18 Secrets to Having a Strong Marriage While Parenting a Child With Special Needs


All marriages take work and commitment, especially when you throw kids into the mix. But if you and your spouse are parents to a child with special needs, maintaining a happy, healthy marriage can be more complicated.

The Mighty wanted to find out how couples balance their marriages with raising children with special needs, so we decided to reach out to the people who do it every day. We asked our readers to share their secrets to maintaining a strong marriage while parenting a child with special needs.

Here’s what we learned:

1. “Respect each other’s way of processing obstacles and challenges.” — Sue Rutan Donald

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2. “The moment you lie down in bed is the moment you stop discussing therapies, night terrors and feeding issues. Allow your bedroom to be your partner’s and your space. Focus on you and your partner physically, emotionally and mentally.” — Amber Watrouse

3. “Communication. Make time for each other.” — Monica Ronghi Donnelly

4. “Humor, humor and more humor… with a side of bacon every now and then!” — Susan Crowe Brown

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5. “Never blame one another. Realize you are walking the same path at the same time, so you may as well hold hands along the way.” — Kate Sytsma

6. “Date your spouse. Find the time to get put of the house for even a walk or a quick dinner. Talk often. Good, bad and indifferent communication opens doors that helps your marriage.” — Kerri Kane

7. “You just have to be your partner’s partner. When it’s time for him or her to break down a little bit… well, you just get stronger for them. They’ll do the same for you, when it’s your turn.” — Steve Johnson

8. “When things get stressful, just take a step back and soak in the sight of your spouse loving and adoring your child. In the end, that’s all that matters.” — Sherri Stock Baumgart

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9. “Don’t sweat the small stuff. For real!” — Kimberley Butler Wise

10. “We accept that we both make mistakes and we’re both new to this.” — Leidy Jesse Garcia

11. “Recognize and accept each other’s weaknesses.” — Danielle Milner

12. “There is no one thing. It’s a delicate dance of clear communication, patience, a sense of humor, deep breaths and a lot of love.” — Lauren Swick Jordan

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13. “Laughter… lots and lots of laughter.” — Ali Schmeder-Cummins

14. “A solid babysitter. And therapy.” — Julia Miller Trecanao

15. “Make time for yourselves. Individually and as a couple.” — Jovi Escobedo

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16. “Put each other first.” — Carole Beshears

17. “Respect each other.” — Jennifer Rosenbusch

18. “Being on the same page would be magic. Being in the same book is a must.” — Carla Campbell Coulter

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*Some responses have been shortened and edited.

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