It is a well-known fact that as many, if not more, couples end up divorced than married until death. There are a multitude of reasons for this, from abusive relationships, to infidelity, to the everyday pressures of life. Marriage is hard. Throw in a few kids and it gets even tougher to keep the relationship going. There's less free time, there's less money, there's more stress. Now add in a child that has a medical condition.

The divorce rates among couples with a special needs child is higher — up to 80% according to the documentary Autism Every Day. No matter how great your love for each other and for your child, raising a child with a special health need takes more work than anyone signed up for.

There are doctors and specialists, medications and medical equipment. Hospital stays keep you away from work and your spouse, and the sheer worry about your child's safety, health and future keeps you up at night. The normal parenting squabbles can become about life and death in a heartbeat. Marriages wilt like unwatered houseplants, but that doesn't have to signal the end. If you are the parent of a child with special need and the odds seem to be against your marriage, here are some ways to fight back.

Schedule Time for Yourself

Everyone needs downtime, but unless you make a point of actually scheduling it like you do all of those doctor's appointments, it won't happen. Mark the calendar, either once a day, once a week, or even once a month for at least 15 minutes to yourself. If you have to get up at 5 a.m. to make it happen, do it. A peaceful 15 minutes with your cup of coffee over the newspaper or morning television chat can do wonders for your stress level.

Schedule Time for Each Other

Marriages need to be cared for. Life-long love doesn't just happen. It's a process. Giving each other 10 minutes each night to talk about the day and how each are feeling will make your spouse feel loved and cared about. When everyone else's needs come first, it weighs on a person until they can no longer stand. Make sure you talk to your spouse about his or her wants and needs and do everything you can to take care of them. Sometimes the smallest gestures make the biggest impact.

Check Into Respite Care

Many state programs offer care for your children so you and your spouse can take a night off. The Children with Special Health Needs program is one example. They pay for the level of child care you need, so even if you think you can't afford to take time off from your family, it may be possible. Go enjoy a movie with your spouse, even if it's a rented DVD played on your laptop in the back of your minivan.

Make Decisions as a Team

If you are both on board with a plan of action, neither of you can be blamed if it fails. Don't make any major decision without consulting with each other and don't agree to something you really aren't comfortable with. "I told you so" may feel good in the moment, but it only leads your marriage in the wrong direction.

Seek Help

Sometimes it takes more than two to make a marriage work. Marriage counseling helps. I speak from experience. After our daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, our marriage took a nose dive straight into the deep end. I was convinced it would end. Then, my husband agreed to go to counseling. It took a year, but we are in a better place now. We have our moments, but there's more respect and understanding of each other's needs, stress triggers, and emotions surrounding our daughter's health.

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