Addressing Marriage Concerns When A Child Has Special Needs

Special Needs - AdobeStock_116987422 copyMarriage in itself is difficult when everything is going about its “normal” course. But when you are raising a child with special needs, there is a different dynamic involved that can cause added strain to your relationship.

We received a letter here at Marriage Missions that asked us to consider writing about this topic.

She wrote:

“I am in a second marriage and my stepchild has a disability (autism). It is a known fact that many marriages end in divorce when there is a child with a disability. I am dealing with a second marriage, which is hard enough, but this is one with a stepchild with autism.

“My husband is often in denial about his adult son with autism. I have never seen an article relating to this on any Christian website. I have looked! With so many kids being diagnosed with autism today (for boys it is every 1 in 93 births) and so many marriages ending in divorce I can’t be the only one struggling with this.”

Our hearts go out to this wife and mother, and all of you who are dealing with this issue. How we wish we could help! Perhaps this article will help you in some way as we refer you to read some of the articles we found, concerning this matter.

To help those of you who are dealing with marriage challenges that occur when you are raising a child with special needs, we believe you will find the following article insightful:


Special Needs: A Gift and a Blessing?

Now, you may not have thought of the blessings that can come from having a child with Autism. But writer, Kim Wright tells of the many that she has learned, with one of them being:

“[My son] Morgan’s misbehavior and antics brought to the surface some ugly attitudes in me and the children that we dealt with including lessons on: learning to deal with a handicapped person, dealing with frustration, anger, and irresponsible behavior. Learning to Act rather than react.”

Children have a way of doing that —especially those who bring additional challenges into the family. But marriages can do that, as well. As author, Norm Wright says (which we TOTALLY agree with):

“Marriage exposes and reveals who you really are when you enter into that covenant relationship. All the hidden places, and yes, defects too, will be made obvious. You’ll be ‘found out.'”

Another Special Needs Blessing

This brings us to another blessing that Kim Wright has found has come out of her son’s Autism, concerning her marriage. She writes:

“My husband and I have been drawn together as we sought answers and practical help. We have not allowed this to separate us, but have chosen for this to anchor us to the Lord and to each other.”

To read more, please click onto:


A Realistic Look

It’s important to look realistically at the impact that disabled children can have upon a marriage. It’s difficult, but not impossible to make your marriage a good one. But you both decide you will not allow it to “divide and conquer” you in your relationship with each other. Sheri and Bob Stritof discuss this in the article they wrote on this subject. They bring up the point:

“You and your spouse will be adjusting in different ways, and often at a difference pace. Sometimes your spouse will want to talk about the situation, and then other times may need time alone.”

To read more, please click onto:


The Impact a Special Needs Child Can Bring

Lisa, a mother of a son with Autism, writes of the impact this has had on her and her minister husband. She also writes of the impact it has on other marriages. Lisa tells a very sad fact:

“The divorce rate among couples who have a child diagnosed with autism is estimated to be around 80 per cent. That is huge. The reasons are obvious. Marriage is hard enough without adding autism to the mix. All-consuming therapies, medical treatments and financial stress can become the focus… the center of family life… and the result can be disastrous to the marriage.”

She also writes (in an article titled “Christian Marriage and Autism” that was once posted on the Internet), something she learned about marriage. This is especially true, as it pertains to being “good” parents:

“Doug and I have learned that we have to put our marriage first… even if it means giving up some time spent doing ‘good things.’ This includes time consuming therapies for Noah [who has Autism] or even, in our case, ministry activities. We have to work at this. Our priority must be our relationship. Our children desperately need us to stay together. The benefits of a strong and happy marriage are worth so much more to our children than anything else that we can give them.”

Recouping Sanity

In a different article titled, “Autism and Marriage” Lisa writes that as she was “escaping” to recoup her sanity, she was at a bookstore and discovered something important:

“One article immediately caught my eye. It was about marriage and autism. It was well-written and contained solid principles and advice. The author talked about how some couples focus all of their energies on their child’s autism and completely neglect their marriage. The end of that is, of course, disastrous. The article had some solid tips for keeping a marriage strong and then using the marriage as a source of strength and comfort in the midst of the stress of autism.

