My In-laws are celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary this week. My parents will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary in December. This seems to be the year of big anniversaries for our family. As I’ve been working to plan a party to include my In-laws’ friends, neighbors and our close family this weekend, I find myself thinking about marriage – and what makes it the kind that will last multiple decades – a lot lately. (And to be honest, the breaking news of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver’s split only compounded my ponderings on marriage this week.)
Like most couples raising a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, my husband and I have had some really tough times. I wouldn’t blame all of our problems on “Autism,” because we certainly had our issues long before Ethan was born. We both brought our own issues into the marriage and we’ve done our best to work through them. Additionally, when Ethan was still very small, I realized that my husband and I have very different – sometimes even conflicting – parenting styles and approaches. All those things considered though, the “D-word” rarely seriously came up prior to Ethan’s diagnosis.