Married with Special-Needs Children

Thank you to psychologists Dr. Laura Marshak (author of Married with Special-Needs Children and Going Solo) and Dr. Natalie Truba (of Nationwide Children’s Hospital) for providing insight into these complicated dynamics.

Married with Special-Needs Children

The stressors and responsibilities of parents of children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are absolutely enormous. From challenging childhood behaviors, to lack of sleep, fewer romantic encounters, few family members and friends “getting it” – and a thousand other obstacles that tend to emerge – it’s rare that a parent actually gets time for self-care. For many parents, it’s even rarer to have time to care for their marriage.

During the attempt to juggle these stressors and fulfill these responsibilities, predictable patterns can emerge both in the marriage and in the individuals. As a result, the marriage may easily start deteriorating. Over time, what was once a romantic partnership may be whittled down to a parenting partnership.

Despite the way it may seem, parents of individuals with Duchenne are not destined to live out these patterns. The potential of a marriage is not determined by the severity of the child’s diagnosis. There is hope.

There is hope that the marriage won’t dissolve. There is hope for a stronger relationship. It will take self-reflection, communication, creative and collaborative problem solving, but even small changes can reap big rewards. These links will help.

More to Consider