Do you remember the newlywed stage when you thought of your beloved’s reaction to even your little decisions? I do. When we first married I took care to apply makeup and wear pretty things just to please my husband. Now I pull random garments from the laundry basket (usually in the dark) and hope they are mine. I often struggle to find things that match—as evidenced this morning when my six-year-old informed me I needed to change my clothes because, “That shirt doesn’t match those pants very well.” And in the next breath she said, “Why don’t you ever wear dresses?”

Because I don’t want people to see my underwear when I have to chase your sister, that’s why. I don’t match because my eyes are puffy from sleep deprivation, and if I get dressed in the dark, I don’t have to see myself in the mirror. Some days I sit in my car during my three hour carpooling tour and wonder how things changed so quickly. How did I go from newlywed bliss to “where-are-some-matching-socks?” lady?

Having a special needs child pushes romance even further aside. How can you feel romantic when your house smells like wet dog and dirty socks and your feet are covered with bruises from stepping on the Little People convention taking place in the hallway?

Frustrated, I turned to the Song of Solomon (SOS)*. Everyday last week I sat down and read it, sometimes more than once a day. What did I learn? For one, autism is the angry, snorting ox—not fox—in my vineyard. I get so tired from the day’s endless and futile tasks (cleaning, laundry, driving for hours, chasing the dog from the sink, meals with picky eaters and huge dietary restrictions, cleaning up water splashed out of the tub …). By the end of the day I’m irritable. When my husband doesn’t read my mind or meet some unspoken desire of mine, I’m angry. Not a great way to climb in bed.

So I studied the “beloved” from the SOS. Despite the foxes in her vineyard (and lest we forget, her “vineyard” included being part of a very large harem—not my idea of nice), she pursued her husband. She even searched for him then offered herself freely to him when she found him. In return he heaps praises on her, and she responds with joy. I thought, “Well, if she can do it, I should give it a try.” I’m thankful God included that book in the Bible. The foxes and oxes in my vineyard haven’t left, but through God’s mercy, I’m learning to deal with them (or at least ignore them for a little while).

*For more encouragement, order Tommy Nelson’s (from Denton Bible Church, Denton TX) teaching on the Song of Solomon series. Also plan to attend the next Weekend to Remember marriage conference in your area. See also the Romance & Sex page on FamilyLife.com.