“As I sat there reading and silently ‘amening’ the author’s article, I realized that I am living out the priceless benefits of a solid marriage.  Oh, it’s not perfect… we will always have stuff to work on and through. But we have a marriage that’s strong and sure… and fun to boot. Living with the stress of autism… and it’s highly stressful, at times… is hard. Living with autism WITH someone… working as a team and being able to laugh through it all… makes ALL the difference.

“Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with a few moms who were in that ‘shell-shocked’ state of a new autism diagnosis. My first advice? Guard your marriage… guard your marriage… guard your marriage!!! Autism will threaten to take over. The race for ‘recovery’ …the stress of everyday life, now altered forever… can send wave after wave of overwhelming trials to a marriage. Do NOT let it win. Do NOT let autism have your marriage.”

Relationship Can Even Benefit in Different Ways

Mary Darr, a Christianity Today writer has discovered something else as it pertains to growing a good marriage. She discovered that as they set their sights in working together, with intentionality, their relationship can actually benefit rather than be destroyed by the ever-changing challenges. She writes:

“My husband and I are super close, and one of the reasons is because of Hannah. Our whole family is closer because of Hannah. We’re a team; together we figure things out.”

To learn more, please click onto:


Negative Impacts

Sheila Wray Gregoire wrote a touching article on dealing with a child that “isn’t perfect.” She brings out how it can negatively affect marriages. (She knows this from first hand experience.) One of the things she writes is that:

“An estimated 25% to 33% of marriages break up within a year of the birth of a handicapped child. That’s not a statistic you want to join. Resolve now, before you do anything else, that you will still be each other’s greatest priority. Speak and act kindly to one another. Give each other space to handle the grief differently, without passing judgment. You will need each other in the years ahead. Remember that if you walk through this valley together, your marriage can emerge stronger and more precious to you than you had ever thought possible.”

Another article, which backs up what Sheila wrote, plus adds more encouragement, is written by Julia Becker. In this article, she writes about the fact that she struggled with the gloomy reports she heard. There are many parents who divorce when their children have special challenges. She asks an important question. “Did the gloomy statistics about parenting kids with special needs mean our marriage was bound to fail?” She answers that question and more:


An important challenge married couples need to continually work, is in the area of communication —both with their child(ren) and also with each other. Joe and Cindi Ferrini understand these challenges all too well from first-hand experience of working together with their own children, who have special needs. In the following Focus on the Family article they share practical tips that you may find helpful as you glean through the information they give:


Added Resource

We also found a Resource List that will help those dealing with Autism in their family. It is put together by the great ministry of Joni and Friends

However, if you are dealing with a different type of disability that is affecting your marriage, you can put that term into their “Site Search” to see what they make available to help you. Please click onto the link provided below to find:


Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.

We would greatly appreciate it if you would share your insights in the comment section provided below to help those who are dealing with various marriage challenges as they raise their disabled children. Or perhaps you are facing challenges in your own marriage and want to reach out in community for prayer and/or advice. We hope you will “Join the Discussion” and share what is on your heart.

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24 responses to “Addressing Marriage Concerns When A Child Has Special Needs

  1. (USA)  I’m not sure how having a child with a disability makes marriage any harder. It is just like any other stressor in your life (a bad job, family relationships) and surely offers a chance to grow in the Lord.

    1. (UNITED STATES)  It is NOT like any other marital stress! My child is physically handicapped with Arthrogryposis. I have to help her bathe, dress, clean herself in the bathroom, wash her face, brush her teeth, brush and wash her hair, pick things up, sometimes eat when she can’t reach, cut her food. I get her up in the morning, and put her to bed at night. My husbands only help is sometimes getting her a snack and on occasions dinner when I am busy.

      I have been married for 20 years and only now as he gets older and lazier I am becoming angry. He could do more. He could have read books to her. I asked and he wouldn’t do it! He takes no active part in her life. I am everything and I resent it! She doesn’t even think to tell him good night after I get her ready for bed. I used to tell her to go say good night. I recently gave up. Why bother?

      He has never walked into her room to say good night. He is a lump that brings in money. I am supposed to divide my time between him and the kids and to be honest, I don’t care to anymore. I would rather take up his time for ME. Me is very much a person I don’t know anymore!

    2. I have an adult stepdaughter with Asperger and bulimia/binge eating. I have my other children as well. I’m am totally consumed. Nothing left.

    1. If you do not have a child (with disability), then another option is abortion which is “killing” and would think a serious violation against Ten Commandments. There are times where you feel like you’re about to snap in two, but then you put all your effort into helping him or her and realize that gradually your bond does develop even stronger perhaps than with a “normal” child.

