Thursday, February 13, 2014
Why I Stay -- A Husband's Point of View
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..."
~ Ephesians 5:25, NIV ~
Given the propensity for divorce in this nation (nearly half of all marriages end in divorce), I was inspired to ask my husband why he has stayed with me and the kids all of these years. With Valentine's Day looming, and thoughts of love floating through the air, I wondered why he sticks with our marriage when so many other men leave. Here is what he wrote for your consumption. (Maybe this will give you a little peek into why I think he's worth staying married to as well!)
Why not?, may be easier to answer. As the father of 3 children that combined, have numerous special needs, I sometimes wonder why I am still here with my family. Once special needs children are in the mix, a great number of fathers bail out and leave mom to deal with the chaos! Leaving could look a lot easier than staying to work out all the normal family challenges along with the added wild card of raising children with special challenges.
Why leave? The endless medical bills will stop, no more re-arranging work schedules to help out with doctor appointments, I can stop asking, "Why us?", no more losing a career because your boss found out your child's medical bills will be at least $200,000 a year and climbing! Working for a small business could raise the employer's medical insurance premiums to a level high enough to put them out of business, so finding a new job is not easy either.
Marriage in a perfect world is difficult hard work. Marriage in the realm of special needs children is equally difficult on top of energy draining, sometimes hopelessly watching your excess income all going to pay medical bills. Dream vacations are just that -- a dream yet to happen. I could go on and on about what it would be like to live like normal families, who have difficult decisions to make like, "What color will our next car be?", "What place will we take the family for dinner or vacation?", "What will be the next sport will our kids join?", or "How do I keep up with other Christians that have a charmed family life?".
"Why stay?", I seldom ask. Why I stay is my choice. My wife and children are why I stay. We, as a family team, have survived all the crap listed above, and our love and spunky humor keep us together. Marriage is a commitment, and so is raising children. Like it or not, I have signed up for it. In my mind, parents cannot quit or be fired. It is a job for life. When one of us is weak, the other is there to be strong, and the rolls shift often. Sometimes we are both weak, and that is when we can fall apart together. Tomorrow is another day, and we can start fresh knowing we have each other to lean on.
I do not understand how a parent can leave his family. Though many special needs dads that do, I cannot relate. I would be empty without the humor and love of this rag tag team we call OUR family! God never promised to not give us more than we can handle, but sometimes, I do think he trusts us too much!
PRAY: Lord, You created marriage. It isn't easy, even in the best of couples. Please strengthen our marriage and help us to make it through the difficulties of raising a child with special needs. Bless our years together, and grant us a relationship that soars far beyond our time as caregivers.