Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The "Committed" Aspie's Wife

Word of warning to aspies who are reading this . . . . You may want to skip this post.  It is an honest account of a neurotypical's struggle.  It delves into a different perspective--one that is trying to understand and cope with NT/AS reality.  I sincerely hope you do not take offense.  Please realize we NT wives need some "hooks" to hang this new found knowledge on, and sometimes it sounds harsh.  It can help us to be able to compartmentalize, organize, and see order in the midst of the confusing chaos.

Some wives of aspies are 100% committed to the relationship.  Often, these are the wives with strong religious beliefs.  But even though we are committed, we sometimes flail about in utter confusion as to what we are actually dealing with.  We want to understand where we are, because we are NOT in the relationship we always thought we would have.

Times have been rough around here lately for various reasons.  My commitment has begun to make me feel like one 'committed' to an institution.  It has recently felt like I am in a prison of sorts.  A white-collar prison, with many comforts and amenities.  But a prison all the same.

And the aspie of the house is the prison guard.  There is a sense of freedom when the guard is away.  But when he is around, the inmates must show respect.  You must expect nothing from him other than provision of basic needs.  You must not expect understanding or friendship or compassion.  He's the guard.  You follow his rules, keep calm, and make sure all things are in order.  Straighten up.  Show respect.  Yield to authority.  It's prison after all.

But if you are a Christian, you are, like the apostle Paul, a prisoner of the Lord.  You participate in His sufferings.  For a reason.  It's so much easier when you think about it in this light, isn't it?

On the surface, it certainly feels like life is horrible.  It's easy to be full of self-pity.  Woe is me.  The majority tell you to break out, break away, and never look back.

But delving into the spiritual meaning in it all, your sufferings are not in vain.  If you were imprisoned on the mission field, you would see purpose in your jail time.  You would strive to show honor and love toward your enemies, and toward the prison guards.  You would aim to be a witness for good in the midst of the trial.

So remember, if you are a Christian who is committed to the relationship, you are called to serve each day, even when it feels as if you are a prisoner, for the glory of God

"Life isn't all about me" should be the Christian's motto to follow.  And managing to stay in an NT/AS relationship is the perfect chance to work that motto out each and every day.


  1. "it's not about me", is EXACTLY what I wrote in my journal the other night and lately I've been feeling like my home is a prison too. Glad you found some spiritual comfort - I pray that you continue to draw close to God.

  2. Yes, it is hard. We so need God's filling to keep us going. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12)May the Lord fill us with a love so great for our husbands, that we would be a testimony of the power of God. May the joy of the Lord be our strength.

  3. I'm not exactly a religious person. I'm Christian but I don't go to mass because although I believe in God I don't believe in the church. I'm also a strong believer in the idea that God helps those who help themselves.

    I don't agree with the "suffering is good" attitude that comes with Christianity. I don't believe in needless suffering and I feel that people should make an effort to make a difference and improve their lives.

    Why did I write all that? Just so you know where I'm coming from.

    I understand that your beliefs are quite different and are equally valid.

    Please don't take anything I write here as criticism of you because to do the things you do, you are a saint. I'm just trying to express myself as best I can.

    I hate the idea that you are suffering or that you feel that Marriage is a prison. My feeling is that to view it as entrapment is disrespecting the sacrament. I don't like the "D" word either but I now accept that there are some cases where it's the best option.

    I implore you to fight for your marriage. Not all aspies are like your husband, hence you're not simply describing an Aspergers condition. You're describing aspergers plus upbringing (or some other factor - perhaps one that can change).

    It's all very well to make comparisons with St. Paul and be a Martyr for Suffering but really you and your husband need to find a way to make the marriage become the gift that it is.

  4. I am an aspie wife of 19 years,who can identify with your post of sometimes having a deep sadness about my marriage- maybe even identifying with the feel of a "prison". It has been so so difficult at times. I have a strong commitment to my husband and our marriage, our 5 children, believing in the sacrament that it is, believing that God has brought us together and that he gives us His Grace. My feelings don't always follow that well if at all. Suffering is hard to understand-I do believe in the value of suffering but also that some suffering I bring on myself.
    Having said all that I do think God wants us to be united and for our marriage to have joy. I have been driven to deep prayer for my marriage when it seems the most frustrating and impossible and I have seen the Lord work "miracles" with my husband that shouldn't happen according to the textbooks for an aspie marriage. Counseling does help. My husband can change and has. But the bigger miracle is...I can change along with him-for whatever reason the more he needs to change the more I need to change. I have been even more shocked in seeing myself for who I really am and "wow, I never realized how I really sounded, how I was so prideful". I say this not to put myself down but to say what hope there is and Grace. But for me I have to keep striving and not give up, to change what I can in myself and He "will restore what the locust have eaten". I have to model what I want my husband to be (not to mention what we want our children to be)
    Praise God! No one may understand the deep pain in an aspergers marriage but no one equally can understand the miracles the Lord can do to make it a joyful commitment of two very different people.

  5. 19 years! When did you learn about asperger's?

    Thank you for your comment. It encourages me so much.