      I had zero help for the first 8-10 years of raising my child (w/disability) and it was so hard. All I wanted was “someone” to step in and relieve me even for an hour or two. Husband’s work hours with O/T made him extra tired and in-laws didn’t feel the level of difficulty I encountered. At age 10, eldest child stepped up and said: “If no one else will help you, then I will!” I couldn’t believe how God gives small miracles at a time we most need it. I didn’t feel as alone with my struggles and a few minutes here and there ended up saving my marriage and family.

      Sometimes, a moral decision must be made and hope with God’s help, we have the ability to cope and do what’s right for marriage and child.

      1. My husband and I are going through a tough time now. He wants to divorce because I suggested putting his (my stepdaughter) in a youth nursing home. She is 13 years old and has agenesis of corpus callosum. She can’t walk or talk. She can’t eat food, unless it’s soft like baby food or mashed up because she can’t chew. She kinda just sucks on the food. I believe she has a sleep disorder. She wakes up in the middle of the night 3am/4am and just cries, no matter what you do. And her cries are pretty much just screams (that’s the sound she makes), waking up the other 4 kids plus me and my husband.

        She shares a bedroom with her 3 sisters. They complain all the time that they can’t sleep because she cries all night. I told my husband I believe she needs some type of medicine for sleeping or maybe anxiety. But he’s in denial and thinks it’s not a problem. When we go in public she’s bad about crying as well. I don’t think she likes loud noises. This makes it difficult to go places with the other 4 kids, unfortunately making them miss out on a lot of things.

        He feels like I’m making him choose between me and his daughter but that’s not the case at all. I just wish he would see from my point of view. He thinks it’s ok for the other 4 kids to miss out on things/ their childhood. He said I can’t be their voice but they are kids. Ages 6, 7, 10, and 15. The 15 year old helps out a ton with his (disabled) sister (he has 4 sisters). My husband thinks he will be abandoning her but I don’t want him to feel this way. She would get the proper care she needs. CNA’s who are qualified to take care of kids like her!

        She stays in her room all day. I think a youth nursing home would be great. They would do fun activities with her, that we just can’t because of time and attending to 4 other kids. There’s more but that’s just a quick summary of what’s going on. I just wanna ask for prayers for our family. That God touches my husband’s heart and help him not feel guilty for doing what is right for his daughter even if it’s not what he wants to do. That he strengthens us as a family, as one, as a husband and wife!

        Pray for this bitterness in the both of us, that we have towards each other. Pray that it will go away and love will conquer all of this! Pray for my husband and I as individuals, to discover what God is trying to show our hearts! Thank you all who took the time out to read. God Bless.

        1. Father, God, praying that Barbara and her husband will take a moment to cry out to you – not just about their desires and hopes for their children, but their need to feel Your love and care for them. Help them to not think of this as an “either/or” situation, but bind them together as a team and let them make the best choices for all involved. Let them both be eager to meet the others needs – bless them with enough energy and time management ability to give all of their children the live and support.

          Thank You for all the compromises that have been made. May they all be blessed for their loving kindness. Give them godly wisdom as there is no one right choice, but there are choices that will benefit everyone. Let their love and care for all their children bind them together. Bless each child along with them as a family, as a husband and wife as as individuals. May they all see You at work and have peace about the decisions they make. May it all be done for the glory and honor of Your great name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  2. (USA)  Having a child with a disability is a very different type of stress. My husband and I have 2 children, one with disabilities, and one without. Marriage in today’s society is hard enough, but add the constant care and stress of even a “normal” child and it changes things. Add disabilities to that mix, and it becomes very hard to keep each other a priority. I would encourage anyone who does not have a child with disabilities not to assume that it is no different than any other stessful situation in a marraige, but to really speak with, and learn from those of us with firsthand knowledge of just how big an issue it can be in your marraige.

  3. (USA)  I married a man that I thought was perfect for me 3 years ago after being single for 15 years My biologic children are grown and happy. The challenge is as he told me, his 2 remaining minor children were “special needs.” The first age 17 (adopted at age 6 months) now was described as “socially clumsy” and “mildly retarded”, the second now age 11 his biologic child as “autistic” but with “great capabilities”.

