How to Protect Your Marriage while raising an LGBTQ child

Did you know that children can be a marriage killer?

According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Here Comes the Baby, There Goes the Marriage” approximately two-thirds of couples see the quality of their relationship plummet within three years of the birth of a child. Within five years after the birth of a first child, over 40 percent percent of couples will go their separate way

These numbers do not surprise me because parenting is the hardest job in the world. Parenting an LGBTQ child comes with even more unique challenges. You are giving a lot of your energy to your child and that doesn’t leave a lot left over for your marriage.

This is a common pattern that I have seen with my LGBTQ parent clients. They are so focused on helping their LGBTQ child that the by-product can be a marriage that starts to suffer.

So what can do you do to protect your marriage?

Our experience

When my son was first having emotional issues and then later came out as gay, the one emotion that I remember feeling was exhaustion.

Our family was experiencing so many overwhelming emotions. Everyday there was a new dynamic or situation that needed urgent discussion with my husband. It felt like my husband’s and I interactions focused 100% around my son and everything felt hard.

At the time, I thought we were just doing what was necessary to cope and survive and I didn’t see another way to handle it. This led to a constant feeling of heaviness in our relationship that actually made this time with my son harder to deal with.

I knew we needed to take a step back and figure out how to lighten the load and to start protecting our marriage. I started to examine our patterns and how we could do it better.

What I found was when I become more intentional in protecting our marriage that it actually created a stronger place of strength to help my son with his challenges.

Focus on Strengths not Weaknesses

Parenting is a team sport not an individual sport. It’s not a competition with who is the better parent.

There are some situations that John just has better skills in handling. I love that he is so calm in a crisis and I know that he loves that I am good at deescalating an argument.

You both don’t have to be good at everything. In fact, having different strengths actually makes you a more powerful parenting team.