Monday, September 6, 2010

Top Ten Survival Strategies for the Aspie's Wife

As an NT in an aspergers marriage, I struggle daily.  The good news is that as I learn more about AS, the struggles are lessened in severity.  But when I began this journey, I had no quick-reference survival strategy to help me focus. 

A year into the journey, I now have a list of the top ten most important things to remember during the difficult times.  This all presupposes an acceptance that aspergers is a reality in your life (and I believe it to be ordained by God to be a part of my marriage).  Here are some practical strategies and vital points to remember, in no particular order.

1.  Don't EVER talk to him while emotional (at least not until you learn how to speak his language).  Take your emotions elsewhere.  (I pray and journal.)

2.  If you want something done quickly, do it yourself.

3.  If you ever need anything, clearly say exactly what you need.  Remember you cannot ask for empathy/understanding or other emotional responses.

4.  If you ever want anything (including gifts), ask for exactly what you want.

5.  If you want verbal praise or compliments, write a list and ask for him to say something from the list.  Ask him to do this on a regular basis.   

6.  Deal with the anger and bitterness in your heart.  Whether you realize it or not, it is there.  You probably have anger toward him and at God. 

7.  Study forgiveness.  Learn what it truly means to forgive and to be forgiven.  Then forgive daily, 500 times per day, if necessary.

8.  Make a list of his strengths.  Be thankful and express appreciation for them.

9.  Read the list of his strengths and remember why you married him.

10.  Show him respect in your tone of voice, in your words to him, and in the way you talk about him to others.  Pray to be able to respect him in your heart.

In the beginning of understanding Aspergers Syndrome and how it affects your marriage, the emotions are simply overwhelming.  It's nearly impossible to think or to act rationally during this time.  I hope these clear-cut steps give you some helpful direction during those "how do I survive" moments.  Keep in mind that as you learn more about AS, and learn how to communicate in aspie language, things will get better.  It can get better than it is right now.  You have to take one day at a time.