Striving to Maintain a Healthy Marriage as Dravet Syndrome Parents

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by Meagan Cheney |

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Author and relationship blogger Fawn Weaver said, “A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created.”

According to the American Psychological Association, about 40-50% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. The rates are even higher among parents of special needs kids, noted a study published in the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

My husband and I also have something else betting against us: We were teen parents. Our oldest was born when we were only 19, and we married two years later. According to MTV News, statistics show that only 30% of teen mothers who marry are still married by the time they are 40.

In June, my husband and I will celebrate 11 years of marriage. We’ve lived in four different states, had two more children, changed jobs several times, and had countless arguments and makeups. Oh, and for the last four and a half years, we’ve dealt with Dravet syndrome.

Dealing with a child who is constantly sick is hard. And my husband and I deal with it in different ways. I tend to obsess and micromanage everything, and he tends to be optimistic to the point that it sometimes seems like he’s in denial.

We are constantly on edge, wondering when the next seizure will come. We worry that, when it does come, it will be “the big one.” The one that takes her from us.

On top of that, we have everyday issues. We have two other children and all of their daily activities to think about. We have jobs and stresses outside of our home and marriage.

The point is that marriage is hard. And sometimes, we want to throw in the towel.

So, how do we make it work? The most important thing is that we want it to work, and we are devoted to making that happen.

We make sure that our marriage is a priority, even amid the chaos of our daily lives. We still have regular dates, even if it’s just a glass of wine and a long talk after the kids are in bed. We take an interest in each other’s lives outside of our marriage, and even when we fight, we’ve made a pact to never bring up the big “D” (and I don’t mean Dallas).

I am not saying that there aren’t any situations that could lead us to divorce. We agreed early on to several deal-breakers. Abuse and adultery are unacceptable to us, and would not be tolerated by either party.

Yes, our marriage is tough, and we have many odds stacked against us. But we keep in mind that our marriage is not the hardest. There are many people out there who have sicker kids, and worse circumstances.

My husband is the person I want to live my life with, and I make a choice to love him each and every day. In June 2010, I made a covenant with him: to stick it out through sickness and health, good times and bad. We’ve seen plenty of both. And we know that doing this life apart would be harder than doing it together.

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Note: Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Dravet Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Dravet syndrome.