant risk factors for divorce. We choose to make a very concerted effort to keep our marriage intact despite some significant challenges. We have learned some things along the way that I would like to share in hopes that it can be helpful in your marriage.
- We Get Remarried
When did my wife and I get married? This morning. Marriage is not one day in your life. It is every day for the rest of your life. My wife and I get remarried every day. Every day is a continual choice to get married and stay that way. It is not always roses and rainbows, but that continual reminder of getting remarried every day helps us to make our marriage a priority.
- Communication is Our Love Language
You may have heard of the great book by Gary Chapman called the “Five Love Languages.” As much as we enjoy this book, we have found that for us communication is our love language, which is not one of the languages mentioned in the book. My wife and I communicate constantly about everything that is going on. We check in often with how each other is doing, and we even have a weekly meeting to talk about our schedule, meals for the week, finances, future goals, and frustrations. This allows us to know what is going on and stay on the same page.
- We Are Open About Our Struggles
We stay open about our struggles with each other. If we are frustrated with each other or just in general, we keep an open line of communication about it. We don’t try to mask or hide it from each other. This creates a genuine connection with each other and allows us to be real with each other.
- We Have a Strong Community
Even with all that we have going on, we make sure to maintain a strong community. We stay involved with groups of individuals like small church groups, book clubs, and friends who know our story and that we can share honestly with.
- We Create Clear Boundaries
We set clear boundaries around our time and schedule. We say no a lot of things that are good things, but that aren’t the most important things in life. This is hard for two people pleasers like us, but we have found over time we have become more confident in saying no and staying focused on things in life.
- We Prioritize Our Marriage Over Our Kids
We prioritize our relationship over our kids. We love our kids very much, but the best way to ensure they have a bright future is to model for them what a good marriage looks like. As parents, we also have to prioritize time for self-care because we can’t give what we don’t have. If we don’t have stability and patience then we won’t be able to provide this for our children.
Maintaining a strong marriage is a cornerstone for achievement in life. I hope these tips help strengthen your marriage as it has done for ours.