What I Want You to Learn From My Broken Marriage

Autism gets a bad rap with families and marriages. I’m sure you hear it all the time. The pulling apart. The stress, the constant worrying, the lack of time with your spouse and other children.  The focus becomes your affected child, and there’s no time for you or your partner.

I thought my marriage was strong. It wasn’t strong enough. My spouse and I did what many parents do: gave everything we had. Every spare waking moment was directed at the children. We were tired. Timothy, my child with autism, had a long and aggressive period we couldn’t seem to come back from.

I cried — and often. Timothy focused a lot of his aggression on me for some reason, and it beat me down — far down into a deep pit of despair. I couldn’t take him anywhere without a second adult. He destroyed our home, his anger apparent on our living room walls. My partner couldn’t understand why I cried. It hurt. I didn’t feel supported — although looking back, maybe he was supporting me in his own way.

We drifted apart slowly, not even noticing at first. As usual, the children were priority. But this is what you should learn from me:

Who was there before your children? Your partner.

Who is your backbone? Your partner.

Who will be there when your children grow up and leave the nest? Your partner.

There’s no handbook on parenting or managing a marriage and special needs. You sort of have to fumble through it, messy as it can be, and figure it out on your own.

If I can give you anything from this to take away, I want to encourage anyone reading to make time for your partner. You — moms and dads of children with special needs — are as important as your kid. I’m serious. Make time for each other. Love each other. Often. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day or a monthly date night. Learn from my mistakes.

As for me, I’ve learned so much these past few months on this roller coaster called love and marriage and special needs. I call this coaster, “One day at a time.”

This post originally appeared on The Book of Timothy.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Why I Used To Cringe at the Word 'Autistic' and Why I Don't Anymore

I used to cringe at the word “autistic.” I hated that word. I had a blog draft started called, “Why I Cringe at the Word ‘Autistic.’” I asked my family to stop saying it by politely and lovingly telling them it was putting a label on my son. It was defining him, and he’s so much more [...]
author's son in superhero costume

The Question I Should Really Be Asking About Autism

When the time came for me to have children, there were a lot of options and situations that I knew I needed to be prepared for. I have to admit — a majority of my thoughts were about choosing nursery bedding and baby names. Would I use cloth diapers or regular ones? What stroller should I get? It [...]

How I Got Over My 'I Don't Want Him Labeled' Mindset

“I don’t want them labeled.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard this, I could pay off my house, your house and probably have enough left for a nice new car. Honey, it’s time we had some real talk. I keep hearing this. Hell, I’ve even said it myself. But, this isn’t [...]

Adult With Nonverbal Autism Shares What Sensory Overload Feels Like for Her

Meet Sophie Last year I met a young woman through Facebook named Sophie Webster. She lives in the U.K. and we live in the U.S. Although we’re thousands of miles apart, Sophie has taught me far more than any therapist ever has about my son, Kreed. Sophie uses a communication device as well and can [...]