I’m Sarah. I’ve been married almost 5 years and have two little boys. I’m a stay-at-home mom in the burbs. There have been many struggles that have come up over the past 5 years that I never would have anticipated. For one, becoming a stay-at-home mom made me feel very disconnected from society and my husband. With a working/stay-at-home dynamic I found us drifting apart due to the fact that our lives were so different from each other. I decided one of the things I was going to do to become relevant again was to start following the news more. By doing this I would be able to talk to Mark about something that isn’t just changing diapers and what the kids said today. As I started talking to him more about current events I began to realize we had differing opinions on most things. Then the diagnosis of autism came. If I thought I felt disconnected before it was nothing to what I felt after that day. 30 hour therapy weeks started up and my life became something I couldn’t recognize. I clung to the outside world through news, articles and books. The more I learned the more I realized my views were outside the norm in my community and my own home. Then the election of Donald Trump happened. The disconnect between Mark and I became a ravine.
I struggled to make sense of what had happened to us. We have always been close. I’ve always adored him. We’ve always been on the same page. On one night it felt like that shattered for me. I couldn’t let this destroy my marriage. I decided I would take a different approach to the situation. Instead of debating with him, dropping facts that counter his thoughts or telling him he’s wrong, I decided to listen. Really listen to him. Figure out what is driving his opinions. Is it self interest, resentment or empathy? I asked many questions, I challenged him to think deeper, to think more about others and less about only our circumstances. I talked to him about what guiding principles he wants our children to walk away with. Over time, with a lot of patience, we have found our way back to each other. We are closer than we have ever been. I have such a deeper understanding of what he thinks about and I believe he feels the same about me. Through empathy and understanding we have been able to find common ground. I can’t imagine we are the only ones that have experienced something like this. I’ve decided to reach out and find others in my situation. Whether it is a parent of a special needs child or someone living in a split household, we can help each other find answers in these complicated times.