12 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Healthy as Parents of a Child With Cerebral Palsy
Marriage is not easy, and to keep your relationship strong and healthy, it needs work. For parents of a child with cerebral palsy, this becomes an added challenge, on top of the many others you have to navigate for keeping your marriage healthy.
The couple’s lives change entirely, and it can test your marriage. Raising a child with special needs is exhausting and overwhelming; emotionally, physically, and financially.
All these factors can significantly dwindle your chance of having a healthy marriage. Let’s explore 12 ways you can keep your marriage healthy as parents of a child with cerebral palsy.
1. Embrace change and stress as a couple
As a couple, it is vital to understand and acknowledge the changes brought by being parents of a child with cerebral palsy. These changes shift the balance in the relationship, with each person adjusting differently and at a different pace.
Understating and embracing each other’s adjusting period and learning to express your thoughts and feelings to one another without creating a blame game, prevents resentment from creeping in and creating a strain on the marriage.
Embracing the changes together will make your union stronger and make it easier for you to get over the cerebral palsy family challenges
2. Spend more time together
As parents of a child with cerebral palsy raising your kid would be time-consuming, with many visits to doctors and therapists and the necessary constant care and attention that the child needs. This can eat away at the amount of time that you spend as a couple.
An essential cerebral palsy help for parents is to schedule regular weekend activities and date nights, or a romantic getaway. Time spent together as partners help the couple catch up on their daily happenings, get to know what is personally happening to each individual away from the kids and family.
Investing in quality time must be intentional. Make it a priority and schedule it, as you would any other appointments.
3. Learn on ways to negotiate conflict
The inevitable pressure and stress of raising a child with cerebral palsy can lead to conflict. While the conflict in a relationship is a regular, and even welcome occurrence, having the added pressure can make it more severe.
This can increase in intensity leading to physical and emotional abuse. However, learning how to differentiate between your relationship issues and parenting stress makes it easier to tackle the problems.
Start by understating the leading cause of frequent conflicts and discuss them calmly. You may opt to use various resources to address both parenting and marriage issues.
4. Explore intimacy
Being parents of a child with cerebral palsy can prevent you from enjoying intimacy due to the constant stress and tiredness. However, it is vital to understand that creating time for intimacy with your partner helps your marriage to experience a new level of closeness.
Intimacy does not necessarily mean sex but giving your partner a leeway to enjoy the emotional closeness. Creating time and space for your partner to express their emotions without fear of being judged makes your marriage strong.
Also, making time to fulfill each other’s sexual needs and fantasies helps the union to stay healthy and more satisfying.
5. Learn about yourself
To become better parents of a child with cerebral palsy and a great wife or husband to your partner, you need to learn and discover yourself first. Working on your self-discovery enables you to appreciate and love yourself first before passing the virtue to others.
Learning and finding yourself equips you to embrace the beauty of parenting and marriage. It helps you to understand your inner intimate wants that you interconnect with your partner to create a happy marriage. Moreover, it helps to learn more about your partner, thus discovering and fulfilling each other desires.
6. Have a spiritual connection
In a marriage, sharing a spiritual connection helps the couple to grow together. A spiritual dimension has the power to change your marriage when both couples share the same practices and beliefs.
Fulfilling your emptiness as a couple through maintaining and creating a bond of love embedded within a spiritual framework gives a stronger meaning to marriage.
Growing spiritually together forms a sacred bond of nurturing, attending, and caring for each other needs. It also intensifies the focus of being with each other hence paving the way for falling in love again.
7. Be spontaneous
To overcome the stress associated with being the parents of a child with cerebral palsy, embrace the power of spontaneity. Send loving and appreciative messages now and then, arrange for a candlelight dinner, send flowers, chocolate or bucket of fruits or a bottle of wine.
These small acts put a smile on your spouse’s face. Being spontaneous keeps your marriage alive while still enjoy the beauty of being a parent.
8. Reaffirm your love and marriage
Realize that having a child with cerebral palsy will disrupt your married life frequently. Reaffirming your commitment to each other brings you together. Set a time to talk about the things that drew you together, reread the cards and letters you sent each other.
Look through old photos and reflect on the good times you have enjoyed. Remember why you are a couple. Don’t let the journey of becoming a parent overtake the memories and beauty of being in a marriage.
Keep on reassuring and searching for the meaning and purpose of your marriage without expecting any immediate answer. When your marriage seems hard, reread your wedding vows and embrace your promises to each other.
The journey of being the parents of a child with cerebral palsy needs both parents to fully participate in the numerous responsibilities. Leaving the bulk of the work of taking care of the child to one parent creates resentment and burnout.
Sharing makes the couple feel like a team, and once your partner completes a given task, appreciate them for the effort. Remember, as a couple; you work as a team. And while teams don’t win all the time, they gain strength by learning and working together.
10. Keep the power of caring flowing
Yes, caring is compelling, keep it growing regardless of the situation, and stresses of raising a child with cerebral palsy. Most parents channel all the caring to their child, leaving their spouse empty.
Practicing an ongoing flow of genuine concern and kindness to your spouse by being in touch and responding to their needs, strengthens the marriage. Caring carries a lifetime of great rewards through boosting each other morale to maintain your marriage.
You may demonstrate your caring by completing a chore on behalf of your partner, expressing appreciation for something done and always keep in constant check on their well being.
11. Cultivate relationship beliefs
As parents of a child with cerebral palsy, you need to cultivate relationship beliefs that strengthen your marriage. Such include: better communication, listening to each other worries and fears, respecting each feeling, and space.
Also trusting your partner decisions, having a sense of humor and fun, embracing patience with each other and knowing when your marriage needs to seek help. When a couple embraces such strengths, they rejuvenate their lives, making them better parents and spouses. And don’t forget to always practice forgiveness.
12. Keep your communication alive
Marriage works through communication. But for spouses raising a child with cerebral palsy, communication needs to increase and become frequent.
Communicating on your child’s progress, hospital appointments, financial problems, grocery lists, how your other children are fairing, and everything else keeps you connected. Moreover, communicate on your personal, intimate needs, dreams, anxieties, fears and hopes.
Talk about the changes taking place in your soul and heart. Communication becomes an essential key to building a marriage along with other virtues like honesty, patience, commitment, and trust.
Treat your partner with great care and value your marriage. Being parents of a child with cerebral palsy brings about loss of control. But learning to accept the changes and finding a way to balance the outcome as a couple creates a healthy marriage.
Invest in time, appreciate each other’s small and significant efforts, cater to each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually needs and your love will stay alive.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.