The Marriage

We were lucky to always be on the same page.

The mom of a daughter with Sanfilippo talks about how she and her husband have done it together, talking, communicating whenever, at any time, about the difficult things -- made possible also by their daughter. "Children have such a great way of living today. It helps to live in the day." No more 5-year plans!

Taking time to tend the marriage.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron provides strategies for parents to come together to talk, discuss, connect.

Child illness impacts a marriage in different ways.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron discusses the many ways that child illness impacts a marriage -- practical, logistical, emotional, financial stresses -- and how parents can differ in how they respond, and the strain these differences put on the marriage. A couple shares the different ways they are coping. A mom shares how a divide developed between she and her husband around the care of their son with cancer.

It’s important that information get shared.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron discusses how parents might have different medical knowledge -- either knows more already or spends more time with doctors during the care -- and how important it is that this information be shared. The medical team needs to share the information with both parents and not burden only one parent with all of it.

Isaiah’s illness almost got us divorced.

The mom of a son with Mito shares how early adjustment threatened her marriage. She did a two-week self-help program in which she opened up about how burdened she felt by her son's needs. Opening up about this changed my life and helped my marriage.

The division of labor is really important.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron discusses the importance of a couple recognizing the division of labor and the role each parent plays. A father shares his struggle with having to leave his son every day to go to his job, but accepting his role as provider.

It was a big disconnect.

A mom talks about how she and her husband differed in their daily coping with their son’s condition and the unexpected ways and times the feelings have come out and the conversations have ensued.

When the couple is divorced.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron stresses the importance of divorced parents communicating around a child will a life-threatening illness and having explicit conversations about the division of labor.

I wanted Stuart to stand on the cliff with me and he had a different strategy.

The parents of a son with SanFilippo Syndrome discuss their different responses to the diagnosis and coping. It took us a long time and it’s still not always easy. It’s hard because we don’t grieve at the same time and in the same way.

Gender is a very difficult piece.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron talks about societal expectations about who does what as well as other impacts of gender differences and roles each parent plays. What are parents’ expectations and what are the child's expectations of each parent?

Our son’s strength put us in our place as to what our roles were.

A couple talks about their son and their love for him helped them find their respective roles: We got the strength for our marriage from him.

Men and women express emotions differently.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron discusses gender stereotypes and the different ways parents grieve their child's illness, and how important it is to name the range of feelings. A mother shares how she grieves differently from her husband.

Creating a safe place for each person to express their feelings.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron stresses the importance of parents having a safe place to honestly share their feelings with each other and how a therapist can help with this. A couple talks about the role that marriage therapy played in helping them get through their daughter's illness and death. A mom discusses the divide between her and her husband and how counseling would have helped the process.

We go see someone. It’s not marriage therapy. It’s life therapy

Parents of a 22-month old with leukodystrophy and 6 other children share how they've learned to communicate about all the stressors, and how they have benefited immensely from marriage therapy. "If you want your marriage, you need to fight for it .... and get help."

When people feel out of control, they respond differently.

Grief counselor Nancy Frumer Styron discusses how parents often respond differently when they feel out of control and the importance of recognizing and naming these differences: how can we complement and support one another?

You definitely keep me sane.

Parents of a 3-year old with a rare, life-limiting illness talk about how they work together to juggle the daily bits and how their styles complement each other.

It’s the three of us, forever.

Parents of a son with multiple progressive disorders, now age 18, talk about their “functional dysfunction” – the sacrifices they have made as a couple and how the only time they can be alone is if they go out of the house.

You decide where you want to be.

A father of a medically complex son with multiple progressive disorders (now age 18) shares how he has struggled over the years -- his resentment, his anger, his frustration, his inner conflict – and how he eventually came to be at peace with his situation and made his choice … to stick with it.

He always backs me up.

A mom talks about how critical it is that she and her husband agree about decisions related to their daughter’s care.

Elizabeth likes to talk things out. It’s not my first preference.

Parents of a 3-year old with a rare, life-limiting illness talk about how their different processing styles.

You are my Rock.

mother of 16-year old who died from leukemia talks about she and her husband were each other's rock. 'We supported each other from Day One.'

We were lucky to always be on the same page.

Taking time to tend the marriage.

Child illness impacts a marriage in different ways.

It’s important that information get shared.

Isaiah’s illness almost got us divorced.

The division of labor is really important.

It was a big disconnect.

When the couple is divorced.

I wanted Stuart to stand on the cliff with me and he had a different strategy.

Gender is a very difficult piece.

Our son’s strength put us in our place as to what our roles were.

Men and women express emotions differently.

Creating a safe place for each person to express their feelings.

We go see someone. It’s not marriage therapy. It’s life therapy

When people feel out of control, they respond differently.

You definitely keep me sane.

It’s the three of us, forever.

You decide where you want to be.

He always backs me up.

Elizabeth likes to talk things out. It’s not my first preference.

You are my Rock.