    We have them every other weekend and for 2 weeks in summer After 6 months of marriage the down hill slide began. The mother sent the children more and more often for over night visits and frequently asks for extended weekend stays. I work often 50 hrs weekly and have a 1 hr commute to and from work. I have had these two kids every holiday for 2 years!

    The 17 year old has had a pattern of acting out destruction and self harm during family events and ruins every single birthday holiday and special occasion (I learned all this after the “I DO”). The 17 year old became more and more physically and emotionally unstable. Diagnosis after 4 long term admits and the physical abuse of the 11 year old and the animal abuse of our pets as schizo-affectuive, aspergers, impulsive with frontal lobe learning disorder “non verbal learning disorder. The last 3 years have been sheer hell, periods of household destruction, fear to sleep at night when she is in our home and then eventually having her placed at a behavioral center because she is a physical risk to the safety of the 11 year old the pets and to herself.

    The 11 year old cannot speak a sentence, she often smells of urine and stool. Her room is uninhabitable, and after a stay she tears all the toys books and clothing from the drawers and then walks all over the mess she has to be locked in her room at night for “wandering.” She has flooded the house by turning faucets on and plugging toilest repeatedly she caused several thousand dollars in damage to walls and furnishings over last 2 years. She eats constantly and is after 11 years incontinent of urine and stool she cannot write or communicate she cannot dress herself she cannot be left alone she must ALWAYS have a 1:1 or else she will injure herself or damage something.

    My husband often falls asleep when I am at work and the children have roamed the house damaging floors walls computers televisions and anything not nailed down. I have grown to HATE to see them come I have NO rest or peace when they are around and after they leave I spend 3 days cleaning the mess and washing stool off laundry and walls. THE CLEAN UP IS SICKENING. Sometimes the stench is so foul. The bedroom of the 11 year old is uninhabitable for several days after her visits. I hate their visits because it is ALWAYS some drama, a constant mess, and no PEACE. I am drained exhausted and heart broken. Had I known what I know today I would have run screaming. My feels have caused strain with me and my spouse. I would never ask him to choose his children over me and feel I would rather be alone than live the way I do. I think of seperation daily, and feel I need help for the depression I feel daily. GOD HELP ME.

    1. (ZAMBIA)  Barbara, I feel for you. No one can ever understand how stressful it is to have an autistic child until you have your own. I am a mother of a grown up autistic daughter with behavioural patterns that are exactly as your step children. I have learnt to accept my child because she does not do it on purpose. Come to think of it, what would you have done if these children were biologically yours? Would you resent, reject or accept and support them? Having an autistic child could happen to anyone, including you.

      Thank God you haven’t got such a child but do try to understand those step-children. Give them love and you will no longer be burdened but accept it as a learning process for you. I used to be a very short-tempered person but through the blessing of my autistic daughter (yes she is a blessing), I have learnt to be patient. I believe in God’s sustaining power so when you feel you can’t go on, pray. It has worked for me and I think that is why I’m still alive. The stress I go through would have killed me but the opposite has happened, I have become stronger. Please seize this opportunity for you to grow in character, tolerance and many other areas of your life. It is not easy, but it is possible. God bless you.

      1. Barabara, I too am a stepparent to two autisitic chidlren. Felicia makes a point. However, the humongous red flag I see in your message, is: WHERE IS DAD? He should be leading the charge in cleanup, coaching of how to help the girls stay as clean as possible. It shouldn’t be left to YOU to straighten up their messes.

        In our home, mom handles those messes 90% of the time while WE also coach her son (6 )on going potty in the potty rather than in his undies. Maybe it goes unsaid in your letter, but I hope Dad is not simply resting while you carry this challenge. Yes, you are partners in caring for the children, but there should be a division of labor that will help you tolerate the visits better.

  4. (USA) I have an undiagnosed child who has significant motor and cognitive disabilities. His 14 months have been the worst part of my life. I don’t recognize myself or my husband at all any more and there is pretty much no support available to us. We don’t know if our child will live or die and it does not look good financially. I hate when people say he is a “blessing” and that we were “designed” to be his parents. He has brought terrible suffering and destroyed our marriage and finances. The worst part is watching our family crumble and our other son suffer. It is pure ignorance to believe that having a special needs child is “like any other stress” but it doesn’t surprise me that someone would say it. In my opinion they are the “blessed” one for not having to face the torture of raising one of these children.

