marriage · special needs parenting

If I Taught Marriage 101, This Would Be My First Lesson 

Twenty-two years. As of June 10, we’ve been married for over half my life. 

I met Mike when I was 15 and he just turned 18. He let me drive his sports car on my learner’s permit that summer, but I was a bit tricky to nail down. Then he went off to college. Upon his return he asked a friend of mine on a date. I wasn’t about to let that happen, and found out that it was a calculated move to reel me in that worked. 

We started dating when I was 16. We became adults together and got married just a few months after he got his first police job. 

We blew it big time in those early years, but somehow, just before Alex was born we both decided to get our act together, just in time to welcome him into our lives. 

Not too long after that we brought our 13 year old niece home and became parents of a teenager. Then we added Ben. 

It’s been a hell of a ride, but at some point I realized that I needed to let him go.  Since then, I make sure Mike gets to take up every reasonable opportunity to go out hunting or fishing with his friends. 

It sounds ridiculous. With everything we have to manage at home, why would I cut my husband loose like that?  

Because when he’s here, he’s really here. 

He does Ben’s flush and catheterizations every day. He gives Ben his meds and gets the boys outside and sends me out for runs.  I never have to nag him for anything.  Seriously. If I want something I say the word and he makes it happen. 

I accidentally stumbled upon the perfect solution:  When my husband has freedom to do all the things he loves he’s content to be domestic.  That, and he treats me like gold.  

Our day in, day out life is demanding and draining. Neither of us could do it for long without opportunities to replenish ourselves. I learned the value of self care when I didn’t do it, and have become a huge proponent of the practice. Indeed, equally important is spouse care. In taking turns getting breaks, we both maintain balanced, healthy lives in which we can be highly effective spouses and parents together. 

If I taught marriage 101, this would be my first lesson:  love in such a way that the person you love feels free. 


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