Are you and your spouse parenting a disabled child, caring for an aging parent, or seeing to the everyday health needs of a loved one? The circumstances around being caretakers can impact your time and availability for one another. If you have a child with a disability, you want to be intentional with the time you have for your marriage.
Many couples raising children with special needs have tumultuous waters to navigate. There may be seasons when you aren’t able to spend much time with one another at all. This makes it so much more important to support one another with love, patience, and understanding.
We know that if you’re raising a child with a disability, you want to support one another well. The good news is, it’s totally possible to nurture your marriage while giving your child the care they need, too. Let’s look at some ways you can be there for one another.
Give One Another Routine Breaks
Being a caretaker is an ongoing responsibility that never ends. So, it’s important to give each other breaks and time away to rest and recharge. We like to think of it as giving your spouse the gift of time to themselves.
Caretakers need respite care of their own, so if you want to nurture your marriage, it’s important to start with giving one another that time. The chronic stress that can come with caretaking takes a toll on our wellbeing. Make sure you set up opportunities in your routine for each of you to take much-needed breaks to recharge and get the proper care for yourselves.
Take a look at your daily and weekly routine, and see where you can build in predictable breaks for one another. Maybe one spouse goes to lunch or dinner with friends one day a week. Perhaps you swap weekend duties with your child, taking turns so your spouse can enjoy an outing.
Accept Help from Loved Ones
It’s a joy and a privilege to care for your child–no one knows that better than you do. But, you likely have friends and family who would be glad to help you out from time to time. Maybe they’d like to sit with your child one afternoon a week to read, play games, or interact while you and your spouse take some much-needed time together. Depending on your child’s needs, having loved ones to step in occasionally could make all the difference.
Having even a small amount of support from a loved one could give you a little extra time to rest, get chores done around the house, or run errands. Any amount of help will pay dividends toward your own wellbeing, and that of your marriage.
Take Each Day One Step at a Time
Nurturing your marriage in the midst of caretaking means taking each day one step at a time. This is especially important if your child’s medical needs are critical, or if you’re facing a season of health crises. The little moments of care for one another add up over time, helping to strengthen the foundation of your relationship.
Have more questions about how to keep your marriage healthy in the midst of challenging circumstances, both big and small? Our book, I Love You More, shows you how everyday problems can actually be opportunities to strengthen your marriage and deepen your love for each other. Get your copy here.
Do you have a child with disabilities? Are you or your spouse (or both) a caretaker to a loved one in need? Let us know how you nurture your marriage in the comments below.
We have an adult daughter with disabilities. Loving and serving her revealed to my husband and I the importance of “caring” for each other. Marriages can suffer when couples don’t actually take care of each other. We not only love our daughter, but we do so much for her – advocating, physical care, intentionally setting up scenarios that bring her joy, gladly putting her needs first. We’ve learned to be selfless and kenotic – giving ourselves away. And it’s taken our marriage to the next level as we’ve learned to do these things for each other.