Imagine if your spouse told you ‘We will have to put focusing on our marriage on the back-burner until the kids are out of the house. It’s too overwhelming.’
Chances are that wouldn’t go over well.
It sure didn’t score my husband any points when he blurted it out 5-6 years into our marriage. I mean, who says that?
Someone with ADHD.
Someone who is struggling to stay afloat with daily tasks (work, kids, bills). For my husband, anything outside of doing what was absolute necessary was out of reach.
Individuals with ADHD are lovable and capable of returning emotions, but often those emotions get kicked to the curb because it’s one more effort to make in the whirlwind of life. For my husband and I, it didn’t start out that way.
Of course, my husband never meant to not nurture our relationship, but other life responsibilities seemed more pressing: Raising our two boys and meeting deadlines at work when you’re swimming in paperwork, were at the top of his to-do list, putting his brain on overdrive. Any free time he had was spent sleeping, trying to catch up on the draining day. Here and there, he would make occasional efforts and I would think things were returning to normal, but it never stuck. It was always as if he felt we would focus on us ‘later.’
The problem is, later can be a long time.
Aside from very little attention, my husband would also have reactions that seemed over the top, certainly not matching the situation or moment that sparked his outbursts. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, especially since I was often the sounding board. His emotions often seemed fueled by anxiety, and I found myself playing Dodge ’em between he and the kids, in an effort to diffuse his outbursts.
As a result, he would accuse me of stepping on his toes and undermining his role as their Dad.
It felt like a giant game of checkers. It was one step forward, three steps back, but never getting to say king me. I would attempt to have a reasonable discussion about a minor incident, and found myself in the middle of a 3-hour conversation at 1 am because he couldn’t move on and close the door.
It was like his brain got stuck. No reasoning, just irrational thoughts.
Throwing fuel on the fire, my husband was struggling with sleeping through the night, struggling to get out of bed, struggling to remain focused at work, struggled with deadlines.
Home projects went unfinished, and I knew this isn’t the person I married. He was a funny, thoughtful man who loved his family. He would always apologize, but after so many, I quickly learned it was a sorry until the next time.
I had nearly given up hope.
Someone suggested maybe, possibly?…we were dealing with the same thing as our children: ADHD. Didn’t seem too outlandish, and sort of smacked me in the face.
Why hadn’t I thought of it sooner?
So there we sat at the doctor’s office, and by now, you know how that ended. Read about the warning signs in our marriage that led to a diagnosis HERE.
More importantly, it was a new start for us, a new life. We soon met with a life coach, and learned how to start chipping away at bad habits and being impulsive. My husband learned how to break down overwhelming tasks into micro-jobs that are doable. I began to replace resentment with knowledge of how much my husband had struggled over the years. Tiny assignments we were given brought us closer together, despite my doubts considering we had bottomed out.
Even my husband admitted that the suggested assignments weren’t difficult or out of his comfort zone.
Yet, they taught us how being mindful was missing in our relationship.
I knew other couples had to be experiencing the same thing. I also knew the divorce rate when ADHD is involved is high, and I wanted to help other couples by sharing our success.
This is possible, folks. If we can do it, you can, too!
I am creating a course for you and your spouse to learn exactly what we learned (and save the co-pay!) and put it in to action! ADHD Marriage Makeover in 90 Days! is for any couple struggling to get on the same page due to ADHD.