05/17/2013 11:45 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Beating the Odds of Divorce When Your Child Has Special Needs

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John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 5 - How to Remain Together
It's often said that parents of children with special needs divorce at a higher rate than the general population. (See our first post in this series.) This often scares parents when they find out about it and some of them feel like they are doomed.

So, I asked John Gray: What do you think are the causes and what suggestions can you give to these parents?

Here is John's answer:

As we explored before, there's a higher risk of divorce when you have special needs children. However, it's important to recognize that it is not true for everybody.

One suggestion to keep your marriage together is to realize what goes wrong in relationships that fail. We often don't know.

Why does it happen? Two people who love each other come together and are committed, have a child, create a family and suddenly, they are divorcing.

A big part of this is that children who have special needs require much more attention. Parents focus so much on the child, they forget that it was the two of them who first came together.

Everyone is extremely busy and when there is a child with special needs, the demands on your time become really great. Time for the relationship and time for yourself are the first to go. However, this can change if you realize the true importance and great benefit that you and your relationship will get from carving out such time on a regular basis.

It is important to create that connection with your partner, to make time for yourselves and your relationship. Just as your child has special needs, so does your relationship. To keep your relationship together, you can't forget that. You need to create time for that.

You also need to have time for yourselves. Both men and women need time for themselves, time to be with the children, and time to be together without the children. If you can space out the timing in this way, your chance at having a thriving marriage will be much greater.

And while you do this, it is important to remember, as we mentioned in one of our previous posts, that when something goes wrong, our initial inclination is to find someone to blame. Oftentimes, that someone is ourself or our partner.

From my experience with thousands of children with special needs and their loving parents, I've seen that many times, there is really no one to blame. Life happens. And, even if there is someone to blame, such as with a medical mistake, blaming oneself only leads to guilt and suffering, which makes it much harder to keep generating a loving relationship.

WATCH: How to Remain Together

Tip #5 From John Gray

For the next few weeks, try scheduling some time for yourselves and some time with each other, with and without your children. We'd love to hear what happens!

Watch for our next video blog Tip #6 With John Gray: Providing the Best Context for Growth

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