Saturday, February 26, 2011

Attitude and Actions

A cheerful attitude and kind actions are likely all an aspie wants from his spouse.  Gavin's excellent keywords for understanding aspies and affection are found in his Valentine's post at the Life With Aspergers blog: "Smiles and Hugs." Simple, and oh, so true.  He just wants smiles and hugs! 

Sadly, what aspie males probably don't comprehend is what is required of him to elicit those things from her.  And so the two most important things to him are probably the very last things he tends to get.

For all of this to really work a few steps must be taken. 
1.  First, the NT wife absolutely must give up the hope and expectation that her aspie spouse is or ever will be deeply interested in her innermost thoughts or feelings.  He doesn't have any interest in (or ability to be) 'connecting' with what makes her who she is spiritually and emotionally at the core of her being.  Such a bitter pill to swallow.  But to heal the marriage, it must be swallowed!  And that pill must be swallowed every time the cancerous bitterness creeps back into her heart.  She might lose some hair (from pulling it out in frustration!) while taking this treatment pill, but keep in mind any negative side effects will be worth suffering, to reach the healing outcome ahead.

2.  Next, she must clearly communicate to him that she is deeply *unhappy and needs him to do X, Y, and Z to help make her happy.  X, Y, and Z must be tangible, practical, things/actions that can be carried out by someone with asperger's syndrome.

*(Sometimes 'unhappiness' is not understood by the aspie when explained in words, but may only be understood by some degree of absence of warm attitude and actions.  This is a tough one to grapple with as a Christian, and will be the subject of another post.)

3.  The Aspie must make X, Y, and Z a top priority of things he must do regularly in his life.  This means it comes before paying the bills, before brushing his teeth, before whatever his 'special interest' is.  Before anything that gets the first/most of his time or money should come X, Y, and Z that show his wife he loves her in the ways she wants to be shown.  And so he must swallow his own bitter pill -- one he believes to be a placebo because X, Y, and Z make no sense to his brain and he truly doesn't believe it will make any difference whatsoever in the NT's attitude or actions.

But I can tell you that it will make a difference.  Her attitude and actions will change for the better.  Magically, somehow, without your being able to understand it, those inner workings of the heart will cause outer workings of cheerful attitudes and actions.  Smiles and hugs will reappear.  If, and likely only if, you get to work on her 'Honey Do You Love Me' list of X, Y, Z.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sticky Note Reminders for the Christian NT Wife

When the hard times hit, and the INSANITY you feel in your NT/AS marriage begins to take over . . .

It helps to hear over and over, again and again, the little reminders that bring back some semblance of sane.

1.  This is neurological wiring of the brain.

2.  You must drop your "NT" expectations! The surest way to avoid disappointment is not to expect anything from others.

3.   This is a very difficult trial to live with.

4.  This lonely trial can and should draw you closer to Christ, depending on Him as your very closest friend.

5.  This fiery trial is ordained by God for your good, to sanctify you (which is just a theological word for make you more like Christ).

And most importantly, remember to "above all, fervently love one another."  1 Peter 1:22

NT/AS Christian Counseling

Members of the leadership of our church recently attempted an intial (and brief) counseling session with my husband and me.  As he does not acknowledge that he may have Asperger's Syndrome, I did not mention it during that meeting.  Autism or any reference to "autistic traits" did not enter the conversation.

And it seemed very unfair to me.  For his sake!

He was gently censured and told that it is his responsibility to emotionally connect with his wife.  As much as the angry, bitter part of me wanted to stick out my tongue and say "NahNahIToldYouSo!"  I didn't do that.  :)  I felt sorry for him.  But what's a gal to do, huh?  He gets angry if the "A" word is used at all in reference to himself.  He would be livid if I "accused" him of being autistic in front of anyone else.

Aspies, please don't take this harshly, I'm fighting for him on this one . . . but those counselors may as well have told a blind man to parallel park between two brick walls without getting a single scratch on the car!  They are demanding something of him he is not capable of doing, aren't they?!  They are making him feel like a failure, and feel guilty for something he cannot help, right?

Obviously,  I can see he's bringing this on himself by his total denial of Asperger's.  That part is his fault and I am at a loss as to how to help him.  Many folks talk about the failure of counseling NT/AS couples when autism  is not brought into the equation.  Now I can see for myself that it truly doesn't work.

It may even make things worse.