The situation (somewhat simplified version) is as follows.
I have heard my wife (ADD) say that she needs me (non-ADD) to say affirming things more often and criticize her less often. I think I am criticizing her less and saying affirming things more. I hear her saying that it is not enough, that she needs me to say affirming things even more often and criticize even less often.
I have told my wife that I would like her to do more "little acts of kindness" without me having to ask. I think she has heard me and I know she sometimes does them. But I still feel like she doesn't do them enough. I need her to do them even more often.
I have also said it really bothers me when she snaps at me or yells at me in response to a statement I make or a question I ask. I think she has heard me and is trying to not to do it as often, but it is not enough. I need her to do it even less.
And it feels to me like we are in a vicious cycle. It's difficult for me to say loving things to her when I don't feel her doing loving things for me or when she snaps and yells at me, and it's difficult for her to not to snap and yell at me or do loving things for me when I am criticizing her and not saying loving things to her.
We both seem to KNOW what the other wants/needs, but we are having difficulty doing enough of what the other needs and letting go of (or focusing less on) what WE want/need.
Also, I often feel like I am doing all the work, and my guess is that she feels that SHE is doing all the work. Which of course, just makes matters worse.
We have just gotten the book "The Five Love Languages" (probably not the correct title) because we KNOW we have different expectations/needs when it comes to expressions of love. And that we both tend to express love more in the way WE need to experience it than in the way the other needs to experience it. But I'm not sure how much it will help because the problem we are having is more in doing what the other needs/wants, not in knowing what theother needs/wants.
We both acknowledge that things are not good between us right now. We both want them to be better. We both believe they can be better. And we are both willing to work on this.
The problem as I see it at this point is that we are both feeling very emotionally "beat up" right now and don't quite know how to "step out" of this vicious cycle we are in and "start fresh."