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How to Make Your Marriage a Priority, Even While Raising Exceptional Kids, by Ginny Kochis

If you were to take an honest, hard look at your priorities, where would your marriage fall?

Ideally, you’d probably like to find it at the top of the (ever-present laundry) heap: a relationship you nurture with satisfying regularity. 

A bond of comfort and solidarity. 

Wanting that and getting there, though, are two separate things entirely. Between shuttling kids to therapy appointments and keeping them alive in the interim, you’re drowning. 

The house is a mess. 

The kids are usually melting down or fighting.

You mainlined goldfish for the better part of last week. 

So when you sit down to take a look at your priorities, you realize your marriage has taken a hit. Of course, it has: your main priority is riding the survival wave to the next milestone or crisis. 

Your marriage isn’t a crisis. 

Not really. 

Not yet. 

It’s just...there, really, like a random Happy Meal toy you’ve been tripping over on your way up the stairs. You know you should pause, pick it up, and do something with it, but then again, no one else has. 

It can wait another day - another week. 

But I’m going to ask you a question, and I ask it out of solidarity: can you afford to let it sit there while you plan on someone else handling it?

No, because you know one of two things is going to happen:

  1. It will become a tired yet permanent fixture passed over for its irrelevance

  2. You’re going to resent it. A lot. 

Your marriage deserves more than that. 

Make Your Marriage a Priority (Even While Raising Exceptional Kids)

Drop the excuses you don’t know you’re making

They’re called self-limiting beliefs. Statements like, “We’d work on things if we just had the time for it,” or “This has to take a backseat for the moment because…” only serve to fulfill the narrative that your marriage is something you’ll get to. 

Change happens when you make the effort, not when you’re lamenting the lack of it. 

Work to complement each other in the way God intended 

You aren’t parked in this spot alone, and you don’t have to navigate your way out on your lonesome, either. Be honest with each other about your needs, your observations, and your desires so the kids of you can do this marriage and kid thing in concert. The extra help will lighten the resentment load. 

Schedule time alone and make it happen

For conversation, prayer time, and fun. Call in the big guns: friends, family, respite care, and (gasp!) television. You need each other’s full attention and affection, even if it’s just 15 minutes to start. 

Identify your sticking points and learn to work through them

It’s not unusual for parents of exceptional kids to be differently-wired, too. Use an inventory or checklist (like the ones provided in this packet) to find the nature of your internal struggles, then communicate and act on your results. 

Change is hard, and changing your priorities is even harder - especially when you’re raising exceptional kids. But your marriage matters, and despite it all, it’s worth the effort. 

Get your vows at the top of the heap again

Ginny Kochis is a Catholic wife and homeschooling mom to three Twice-Exceptional kids. Ginny believes that God gives curious, creative, intense children the exact mother they need to thrive. She offers practical support and prayerful encouragement to Catholic moms raising differently-wired kids at Not So Formulaic.

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