Marriage and a child with Autism…It Can Work!!!

June 29, 2012

Ok, so it is my turn to talk about marriage and how a special needs child & a typical, crazy child play into its happiness and outcome.  In ZAKSDAD’s recent blog on marriage and autism (, he talks about common goals and luck as things that help a marriage (our marriage) be successful.  I agree with that, but I will also add teamwork & family dedication as critical factors.  .  It sounds like good things to have for any marriage and I am sure it is true but with a special needs child it is critical.  I have a rosier picture of our marriage than ZAKSDAD.  I think our relationship is wonderful and a large part of it is due to him.  I am blessed to have such an amazing man as my husband & partner in life.  I always tell my single friends they “need to find their Brian”.   Our personalities are very different, but because we want the same things in life and we are dedicated to our family, our marriage is successful and even better yet, enjoyable (except when ZAKSDAD is snoring).

Parenthood is extreme dedication and sacrifice – all parents know that, but I do not feel all parents live it.  ZAKSDAD has given up a lot for us and he does it willingly (well mostly).  He doesn’t golf nearly as much as he wants, he stopped playing his co-ed sports probably sooner than he wanted to and he doesn’t even get to watch a complete Steelers game anymore.   His number one extracurricular activity is making our kids laugh & you know what…..he does it because he wants to and because it is what he signed up for when he became ZAKSDAD.  He gets it.  Kids are so much work and adding Autism to the mix adds additional workload, stress and responsibility.  It is even more critical to have teamwork and equal responsibility.

We work very hard on our goals for Zak.  We have a plan and we talk about what is going well & what needs improvement regularly.   We align to what we want to focus on and who is responsible for what.  I think it has worked well for us because we have almost always agreed with what path to take to help Zak improve and when we didn’t ZAKSDAD referred to me and supported my suggestions.   Zak’s therapies are expensive & the diet is difficult.  If both parents are not fully on board – success is unlikely.  My advise….set a regular time to talk about your special needs child and what your goals are and what action items you need to do to accomplish them.  Talk through concerns and be open & willing to give 100% on ways to help your child improve.

I feel our marriage is special.  I know it is because I love ZAKSDAD more than I could love any other adult on the face of the earth.  I love him like that because of his love & dedication to our family (and because he smells good).  We work as a team.  We do not focus on the small things that bug us that just shouldn’t matter (like the fact that ZAKSDAD wears tennis shoes with everything).   We know that our children have a better chance of a happy, successful life if we stay together and show them how a loving, dedicated relationship works.

Why I think we are successful… for each other and our children, dedication, sacrifice & we work hard for our goals.  We do it because we want to and we do it because our children are our most important responsibility in this world.  We also have faith….I know God exists every time I look at ZAKSDAD, Zak & Katie and that makes me believe we will always be ok.

ZAKSDAD is the most amazing, wonderful, loving man on this planet.  We are a great team, but he is the captain and the leader to our success.   When we aren’t successful – he is the reason too!

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