The Impact of Autism on My Marriage

BY: - 14 Jan '14 | Marriage

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Facing Autism on BMWK

Marriage can be a roller coaster ride. This is to be expected when two people are trying to build a life together. So what happens when autism enters the mix? Although autism impacts each child and marriage in a different way, there are some common issues that autism families face. They can include financial challenges, child care, special education, lack of support, parenting a child with challenging behaviors, work-life balance, and planning for the future. Each of these issues can bring stresses to any marriage but they can be more intense when parenting a child on the autism spectrum.

I have often heard the rumored statistic that 80% of marriages of couples raising a child with autism ends in divorce. In 2010, two studies came out that debunked this statistic. One of them was a study conducted by Hartley et al. that was published in the Journal of Family Psychology. This study stated that parents of children on the autism spectrum had a 23.5% rate of getting divorced compared to 13.8% of parents of children who did not have a disability.

The Kennedy Kreiger Institute also debunks this statistic in their study, which found that “64% of children with autism lived with married or adoptive parents compared to a rate of 65% for children with no autism diagnosis.” My husband and I are not in the 23.5% of couples getting divorced because of autism. In fact, divorce is not even on our radar. Our son, Angel, is in the 64% of children with autism living with married parents.

One thing that we don’t hear often is that autism can bring couples closer together. No one else understands Angel the way my husband and I do. I truly believe that we have gained greater purpose as a couple since Angel was diagnosed.

I admit that autism came into our lives when we were already experiencing some marital challenges. We were on an emotional roller coaster but we rode it out. When our son was diagnosed with autism, my initial coping mechanism was to have a good cry and then start researching ways we could help him progress. I knew that I could not be in denial anymore. I knew that our son needed more help than he was getting.

My husband had his own way of coping. I strongly believe that he was in denial about Angel’s diagnosis and what it meant for our family in the long run. Sometimes he would ask me questions that would make me give him the side eye. It was hard for me to understand why he did not get it. I know that was not fair, but I am being honest.

Soon, I had to realize that we each have areas of parenting that come naturally to us. I am the writer, the researcher, the advocate, and yes the hands-on mom. He is the disciplinarian, the teacher, the fun one, and yes the hands-on dad. Because we have assumed these roles, I realize that we still have to reach across and provide support to each other not just as parents but as husband and wife.

As parents we both know that no matter what else is going on, we have to be there for our son. His diagnosis has not changed his love and need for us. His diagnosis has not changed our love for each other. Looking back, we could’ve been more supportive of each other. Counseling really helped us get over that hump. We had no choice. Our son needed us.

As husband and wife, we know that we need to do more things as a couple. We need to work hard to make that happen and to make our marriage last. While planning for our son’s future, the realization hit that we are in this for the long haul. It also hit us that he could be in our home for a life time. This means we have to think outside the box to keep our marriage going. Continuing to build our family on a foundation of love is a good start.

BMWK: Are you a married couple raising a child with autism? How has autism impacted your marriage?

Check back every other Tuesday for additional articles from Kpana Kpoto as she shares her experiences and what she learns as she raises her son that has been diagnosed with Autism.

About the author

Kpana Kpoto wrote 38 articles on this blog.

Kpana Kpoto, also known as Miz Kp, is a special needs advocate and blogger. She provides resources and support for autism parents through her blog, Sailing Autistic Seas and her support group, Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle. Kpana lives in New York City with her husband and only child, six-year old "Angel" who is conquering autism one milestone at a time.


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21 WordPress comments on “The Impact of Autism on My Marriage

  1. Amy

    My situation-in a marriage for 14 years, got a divorce, remarried for 7 years, now. My son, 16, born in first marriage-diagnosed with autism in second marriage. Its a daily struggle,dealing with marriage, autism, and a family. How old is your child?

  2. Mr. R

    As a male parent of a child with autism, I feel like I am in a VERY different category of most of my peers, family and friends. I feel isolated at times because of this, but being with a partner who really cares about me and my child is very comforting and adds validation to my cause. I made a promise to be the best dad I can be and I think my son and wife agree!

