It first it seems overwhelming. Both parents don’t know what to do for their child or to help each other. Many times the couples do all the right things and are turned away by mistake. This seems like a big conspiracy and can complicate things. Emotions run high. One spouse may blame the other because he or she would not dare blame God. The other may in turn blame God. Divorce rates run high in general but are even higher in couples with kids that have special needs or have at high risk for mental issues. This is a time not to blame God but embrace one’s Faith. Often the only thing that may keep couples together is a sense of faith and believe in God. I personally know if God were not in my life that it would be a mess. God takes care of me and my family everyday. He provides guidance and care everyday.
One has to know their spouse. You know how he/she is going to react to most new situations. So plan ahead. When you are thrown for a loop, learn from the new experience and take notes. Store the information so you can use it to plan for the next time this situation may arise. It is just like telling your kids what is going to happen so they will not be anxious. If you know your spouse does not like surprises, then don’t let your family drop in at the drop of a hat. Just explain that your spouse is not comfortable with this. Now, your spouse has to play the game too. He/she has to develop some game rules for dealing with your family that are respectful of you. But, remember sometimes you have to be the one that is the bigger person. This may mean shutting up. This does not mean being a door mat, just not arguing for arguing sake. If it is important then that is different. Also, remember everyone has fears. We excuse a child for having fears but forget adults still have them.
One key important factor in tip-toeing around is being able to step back from the goings-on and see the other person’s point of view. What do they think? Are you sure you are right? Have you thought about all the issues? Really are you for sure? Did you ask God about it? How about your child (not in the middle of an argument but in the calm of a storm…you might get some real fresh insight)? How about a completely unbiased person? Did you take a deep breath or a walk? Are you thinking or just acting?
One has to be willing to do what it takes to take care of the spouse and the children. It is hard work. One has to accept the truth and be willing to go the extra hundreds and hundreds of miles. Sometimes that may mean you are the stronger one. That may mean you see the truth and your spouse does not. You don’t have to force them into. You can’t force them into seeing the truth. Tip-toeing around others means just that…going around, up/down or sideways and staying with them to help them and one day the light will come to them. God uses you to help them. Don’t ask me his plan. I just know he has one. Let him use you. Be strong, go with it and do it.
Remember the goal. The goal is to have the best life for family and yourself that is possible. Keeping the goal in mind will help stay the course. Focusing on the plan will decrease the bitterness and bad times. Sometimes this may mean asking for help. There are community resources. Systems of Care have been an excellent source. OKAY, an afterschool group that is out of OU and headed by Jeanette Doty, has been of great help. Capps Middle School as well as the Putnam City School District have helped and have always been there with help for resources for my son as well as having dedicated workers. Also, know that emotions will run high. There will be anger, sadness, despair as well as love and the full range. Just be prepared and don’t get over run.
Try to have a way to alleviate the stress. Besides the emotional and physical reasons, exercise and meditation make people just feel good. Extra weight and lack of activity are known to increase stress and make people feel worse. So why not plan and make this part of the plan. Do you want to feel bad? Don’t tell someone he/she is fat. Don’t treat someone like they are part of a military regime. Would you like to be treated like that? The answer is no.
To sum it up: Pray and remember you can’t change others but you can change yourself and how you react. God will walk with you and for you. He sent his only son to pay the price for our sins. The least we can do is take care of our family and spouse. That means taking care of and loving ourselves. If we don’t start there what chance do we have of loving the others? So what if your spouse can’t accept blue curtains? Or that your child isn’t that smart? You can work around it. Your spouse can’t accept a lot of things. Yet, the spouse can work 40 hours a week and pay the bills. You can take the child to tutoring or speech class. Do you think God knew this? I am sure he did. Don’t question God’s plan but just do what you can do. It will all work.