How often throughout the year do you hear or read about the "rise in divorce rates"? The percentage rates are always in the high double digits. One study will show 50% while another 60%. Add in the "special needs" or a child with a "diagnosis" and it's now somehow at 80%. It's quite depressing. I myself have never been married, and am happily single so I cannot really speak on this subject. As a result, I enlisted the help of someone who could. Meet Lauren Jordan. Lauren lives in Vermont with her "Dreamboat" husband, Sean Jordan, and her 2 amazing sons, Peter and TJ. TJ just happens to have been diagnosed with autism. Lauren writes an amazingly candid blog entitled I Don't Have A Job. When I started reading Lauren's blog, I knew I wanted to meet her, and not just because she is a collector of shoes like me. If you read some of her posts, you'll know why. As Chase 'N Yur Face is about focusing on what's right in the world, I asked Lauren if she would do the honors of sharing with us a little about her great relationship with her husband, and how autism only brought them closer together as husband and wife, and as a family. Thank you Lauren for taking the time to share and inspire us. - Mary Bailey
I have a 14 year old with autism. Truth be told, I handle it pretty well, bumps and all.
Want to know my secret?
His name is Sean. That’s my husband.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a husband like mine. We’re talking high caliber - great sense of humor, hugely supportive, great gift-giver, and cute to boot.
I call him “Dreamboat”.
When we were first together, he sent me flowers at work. Every month. Women loved him, men hated him. He set the bar high, and my male co-workers always said to me “Don’t tell my wife about Sean’s flowers! The pressure is on!”
He’s smart, too. When we were first dating, he quickly learned that my sister is the most important person in the world to me (well, Sean quickly took that title, but you know, we are talking way way back). He knew that if he and I were to have any kind of future, he had to be Susan approved.
Not a problem, obviously. He won her over right away. Susan approved.
As things got more serious between us, we saw that we communicated very differently through tough times.
Not a problem for me and Dreamboat. We saw a therapist together, addressed our issues, and applied what we learned about each other into our everyday lives.
We decided to get married. We learned pretty quickly that wedding planning is a great test to see how you, as a couple, get through stressful times. There are a lot of people you have to please during wedding planning - could we make it through unscathed???
We could, and we did. Together.
All this was just a warm up, you know. The tough stuff was still yet to come.
First we got the jobs, then the house, then the dog. Your basic all American type stuff. Then the kids arrived. First one boy, then 17 months later, another boy.
We even had a white picket fence. I’m not joking.
None of this mattered, though, when our first born, TJ, was diagnosed with autism at age 2 years 3 months.
We were gobsmacked. Our entire world just got turned upside down.
How were we going to make it through this? The answer was quick, and clear.
Together. We would make it through together.
When I was exhausted from the sudden and constant therapies that were now a part of our everyday life, I leaned on Sean. And he held me up.
And when Sean was overwhelmed with sadness about our little boy’s struggles, he leaned on me. I held him up. Even though he’s really tall.
It was never discussed - it just happened. We were each other’s strength. Always have been, why stop now?
Fast forward almost 13 years. TJ is almost 15 now. He is in a regular class at the high school, with some one-on-one help. And his brother is a thriving 7th grader - social, happy, and very busy. They are best friends, our boys. They are the best thing we ever did for the other.
Sean and I are best friends too. We still laugh every day. We share silly jokes and stories. We have almost 19 years of marriage under our belts and can’t wait to see what the next 19 have to bring to us.
And it’s all because we decided a long time ago, that no matter what life throws at us, we will face it, strong and united.