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A Divine Recipe to Live Longer and Wealthier as a Family

BY: - 14 Jan '14 | inspiration

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Most people have heard the statement “The family that prays together stays together”. A phrase which infers the importance and power of spirituality to a family. Yet there is another expression that families should add to their expression catalog –

The family who keeps their bodies’ tight gets to spend many more nights.

The family who keeps their bodies’ tight gets to spend many more nights” is the companion phrase to “The family that prays together stays together”. This new expression introduces us to a previously unknown but important reality – invocation and supplication are not the only things that keep a family together.

The body and spirit are one. Families would be wise to recognize that there is an undeniable, unbreakable connection between the two.

If families are going to stay together – remain among the living, not only will we need to pray but we are going to need to understand and appreciate our bodies for what they truly are – temples.

Quality Materials

Thanks to science, we have the ability to discover all we need to know about the ancient temples. Likewise, science has the ability to tell us all we need to know about our individual temples. At last check, science details that our individual temples are not functioning as prodigiously as the great temples.

Great temples are constructed using the finest materials which is why several temples that were constructed many centuries ago are still in existence today. Conversely, our temples are composed of unhealthy materials – Soul Food, fast food, high sodium intake, sugar sweetened drinks, high fat, high carbohydrates and minimal quantities of essential vitamins & minerals. The composition of our temples illustrates a disquieting reality – our temples are crumbling before all other temples.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Minority Health reports some startling facts about the health of our temples:

  • African-American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese.
  • In 2011, African-Americans were 1.5 times as likely to be obese as Non-Hispanic Whites.
  • In 2011, African-American women were 80% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women.
  • In 2007-2010, African-American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than Non-Hispanic White girls.

Quality Construction

The designing, planning, engineering and constructing of the great temples were overseen by the best engineers of the day. There was no allowance for poor planning and execution. The mandate was clear – to make sure the temples illuminated the creator’s supreme skills and abilities into perpetuity.

Our temples were created the very same way and with exactly the same mandate. Insurmountable thought and detail went into our design, plan, engineering and construction. Nonetheless, our temples are falling apart rapidly, dying and decaying – in the twinkling of an eye – due to our individual poor planning and execution. It is shameful that Our Creator’s showcases are not holding up as originally intended.

The fault is ours. Not only are the materials we use to sustain our temples inferior but our plans and execution to prolong their existence is equally abysmal. In short, we don’t just eat the wrong things but we compound and expedite the collapse of our temples when we exclude exercise from our daily schedule.

national survey indicates that 50% of African-American men and 67% of African-American women report that they do not exercise daily. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Minority Health further illuminates our refusal to follow the guidelines that sustain and maintain our temples:

  • In 2010, African-Americans were 70% less likely to engage in active physical activity as Non-Hispanic Whites.
  • In 2011, 55.2 % of African-Americans did not meet federal physical activity guidelines.
  • In 2011, only 23.2% of African-Americans met the federal aerobic guidelines.
  • In 2011, only 18% of African-Americans met the federal leisure physical activity guidelines.

Let’s Stay Together

If the Black family is going to stay together, a key is ending our love affair with food. We “treat” ourselves to poor nutrition during “good times”. We “comfort” ourselves with poor nutrition during “bad times”. And we just eat poorly all the rest of the times. This is not a recipe for staying together.

Instead of loving and living to eat, it’s time that we start a love affair with life. An affair that includes healthy eating and exercising to live. An improved – plant-based – diet and an increased daily exercise regimen is only the beginning of a love affair that will give you more than just a few extra nights together.

In fact, studies show that your life and the lives of each member of your family could be extended by 3.4 to 4.5 years if they adopted the proposed diet and exercise changes. Moreover, an improved diet and increased exercise routine can give you more money to spend during the time you are on this earth. How does $34,153 to $385,725 sound to you?

I pray that you would agree that more time with the family and more money to share with them is something worth saying AMEN!

BMWK – Click here and take the test to discover if you are treating your temple like a monument or a tomb.

About the author

Nathaniel Turner wrote 21 articles on this blog.

Nathaniel A. Turner, J.D. is the author of "Raising Supaman", a collection of life lessons written by a father to his son. Nate holds degrees in Accounting, Theology, History and Law. Nate blogs at The Raising Supaman Project which exists to CHANGE THE WORLD one parent, one child at a time.


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