  5. (USA) I also have a stepson who is disabled (hydrocephalus, VP Shunt, multiple physical and learning disabilities). With a recent development or rather undiagnosed finding of Chiarra, I felt so overwhelmed. I married my 32 year old divorced husband of three (the eldest being handicapped) when I was 22 years old. Since then we had three children of our own over the last 10 years. I retired from my career in about 12 years and my stepson will age out of his high school program (age 22) in March of this year.

    Over the last 10 years, his mother has talked him into calling the police on me and my husband for mistreatment and negligence because I make him throw his underwear out when he defecates in them and hides them for months until they have holes in them and buy him new ones. However, all counts were always unfounded. We have always had full custody and now full guardianship of him. I sometimes find myself doing more for him, both emotionally, physically, and financially than any of my other children. My other children do not get to play sports, and I can’t buy them things when they want them. We are always struggling.

    I knew marrying my husband was going to be a challenge, but I never realized how much. I know now that I married not only my husband but his son too. Just last night I asked my husband if we could allow my stepson to live in assisted living, where he can work, and live semi-independently, while he has the chance to do so before his physical handicaps overtake his ability to live independently. He finally said “no”. He is afraid that he will be mistreated, which I understand. I wasn’t asking for him to live in a nursing home. I was asking for him to live in a communal living arrangement with other high functioning disabled people so that he could have fun.

    My response to this blog is this: my stepson lives in a body that he cannot control. I have spent the last 10 years helping my stepson regain some power of independence that you and I often undervalue. I want him to have a girlfriend, have social activities, cook simple meals, and work a part time job –a sense of being independent but having assistance doing so. My husband and I will never have complete solitude to be together without this. Of course we have other children who are minors so this will not be possible for at least another 13 years, but I have the finality that vacationing, that retirement will offer, or moving into a smaller home, and reducing our expenses will feel like.

    I am so depressed with the finality of my fate. And when I brought his biological mother into this blog, I failed to mention that this woman has never helped (financially or with time), loved or supported her son. All she wants to do is cause us unnecessary financial burden by returning to court over and over again because of the tens of thousands of dollars spent to keep our stepson safe away from her. And to add more to this story my stepson does NOT qualify for social security because he has a medical trust we cannot access without petitioning the court. So, every last expense is out of pocket, both living and social.

    So, those who are reading this, who have children with disabilities, understand the emotional and financial burdens of having a child such as this. I just wanted to get this off my chest. It’s so very frustrating to do all the mountains of paperwork to care for a child with disabilities, to go to court to protect them, to feed, clothe, shelter and take care of them, and to emotionally assist them when you know you have no where to turn and when your partner. And though you may love them, they do not understand your frustrations or do but don’t want to address them. Though I have read that communication is the key to having success in situations such as these, they are not as much as a comfort as those say. They are not just simple challenges. You cannot underestimate or simplify the challenges that these situations pose.

    1. (UNITED STATES) Sometimes we don’t realize that others have it worse. I will pray for you. I pray that the good Lord will give you the strength and patiance you need for your family. Seek God. He will always lead your path. God bless you. I know that is the only thing that keeps me going. Aside from Him, I think I would have already lost it. Stay strong, my friend. He said He will never give us more than we can handle. God bless you…

    2. My heart breaks for you. I have to say you must be made of steel to weather the storms this situation brings to your life. I’m living in a very similar situation and am near ready to ‘throw in the towel.’ I love my husband dearly, and cannot imagine marrying again, but when I imagine the road ahead, I see a story just like yours and it makes me want to run. This is a description of my own failure of faith at times, and I am strengthened by your post that the situation, though extreme and very difficult, can possibly be overcome.

      I too am absolutely depressed by the finality of my situation – when I look at the possibility of things remaining the same for decades to come (constant care-taking, financial hardship, not even a vacation or retirement), it’s so daunting that I want to leave. It’s a constant test of my faith that I haven’t done it yet – as I am sure it is for you. God Bless you and prayers sent your way for peace and strength.

  6. (UNITED STATES) Hi I have a similier situation. I have a son who is now 30 years old. He was severely hurt back in 2001. He was hit by a drunk driver, which caused him brian truma. I recently married my husband of 10 years, been married now for 7 years. And my marriage has become very difficult. My husband can’t comprehand being a parent since he’s never been one. Aside from dealing with my son I deal with my husband’s outbursts where he screams at me for whatever reason.

