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Getting Through The Tough Times

Dear Sugar
I feel like my marriage is spiraling out of control and I don't know what to do to save it. I love my husband dearly; we have two beautiful children together, but we have been fighting so much lately. I mean we have been having these huge screaming, yelling, break up battles.

We've both been under a tremendous amount of stress. Our oldest child has been very ill involving surgeries and long hospital stays. I am aware that we are not doing a good job communicating with each other during these hard times and I feel like we need outside help. Although my husband and I make a decent living, we are still struggling to make ends meet and can't afford marriage counseling at this time.

I love my husband very much and don't want to end up divorced. I feel like I have no one to talk to. My two best friends are not married, don't have kids, and I don't see them very much. I feel like I am falling apart. Do you have any advise to help us get through this rough patch? Please help. Marriage Meltdown Meghan

To read DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Marriage Meltdown Meghan
I am so sorry to hear about your son. I wish him a fast and healthy recovery. I think it's wonderful that you've been able to identify the problem; you and your husband are definitely not communicating. This is a critical time in your family. I know it's difficult, but try to take a step back when you are angry, take a few deep breaths and count to ten.

You need to support each other. Also, please try your hardest not to fight, especially in front of your children as this is a trying time for them as well. Something I've learned that might help you (although it does kind of feel silly) is when you are angry instead of yelling, say "I love you." You do love each other, you are both just frustrated. Maybe it will help you to calm down and at least argue a little bit more rationally.

Acknowledging there is a disconnect is the first step. Since counseling can be very expensive, I would suggest trying to open the lines of communication at home and really listen to each other. You're both under a lot of pressure and need each other for support. If you feel you still need outside help, there are online counseling services and couples therapy hotlines that are available free of charge.

Do you have any family members you can talk to about this? I also suggest reaching out to your friends. Just because they are not married with kids doesn't mean they are not there to support you and to lend a listening ear. Hang in there! You have a strong and apparent dedication to making your marriage work. Hopefully love with conquer all.

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Casimira Casimira 10 years
Hi Meghan, I have been in your situation but I was one of the kids. My sister had several heart surgeries when she was little and the stress was too much for my parents. One thing I would suggest would be to talk to someone at the hospital especially if your child is being treated at a children's specialty facility. When my mom had her bypass surgery last year she had a patient advocate that had access to all sorts of resources during her recovery including a counselor to help her sort out her emotions while she was recovering. If there is someone on staff at the hospital they will have a lot of experience dealing with these situations and it should hopefully be a service or on a sliding scale. Best wishes and lots of love to your entire family as you work through this. We will all be rooting for you!
Holly-Golightly Holly-Golightly 10 years
If you belong to a church or synagogue they might offer free marriage counseling or a support group. Are your parents around to support you? Can you talk to them about your marriage troubles or ask for help caring for your son? My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
Meghan, I'm pulling for you, sweetie. And, I hope your child gets better soon. :) DearSugar and kathrynliz offered very good advice. This helps me sometimes, keep counting past ten, when you get to 100 start over again. I know it is not the best advice but, it has helped me in my 15 1/2 relationship/marriage. Also, use the words like "team" and "were on the same side". Those help me too. I hope things get better soon for you and your hubby. :)
kathrynliz kathrynliz 10 years
Lots of employers also have these services offered through a counseling line or something similar, not necessarily with the main health benefits. In my experience, these programs are not always well publicized, though. Rather than breezing into your HR office to find out, maybe you can check your company's intranet (if you have one) or ask a coworker that you trust. I know that if any one of my employees approached me looking for this information, I would secure it for that person and honor their confidentiality. Maybe this could be an affordable alternative to paying for counseling out of pocket. Best of luck to you moving forward.
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