When Your Child Is Diagnosed With Autism: Saving Your Marriage In The Face Of Adversity

As a Christian, you know that new babies are a true gift from the Lord. While every child is perfect in the eyes of God, some children are born with illnesses or conditions that require special care. If your child has been diagnosed with autism, it can put a lot of stress on your marriage. It's natural for many couples to have arguments while everyone adjusts. Before deciding to divorce, read through this article--it just may give you the info you need to fix things.

Become a United Force for Good

While no marriage goes without petty squabbles every so often, one of the most common issues relates to the fact that couples fail to work together. You and your partner may have completely different ideas about how to raise and care for your child. If this is the case, you must come to an understanding and decide how you both want to move forward. This requires a great deal of comprime, and a willingness from each partner to pick and choose your battles.

Proverbs 1:8-9, teaches that both the mother and father play a pivotal role in parenting. By focusing on working together, you provide the stability your child needs to learn and flourish, regardless of his diagnosis.

Don't Blame One Another For Your Child's Condition

There's nothing quite as devastating as getting the news that your child has an illness or condition they may struggle with for the rest of their lives. Trying to place the blame is something that almost all parents go through when they have a sick child.

It's easier to direct anger, grief, and fear outward toward a single source than to deal with it and turn to God for comfort. If you can say, "YOU caused my child to become autistic," you may feel better temporarily...but it's a bandaid fix at best.

If this has happened to you, understand that you aren't alone. Many couples fall into the common trap of laying the blame on each other--making the adjustment process more difficult when there simply isn't any blame to lay.

Instead, drop the blame game completely. Understand that, sometimes, these things just happen. Neither you or your spouse did anything to "cause" autism.

Move forward with an understanding that both of you are doing your best to adjust. And, perhaps most importantly, share these emotions with each other and with God.

In Exodus 20:16, Christians are commanded not to bear false witness against their neighbors. What this is saying is that false accusations are considered a sin. This also applies to loved ones--including your spouse.

Get to the Root Of Your Real Emotions

If you find yourself yelling at your spouse over something small, consider what's really making you upset. Are you feeling out of control, angry, or sad about the diagnosis? Has your child missed a milestone? Parenting a child with autism is rewarding, but it can also be difficult--it's ok to acknowledge that you're struggling to control your emotions on any given day. The key is to point them at the right target, instead of those around you.

In Colossians 3:18-19, Christians learn that married couples should love and support one another, as that is their holy duty. Move forward and keep this knowledge in your heart, remembering that both of you are loved equally by God. 

Learn About Autism and Share Your Knowledge With the World--Together

There is significant opportunity for your child's diagnosis to improve your marriage, rather than tearing it apart. While it can seem difficult to find time to spend with your spouse, learning together is incredibly important. Attend doctor's appointments, therapy sessions, and outings as a team. As you watch your child develop, keep an open dialog about the disorder. Essentially, you will need to become an extremely knowledgeable team of Autism specialists. Helpful activities may include:

  • Reading and discussing books about Autism
  • Creating activities that help your child to socialize
  • Looking up interesting resources online and share them back and forth with your spouse
  • Attending events like the National Autism Conference
  • Working as a team to help other struggling parents of children with Autism

Individuals can only learn and digest so much information at once. Remember that one of the benefits of marriage is that two heads are better than one! With the ability to research and better understand more info more quickly, you're more likely to find information that helps you to adjust in a shorter period of time.

In Galatians 5:13-14, Christians learn that service to others is important. As parents of a child with Autism who are constantly learning more about the disorder together, you have a very special opportunity to improve the lives of others. Do so whenever the opportunity arises, as compassion towards others will also make you compassionate to one another.

When times are difficult, cultivating a strong support network can be very helpful. While you can always turn to God, sometimes additional help is needed. If you and your partner are struggling after your child's diagnosis, consider seeing a Christian marriage counselor. He or she can guide you, both through psychotherapy techniques and scripture, toward finding one another and loving one another again.

Click here for more information about marriage counseling in St Cloud, Mn.