    We have so many problems and one of the biggest one is that he always threatens to leave me and he has for the past seven years. He has left the house over 7 or 8 times. But I am tired already. I feel hurt. I feel like he failed me. I feel very angry at him because he left me with nothing to work with financially. I need to figure out how I am going to take care of the mortgage. I am very angry at him. There is so much more to add to this but I feel so ashamed with my marriage I keep saying to myself this was not supposed to happen to me. Thank you for listening…

  7. (USA) We have been struggling in our marriage due to our special needs child the last 16 months. I believe not only was my husband unprepared for the change a child causes in a relationship, but how much time and attention she needs to receive. We are also a military family which doesn’t make it any easier. I have become so resentful and angry because my life is consumed with all things related to my daughter. I am happy to do it all, but I shouldn’t be doing it all. I even got a part time job 2 days a week to contribute financially since I know it’s a heavy burden to support an entire family.

    My husband is self-centered and has proven to be undependable. He never considers things that need to be done for her, appointments, or procedures. If he wants to go to the gym at 5 pm he’s going to get up and go no matter if our daughter needs to eat, get her medicine, get bathed. He has said he needs more attention, and that yes, I do everything for her, keep a clean house and cook, but what do I do for him? He has cheated; he has been caught many times having inappropriate conversations with single women, hiding things from me etc. I have already left once, and came back when he agreed what he had been doing was inappropriate and disrespectful.

    Now once again we have separated after I found more texts of him telling his “friend” shes cute, sexy with a great personality. It feels hopeless and I need guidance! My daughter’s medical condition is lifelong. She just had a 12 hr major surgery 2 months ago. I don’t understand my husband and who he is anymore. We have gone to marital counseling, he doesn’t implement any of the advice given consistently. I need a best friend, a parter, someone I know is committed to only his family and would do anything for them. I just can’t believe how much he’s changed when it’s his child I am caring for.

    1. (UNITED STATES) Taking care of special needs children is difficult. Marriage is challenging enough! How can we balance everything while still keeping our sanity in tact? The only answer I can think of is: one day at a time. Any chance I get, I keep a journal to keep track of my progress, the children’s progress (I have two little ones under the age of 5 with autism) I have to continuously plan ahead to meet my goals, and I keep records of EVERYTHING. This not only gives me a plan, but helps me take it one day at a time.

      If you have a selfish spouse who causes more problems than they solve, it’s time to put your “helmet” on. You are in many ways, on your own. Don’t waste your energy being angry, don’t waste your time trying to get their cooperation… they’ll just slow you down. Attack the problems and challenges yourself, not the family members around you. You can do it, one day at a time. Make sure you find a support system that works for you, and at the very least, get counseling so you can vent, cry, and come up with personal goals that will help you cope. YOU CAN DO IT!! :D

      My husband came into our marriage with some very serious problems. I say this jokingly, but he has “special needs” too. We had two children together, and in the beginning I had to push very hard to get them help, while dealing with his problems. He insisted I ignore their needs and focus on him, and deny them help. I ignored him and kept going forward. I didnt cry about him not being there for me. I had a mission for my children. He tried everything in his arsenal to get the attention back on him… drunken rages, abusive behavior of all kinds… use your imagination, he did it.

      I had a few good skills under my belt, and I used them. I would state my boundaries, and tell him exactly what I was going to do for my children and for myself. I would be very matter of fact about it, and did my best to be firm but kind. Then I’d go and do exactly what I said I was going to do, and another positive change for my children would happen. It gave me so much confidence, I realized I didn’t actually need his support at all. The way I looked at it, it was all up to me, because well… it was! My spouse was determined to be destructive, and I was just as determined to do the right thing. All it takes is ONE PERSON to make a change for a special needs person. I’m so glad I didn’t waste my time trying to drag my husband along.

      Now, I have made so many positive decisions that my children are making real progress, and smiling and laughing and even looking into my eyes! My husband has long since given up trying to be the center of attention, and compliments me a lot on how hard I have worked with my sweet little girls. He watched me work hard a long time without much contribution. He still doesn’t contribute much, but I don’t bother him about it. I let him offer when he wants to help, and I always take help when it is offered! No, it isn’t fair. But I have a newfound self-confidence that I can handle it -one day at a time.

