ACCEPTANCE is what it all comes down to, isn't it? That's what they say. That's what they've always said. "Just accept me." But we desire something different. Desperately longing for emotional connection, we read every book ever written on the differences between men and women. Trying every trick, applying every formula, nothing ever truly gives us the desired result.
We expect more. We expect 'typical', 'normal', 'neurotypical'. No matter how many books on autism we read, we can NOT drop our expectations.
And so we suffer. Deep, depressing suffering engulfs us.
He has limitations. Serious, brain-wired, emotional limitations. He cannot be what we want. He cannot. Which means it is unkind and unloving of us to expect more of him than he can ever give. We must accept his limitations.
The Mantra of the Aspie Spouse should be
"Drop the Expectations and Accept his Limitations."
If only it were that easy.
If you are the christian spouse of a man or woman who has autism or aspergers syndrome, this sermon may encourage you, help you, and hit very close to home. It has nothing to do with asperger's syndrome. And it has everything to do with asperger's syndrome. You'll see what I mean:
Living with and communication with someone who has Asperger's Syndrome requires superhuman strength.
You must give up expectations for
3. your well-being, thoughts, and desires to be be taken into consideration.
You must have the ability to be independent and to
1. take care of yourself (health, and rest)
2. seek happiness apart from them
You must find ways to
1. seek joy and relax
2. find beauty in life
3. make yourself look beautiful
4. cultivate friendships
5. have emotional support apart from them (counseling may be necessary)
It requires carefully balancing respectfully not caring what they think of you. Because you will receive little to no appreciation or approval no matter how hard you try. So STOP trying!
Christians must live for the approval of God alone. Must learn to forgive as God, through Christ, forgives you. Replace pride with humility, realizing you are a sinner, too, and no better (in God's eyes) than they are.
You must let go of:
1. Guilt - when you are unable to think, act, or work as if you are a robot.
2. Hope - that the person will change. They are disabled, which is a normal part of a fallen world.
3. Desire - for things to be different.
The only thing that can change or be different is you and your response to them. And that requires the Holy Spirit's gifts of self-control and faithfulness. Super-human strength. Impossible. Yet possible through Christ, and through Him alone.
Just have to pop in and share this helpful resource for Christian spouses who are married to someone with Aspergers Syndrome. The book is Family Vocation: God's Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood by Gene Edward Veith jr. and Mary J. Moerbe. Also available with Kindle app.
I've only read some of the chapter on marriage and it's got some powerful points. Some very strong emphasis on authority and submission (maybe a little too strong even for me, ahem), but some helpful meat for aspie spouses to chew on as well.
Here's a morsel from page 99 of 233:
"Spouses should also realize that in this fallen world, not all problems can be solved. A cross cannot be made to disappear by applying some simple formula or technique. A cross has to be borne. Distinguishing between problems and crosses can be very helpful, practically speaking. A problem, such as a disagreement, may indeed have a solution. But something like grief or a disability or an intransigent characteristic of one's spouse cannot be "fixed" but only borne."
But wait, there's more. :) You're not left with 'grin and bear it' or even just 'hang in there' but rather with encouragement about forgiveness, the importance of not suffering alone but rather reaching out to other Christians to help you, the fact that we are all sinners, etc.
So what is Aspergers, huh? A problem to be solved? Hmmm... the communication troubles are problems that can (sometimes) be worked through. But the "intransigent characteristic of one's spouse"? Well, that . . . aspergers . . . must be borne.
Keep chewing and chewing so you can break it up until able to swallow.
These years of blogging through my Asperger's Journey have been very, very helpful for me. I understand some of my children, my spouse, and some other family members so much better now. And I am so thankful to God for giving wisdom. And thankful for all of you who commented and shared your insights and encouragement!
I do believe you can have a relationship with an aspie. I do believe you can learn good ways to communicate with an aspie. I do know it is very hard work. I also know it can be extremely rewarding.
The Jan Silvious "Foolproofing Your Life" book really threw a wrench in things for me. Because while I believe one can successfully communicate with an aspie, I do not believe one can communicate well with a fool. And I believe I am dealing with an aspie . . . who is also a fool.
One who is consistently acting foolishly, at least. And I believe God can change him. And as far as the marriage goes, I'm not going anywhere . . . not physically anyway. But my expectations for "Good Aspergers Relationship" are now erased and replaced with "Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly." You see, I've been foolish myself for too long. But I am emotionally distanced now. I've moved from trying to hiding. Communicating with the polite kindness one would show to a stranger.
And the crazy thing is . . . I am so much more content. Peaceful. More rested.
I think my blog is now complete. (Blog2Print dot com has a 15% off sale code simplysave15 and I plan to print a copy keepsake blog book and cease posting here. Anyone is welcome to print any parts of this blog. I have no copyright.)
I encourage you to keep learning about Asperger's Syndrome, and to keep loving your aspies. They are not all fools. (And God can make the foolish wise!) I will always keep praying.