Hope for Disabilities

Fulfilling unmet needs in the disability community

Communication Is The Key

Posted by Ask Emily on November 22, 2013 at 10:10 AM

No relationship or marriage is easy, especially when one or both adults, and/or a child or multiple children in the home have a, "disability", or multiple, "disabilities". This can lead to absolute chaos and put the relationship or marriage on a whirlwind roller coaster. Some couples and families might try to keep these challenges private and make their marriage or family look like they are the perfect couple or family without any problems, and others you can tell without any doubt that something is putting a strain on the relationship. In some cases, it might not matter if you are on the outside looking in, or if you are part of the couple who is struggling to hold things together, it might be more obvious to some than to others that something is going on. These couples might realize that they have a problem and not know who or where to turn for help, where as others may be in total denial that help is needed to resolve the concerns that are going on. The key is to communicate to each other what you are feeling and what is going on. Below, I am going to put a few scenario's that some of you might be able to relate to and you might say, "wow this person hit the nail right on the head and knows exactly what is going on in my relationship or in my household." Hopefully you will see that you are not the only one going through these challenges and that help is out there.

In some marriages, one spouse works the 9-5 (or longer) Monday through Friday away from the home, while the other spouse stays home with the children and the house chores and everything that goes along with holding a family together. This can be especially exhausting if there is one or multiple, "Special Needs" in the household. The one who works outside the home more than likely depending on the line of work they are in comes home at the end of an exhausting day at the office drops their stuff the minute they walk in the door and collapses on the couch in front of the television not wanting to do anything else but fall asleep watching a program that they haven't seen in a while or keep catching it mid way through and they are waiting to try to catch it from beginning to end before the sequel to the movie comes out. The other parent who has been home all day with the child or children watches this routine day after day all week long and may have some resentment that the spouse that works outside the home gets to come in and do this every day after work when the chores, chaos, and routine (or lack there of) in the home never end. Is this sounding familiar to anyone yet?

By the time dinner is done, dishes (may or may not have got done that evening), kids are bathed and ready for bed, chances are that the spouse who works outside of the home has fallen asleep on the couch before the program that they have been trying to watch all week if not longer has ended and probably without the spouse on the couch catching the ending of the program. The spouse who has been home with the child or children, and the chaos and chores of the house might try to take a warm bath to attempt to relax before crying themselves to sleep because the other spouse is on the couch and chances are if they happen to wake up, you won't wake up to them coming to bed and by the time you wake up the next morning to start it all over again, the spouse who had fallen asleep on the couch, is either already up and getting ready to go back to the office, or has already left long before you even woke up.

For the record, I want all of the readers here to know that I do not have a college degree in Psychology, I may not be wise beyond my years, but I can relate to these experiences on a personal level because I myself am a parent, have been a spouse, and have a disability. Remember we are all human and we need to remember to communicate. This does not mean talking to your spouse while they are half asleep on the couch at the end of their long day. Or your alarm clock goes off in the morning, and while your getting ready you attempt to talk to your spouse who is still trying to get a few more minutes of sleep.

Remember It's important to take the time to communicate before things become to explosive, and your children may be within hearing distance. When your so busy trying to get in the last word in, you may have temporarily forgotten yours roles as being loving parents to your children! Remember that it is okay for one or both parties to take a time out as well. You should never go to bed angry!

If you have something on your mind and are not comfortable discussing it, tell your spouse that you need to first write it down on paper so you can organize your thoughts. In doing this it will give you the time you need to write out your feelings, re-read your thoughts and digest them. When the two of you have calmed down to the point where you can come together calmly then you can discuss what has been written down without yelling, and making comments you will both regret. Something to think about, constant anger and frustration can lead to exhaustion and depression. These things can cause family and deep marital issues, problems with your job, and managing your friendships ECT. Now you are left with not knowing how to fix what has happened in your life.

For those who work the Monday through Friday 9-5 or longer, take the extra 5 minutes on your way home to pick up a card, a flower, or a bouquet of flowers for your spouse who stays home day after day with your child or children and does everything that they can to keep your house and your family from falling apart. On the flip side, for those of you who stay at home to keep the house and child or children from falling apart, if this should all of a sudden out of nowhere start happening, whatever you do, do not question it or assume anything. Just know that your working spouse has finally realized that you may not feel appreciated enough for everything that you do and they are trying to make up for not recognizing that. If you can't afford the once in a while card or flowers, take the time to write your spouse a note to let them know how much you appreciate them, send them a quick e-mail or text message that they won't be expecting, even if they are just in the other room, or call them on your lunch break from the office or if you are the spouse home with the kids, send them a quick e-mail, text message, or a quick phone call if it won't disturb them while they are at work and leave them a message if they do not answer the phone and just tell them that you love and appreciate them for all that they do.

In closing, just remember that you wouldn't be together if at one point in time you didn't love each other and that deep down, you more than likely still do love each other. You are just exhausted, frustrated, and are not intending to take things out on your spouse even if that is how your spouse interprets it. If you can relate to this, or it has touched you in some way, and you would like to further discuss it, you can either comment here on the blog or you can contact us privately. If you can relate to this and you are in need of resources to help in your local community for yourself or your family, send us a private message and we would be happy to help you get to those resources as well.

Categories: Disabilities and Special Needs, Marriage Issues

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