  8. (CANADA) Hi everyone; great to see supportive comments. The reality of day to day life, however, is so massively destructive with a handicapped child. We have moved to a world of inclusiveness (blindly) when the reality is that many, many handicapped children simply need to live in a caring and safe institution. The modern family is simply not designed to be a doctor, pharmacist, physiotherapist and janitor. You as a adult are entitled to a job you like, freedom, enjoyment, and time and energy to think about Christ. But YOU are not Christ. You cannot do it all. You are not a saint, Christ is.

    Christ is glorious but He does not mandate you to be fat, tired, not sleeping, eating & drinking too much, frustrated and living in a falling apart home because of ONE PERSON. That one person has no concept of what they are doing to you. Autism is a selfish, cowardly thief, masked in “but they can be geniuses in their own way.” It’s not a better way of thinking. It needs to have it’s destructiveness held in check. Do not sacrifice your marriage and your health.

    1. I have been reading the above messages… when I married my husband I knew that he had a special needs child. She is mentally challenged, can speak two word phrases so she can’t tell you how she feels, thinks or anything like that, she doesn’t dress herself, bath herself or wipe her bottom… Not that she isn’t capable… She has never been held responsible for doing those things and therefore she refuses to do them. She is 20 years old and my husband and I have been married for 5 years. We get her every other Thursday thru Sunday In the beginning of our marriage, she was 15 and weighed about 110 pounds. She is up to 200 pounds now.

      I used to love spending time with her. Now she has started acting out. When I take her out, she pitches awful fits, pushing people, screaming and sometimes knocking things over. She hates to get a bath and have her hair washed. It’s a literal fight almost every time now. She has started pooping and smearing it everywhere. She will pee her clothes in bed, her chair, or even standing in the bathroom. She used to have an accident peeing every blue moon. But lately it is everytime we have her it is a pee or poop mess or both. She randomly hurts my 3 year old grandchildren. She pulls everything out of the cabinets and makes a mess with it. If I walk outside she will lock me out of the house. She tears up paper stuff. She eats whatever she can put her hands on if you aren’t in the room, but can fix her plate or get her drink herself.

      She has become so mean, distructive and combative. I’ve never been one to handle stress well. I get physically sick. The past year I’ve had to go on blood pressure and stomach medication. I get physically sick starting on Tuesday just anticipating her visit starting on Thursday. I’ve talked with my husband about it but he never responds to me. I hate feeling like I hurt him! I love him sooo very much! But we have to come up with some sort of answer to this stressful issue! I’ve asked that he not work on the weekends that we get her or not get her on that weekend because I feel she’s coming to spend time with him, not be left for me to deal with. I don’t mind helping with her, just not do it all.

      If and when he stays home, he finds stuff to do outside or he sleeps in his chair. I feel like I’m starting to resent both him and his daughter. I hate it so much that I feel like I do! I never in a million years thought that things would become like they are… I don’t work outside the home. I feel so overwhelmed and have no support. I feel like I’m drowning…

  9. If there are spelling mistakes here, I am using my phone. I am a father of an autistic son. I am the only person in this world that really care about him. It is a very heavy burden to carry and there is a constant pain deep inside you. His stepmother finds it difficult to accept him as he is and he actually is a very nice person. His main problem being that he cannot talk, otherwise he is not much of a problem and of course he is mentally handicapped as well in many ways.

    I don’t expect pity, love or help from his stepmom although it would have been appreciated. I just experience enormous frustration and pain when I have to defend his position. It is difficult enough as it is. I love my wife and I love my son. How difficult can it be to understand this? His condition was caused because his bio mother used prozac during pregnancy. I don’t blame her; I blame the psychiatrical industry.

    As a final warning and advice to everybody, never, ever use any psychiatrical medication, anti depressants, anti anxiety, sleeping pills etc. You will ruin your own life and relationships without ever realizing that these medications are the source of the problem.

  10. My husband wants a divorce because I told him our two adult children with disabilities (autism and mental illness) will always have to come first for me. I guess I sound pretty awful saying this but I am just being honest. I am also 61 years old with cancer (treatable thus far). I am devastated and know he really wants to get out of the marriage and maybe I do too. I feel like he does not really even love our 27 year old son with autism. He is also tremendously disappointed in our 30 year old daughter old who is divorced and living with us and working part time. She helps me a great deal with my son while I am working and other times. I just feel so broken and sad.