  6. Hi-I am the one married 19 years. I learned of aspergers 10 years ago coming across the characteristics and was amazed that it described my husband so well, but I actually quickly put it out of my mind thinking that logically he couldn't have this since he functions so well. We have always had difficulty solving the small problems in our marriage and using the "same vocabulary"-we've always had the same values, it's the little every day stuff that have almost swallowed us up. Then gradually I returned to learning more about aspergers and 5 years ago started believing he had it and read many books, especially on marriage and aspergers. I initially thought most of our marriage problems were his fault due to his problems with communiation. He doesn't still own the aspergers diagnosis, and actually it doesn't seem to make sense to him. But the counselors do think he falls on the spectrum and what has helped us is to focus more on who we are rather than what we are if that makes any sense. I have gotten to the place where I don't accuse him anymore that his behavior is hurtful because of what it implies etc. but instead focus on the issue at hand. I also need to give a positive intent to his actions even when I don't see it. I recommend the marriage book
    "A Lasting Promise"-it is not necessarily an aspergers book, but instead both for Christian marriage preparation and for anyone married. It works so well with aspergers because it focuses very practically and concretely on 4 negative relationships traits that "destroy" marriages-they seem to be the main stressors especially in an aspergers marriage.
    God bless

  7. Hi, at G's request I will not post your comment, but I REALLY appreciated reading your perspective as an aspie female married to an NT husband.

    Thank you for sharing with me!

  8. This was so "on" - I have come back several times to read it. The analogy of the aspie as prison guard is perfect! When my husband travels (which isn't often), the kids and I are so relaxed and enjoy things. When he returns and asks, "Did you miss me?" ... what can I say, honestly? I appreciate the bit about suffering, but my problem is that, even if I suffer for years and years with my spouse for God's glory - it doesn't seem to accomplish anything. It's not bringing anyone to Christ. It's not giving my kids a healthy environment in which to grow. Maybe it's accomplishing something cosmic/in a spiritual dimension? That's all I can imagine good coming out of it. I appreciate your blog!

  9. Thank you, Susan.

    The only thing I can really see as benefit is the character development for us and our children that comes from loving difficult people. We (and our kids) will be around difficult people throughout life. If we learn to be respectful, kind, loving, and patient, etc. we will be so much stronger--and people will see Christ shining in us as we emulate His character--which can often only be developed to such a strong extent through fiery trials.

    The book "Be Still, My Soul" edited by Nancy Guthrie has really helped my thinking about suffering and its purpose for good.

    Thank you again for your comment! :)

  10. I wish G would've agreed to allow her post to be publshed. As an Aspie wife married to a NT husband, I would've loved to read her perspective since there doesn't seem to be many of us out there.

    I never want to seem like a prison guard to my husband.

    Sometimes as an Aspie things feel confining to me because I have to keep my emotions in check, I have to try to understand/interpret everything as a NT would, I have to come out of my comfort zone, etc.

    Even so, he makes me very happy. Now I'm sitting here wondering if the feeling is mutual or if he's miserable and I just don't realize it....

  11. Marisa,

    ASK him! Say "Are you happy?"

    Not something my AS hubby would EVER EVER ask. EVER. I even asked once "If someone asked you if your wife was happy, what would you say?" He was totally dumbfounded because he had NEVER thought about it before.

    Even better yet (an NT's dream . . . )ask him to share three things that YOU could do to make him happy/work on your part of the relationship.

  12. Ok, I'll ask him. I'm a bit afraid of what I'll hear, but I'll ask. I'll even do what you recommended and ask him to name those three things. Thanks so much for the encouragement and suggestions!

    I'm sorry your husband wouldn't consider asking that. Honestly, I wouldn't have either before I read this. I just assumed because I'm happy he'd be happy too. But I can see now that this isn't necessarily the case, and I really should check with him to make sure.

    I learn a lot by coming here... seeing things from a NT point of view has helped me quite a bit.

  13. Please let me know how that goes. :)!

    I think I would faint in shock and awe. :)

  14. RE: "The only thing I can really see as benefit is the character development for us and our children that comes from loving difficult people. We (and our kids) will be around difficult people throughout life. If we learn to be respectful, kind, loving, and patient, etc. we will be so much stronger--and people will see Christ shining in us as we emulate His character--which can often only be developed to such a strong extent through fiery trials."

    I'm a Christian wife who is married to a wonderful Christian man who seems to share some AS traits -- brilliant, insightful, intense, along with communication difficulties, time awareness problems, difficulty understanding what others are feeling, etc. He works in the psychological field with AS children (and is fantastic at it, btw), and so has studied AS, and does not feel the diagnosis applies to him, so I'm not sure. In any case, I feel desperate sometimes due to our communication issues over the small relational things that seem so obvious to me, but become long, arduous discussions when I point them out.
    Anyway, aspmom mentioned the benefit to our children of learning to work with difficult people. I think I'm seeing this being played out in the life of my daughter, an 18 year old college student, who is working in a difficult situation in which most of the employees are disgruntled with their sometimes unreasonable supervisor. Although she is only 18, she is showing others how to respect and honor their boss, while at the same time winning the confidence of the boss enough to speak into the situations, giving advice that the boss is heeding. I'm amazed sometimes at her ability to do this, but I suspect it partially stems from her watching me do it at home.
    So...I think you're right. And I suspect a lot will have to do with how we as wives/moms respond to our husbands.
    Thank you so much for your posts. Even though I'm still not sure I'm an "Aspie wife," it sure gives me encouragement that someone out there understands the kinds of things I experience. God bless you all.

  15. Wow! That example of your 18yo daughter gives me so much hope and is so encouraging for my own children (and myself). Thank you very much for sharing that!

  16. ""Life isn't all about me" should be the Christian's motto to follow. And managing to stay in an NT/AS relationship is the perfect chance to work that motto out each and every day."

    "Life isn't all about me" is a great motto for anyone to follow, Christian or not, NT or not! :D

    "Life *is* all about me" is a *terrible* motto to follow.

    In the prison guard example here, the prison guard himself treats other people as though the prison guard himself follows the "Life is all about me" motto, and they treat him as though they follow a motto "Life isn't all about me, life is all about him (and not Him either)." :(