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This Special Needs Parent Has One Piece of Marital Advice Every Couple Should Hear

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 2.30.05 PMBeing a parent is hard enough to one or more healthy and active children. When one of those children is afflicted with a special need like Down’s syndrome or multiple sclerosis, it can put a lot of stress on Mom and Dad. In fact, some stats have estimated that around 80 percent of couples, who have a special needs child, get divorced.

Blogger Melanie Gomez is a special needs parent herself, and she doesn’t exactly buy this. In a post for The Mighty, she doesn’t try to candy coat how tough this part of her life is, and the stress it places on her marriage from time to time, but she does feel it to be a blessing instead of a curse. And she has one piece of marital advice that can apply not only to special needs parents, but to married people in general. Her words:

“Here’s my advice: You can choose, each day, to be on the same team or not. There is enough coming at you — plenty of opposition — and you don’t need more inside your own home. You have only one other person with whom you can choose to side, huddle and share those thoughts and fears that no one else will ever comprehend. The sooner you get the ‘same team’ mentality going, the sooner you’re on your way to overcoming any obstacle.”

Gomez says that she and her husband have developed an “us vs. the world” mentality, and it has served them well for more than 22 years of marriage. Here are some things to remember as you adopt this mindset.

1. Being on the ‘same team’ is easier when you share a common challenge.

In Melanie’s case, it’s being good parents to their special needs child. But this doesn’t mean their whole marriage is about ensuring their child’s survival. No, it’s what they learn about each other through this challenge. They learn they can depend on one another to help; that they always have each others’ backs; and that each day is easier with one another rather than without. What challenge can you share together as a couple?

2. No one in the world can understand what your challenge is better than you and your spouse.

By leaning on one another instead of turning away, you further strengthen the bond that gets you through good times and bad. Too many couples seek comfort and solace in something outside of the marriage — be it an affair or an addiction — instead of confronting their doubts and fears together.

Marriage isn’t easy to do well, especially if your first instinct is to give up when times are hard. But no matter what pressures the outside world puts on you, you can find relief in each other as long as you’re both looking inward. Good luck!

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