Threats to Caregiving Marriages and How to Fight Them
Threats to caregiving marriages can loosen the emotional glue that keeps couples together. The second chapter of Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities discusses seven threats that are unique to caregiving spouses and partners. Here’s a quick run down of what’s on the list.
- Time constraints. As in the time required to care for our kids doesn’t leave much time for connecting with a spouse.
- Financial strains. Medical bills. Doctor appointments. Therapy sessions. Adaptive equipment. Who has money left over for date nights or babysitters?
- Guilt and grief. Parents love their kids with special needs. Even so, they grieve the loss of the child they thought they would have and may feel guilty about their grief.
- Isolation. Medical conditions, behavioral issues, and crazy schedules make staying home with kids easier than going out with friends. The more we say “no” to invitations, the fewer invitations are extended. We end up isolated together and overly dependent on one another.
- Geographic separation during treatment. My husband stayed home and work while our son and I spent much of his first 3 months at a hospital 750 miles away. It’s an all-too-common scenario for caregiving spouses.
- Worry about the future. We worry that our kids may die young. And we worry about who will care for them if they outlive us. That’s a lot of worry.
- Lack of support. While extended family, friends, and church family have good intentions, they often have no clue of how to support us. We don’t have time or energy to educate them, so they support us less and less. It’s a vicious circle.
What a depressing list of threats to caregiving marriages! Dr. Chapman and I wrote Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families to encourage you as you invest in your relationship. Chapter 2 ends with a look at the Hebrew word hesed. Hesed is a merciful, intentional love that intervenes on behalf of loved ones and comes to their rescue. The next two installments of this series are all about how parents can use the love languages to practice hesed with a spouse or partner. You can also Or you can purchase the book at your favorite bookstore or on Amazon if you want to learn about how to fight these threats to caregiving marriages before then.
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Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon.
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