Every romantic novel stereotypically starts off with the phrase, “I was young and naive in the ways of love… but that was about to change.”
I was 21 years old when I met my wife, Brittny. When we met, she literally was my saving grace because she saved me from previous years of heart break and emotional turmoil. I’m not going to get into it all, just take my word for it when I say that Brittny mended my broken heart and became my princess in a shining tiara (as opposed to prince in shining armor).
The day we met…. whoo, I can tell you, it was one of those scenarios where birds literally appeared behind her singing of her graces while the shine beamed and illuminated her petite figure from all curves as if God was presenting her to me through his divination.
When you fall head over heels for someone… and someone as near to perfect as Brittny, you neglect the little things that tend to urk you from time-to-time. In fact, at first little bad habits seem kinda cute… Unfortunately, there comes a time where those cute little quirks become as loud as screaming banshees; and it just gets that much harder to ignore…
Accepting Your Spouse Has ADD or ADHD
My wife Brittny was upfront about herself when we were courting – she downright told me she had ADD and has dealt with it since she was a child. At the time though , I gotta admit, my mouth was still agape on the floor and my responses were the simple one-worded “uh-huh” as my head hung in shock that a woman this beautiful would want anything to do with me… These days, I’ve learned to pay more attention 😉
Not that I would do anything different. Brittny is a stunning woman both inside and out and I would marry her just the same… however, I do admit I failed to take that in and worked myself towards learning more about ADD, how it works and how to accept it in my marriage.
At first, I denied her ever having it because outside of her difficulty to paying attention, she functions 100% like any other normal human being. She’s bright, she’s witty, she’s funny and gosh dang, she’s pretty! I can stare at that smile and hear that laugh till it makes my heart flip in circles!
Over time though, my denial of her condition brought on various arguments… and some were quite severe. We’ve gone months without being intimate; days with barely speaking; and every exchange was a blow-for-blow argument.
I just couldn’t get how this mature woman was unable to carry basic routine tasks…
The Things That Drove Me MAD Which Turns Out To Be ADD or ADHD Symptoms
The things that drove me mad were:
- I’d spend hours cleaning the house, go to work, and within only a few hours, EVERY room in the entire house has at least one or two piles of random stuff. Messes..everywhere!
- I’d ask her to do something, she nods and assures she understands… but when it comes time to carry out my request she fails to budge and blames it on something else.
- Every time I addressed something with her, her voice and body language all exuded the mannerisms of a teenager being scolded by her father when in reality, I’m trying to communicate so we can work out a plan that would help both of us with understanding
- She gets mad at ME when she does something wrong and I address it (even when I purposefully whisper it so she doesn’t mistake my tone for anger), then storms off or screams
I used to think the woman just lacked any sort of respect for me, as if anything I said fell on deaf’s ears. Truth is, that’s one of the biggest problems people with ADD or ADHD have. On the surface it may look as though they don’t take your feelings into consideration because you could ask, ask and ask them to do certain things… to the point of begging, and they wind up letting you down. While it may look that way, they honestly do care and try their best to carry out your wishes… but oftentimes the will fall short because that’s just one of the symptoms they battle on a day-to-day basis.
I have gone so far as load time and task management apps on my wife’s phone, set up ALL her appointments, tasks, etc, and texted her reminders during the day… but when I come home, on a good day, she’ll have one out of ten items taken care of.
It’s easy to get mad and lose hope; and it’s a natural response…however, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s no fun for the person with the ADD / ADHD either. Imagine waking up with an agenda wanting to feel accomplished for the day but something derails you so easily and before you can bat an eye – the day is over!
That’s how it is for them… and it’s as frustrating for them as it is for you. So getting mad at your spouse is not fair. It’s not their fault.
Let’s Put It All In Perspective…
Okay, so let’s get a proper understanding here of what’s really going on with an ADD / ADHD spouse:
- They do try their best (keyword being THEIR best)
- They do care about you feel and what you say doesn’t fall on deaf’s ears
- Despite this, they have a high tendency to fail at carrying out tasks, even simple ones
- Time constantly gets lost to them when they become distracted
- They get as frustrated about their condition as you do
- DON’T take it out on them… It’s not fair and it’s not their fault
So if you have a spouse that has ADD or ADHD, how do we deal with it in order to maintain a happy and healthy marriage?
TIPS On How To Deal With A Spouse With ADD / ADHD
I’ll tell you this that it’s not easy and took many years to build coping skills which I’ll admit, I still need a lot of work with to not get mad or frustrated; but it’s so worth it because both my wife and I are madly in love with each other and when I vowed to love her for better or for worse, I meant it.
Here are some of those coping skills that you can use if you’re facing a similar situation:
TIP #1: Have Your Private Time
My wife is a pretty ironic woman. When I come home and go to the bathroom, she used to barge in to do her hair or something. Now, it’s cute if it happened only once but this used to happen EVERY-SINGLE-TIME. As a result, I lock the door whenever I go to the bathroom. What she does now is camp around the bathroom when I’m using it… If I’m in my home office, same thing – she’ll suddenly be near me or in my office.
Nothing really wrong with that and I’m not sure if it’s even an ADD thing, but it can get irritating when you have an agenda like me using my office to do some work but she keeps coming in to distract you.
With all that said, it’s important to have your private time. Discuss with your spouse and have a game plan that when you’re home, to give you a segment of time that you can use just to be in your own personal space where you can meditate and be comfortable in your own environment.
I say this because people with ADD / ADHD can sometimes have an aura of drama or confusion and that can rub off on you… It does to me all the time. As a result, I’ve learned to have and enjoy my private time where I can just feel comfortable with myself and get some relief.
Your private time can be just an hour in the bathroom or an hour in your home office… or even an hour playing video games… Whatever you like.
TIP #2: Plan For Two
I start each day expecting to do work for two… I ask my wife to carry on certain tasks throughout the day, most of which she won’t complete; but I use what work she does manage to do to help cut my work down – if only by a little. I understand that when I leave the house for the day, those dishes will probably still be dirty in the sink and my daughter’s toys will most likely still be scattered along the floor. However, if she can just manage even a little effort… Cleaning one dish as opposed to all of them for example, I know that I have one less dish to wash when I get home.
So prepare yourself each day with the understanding that you WILL work for two, and when you carry that expectation you’ll find you won’t get frustrated as much.
TIP #3: Take Out Your Frustrations With Compliments
If it helps to take the edge off, bombard your spouse with compliments! Instead of saying, “You stinkin’ punker-butt!!!” try, “You beautiful little hottie, you!!!”
No, really compliment them. In a study for ADD / ADHD, people with this condition respond much better to positive feedback as opposed to negative ones. Now I understand that at times, you just want to release that pent up frustration… But I’m telling you, it won’t do either of you any good. You’ll just feel stuck in a cycle, going around and around and getting nowhere.
When you compliment them, love on them, show appreciation and compassion to them; their ADD / ADHD symptoms eases up a little and you’ll find they tend to be more responsive.
Give it a try.
I will say, this isn’t a permanent fix, so don’t expect it to be.
You Can Have A Happy Marriage With An ADD / ADHD Spouse
It obviously requires more work than you were maybe expecting, and at times it may be physically draining, but if you prepare your mind to understand that these limitations are not your spouse’s fault, you can work towards a plan that will ease the amount of frustration you may experience and cultivate a much happier marriage.
Coz like I said before, outside this one problem, my wife is 100% drop dead gorgeous and still the girl of my dreams!