I am somewhat new to this forum. I do check it every morning. It has saved me and my marriage. I am grateful to have found Melissa's book and site. I would like to give a positive report from the Non ADHD spouse to give possible hope to others. 4 months ago I had no hope and was planning my escape in my new marriage of almost 3 years. I went from depression, severe anxiety, anger and bitterness to content and hopeful in the last 4 months. I read Melissa's book last year. I was still bitter and resentful. My husband then got medicated which we are still fixing. Things got a bit better and I tried to follow Melissa's advice and perspective. My hurt and pride still stood in the way as I couldnt change my end. I still pointed out everything I needed from him, pointed out when he didnt see me or pay attention. I would get upset, cry, withdraw, look at him differently etc. He was aware of the ADHD impact but still thought I should deal. At this point he has PTSD from me as the angry wife and I have zero respect for him. Both my husband and I are Christ followers. We are both recovered alchoholics/addicts. We both know eachother's history and grew up together. We both are on our third marriage with a messy blended family. Our faith has kept us marching forward, however it still didnt feel like enough. I had two choices. I could leave another marriage and find another man with different baggage. I could stay committed because my commitment to God and the institution of marriage is more important than my commitment to my husband. I have always done marriage from a selfish standpoint. I have never loved selflessly. If I am honest, I am upset most of the time because of what I am not getting from him. I am upset that my dream marriage the third time didnt happen. I do however truly like my husband. He drives me nutty but I like him, who he is etc. I had to keep coming back to that and my commitment. I had to let go of my pride and ego and be obedient in love the way God wants me to. This is my experience and what is happening now in my marriage. This may not work for everyone. Here is the shift that happened.
1- I am kind always or try to be. I force it until it happens. I give him a ton of GRACE. I wake up or try to with a soft tone and positive outlook
2- We have leaned in to eachother instead of away. When a symptom appears and I notice it, I pause. For instance a rant he goes on, in the middle of me telling him something. He interrupts me most of the time. Old me would say "Babe, you totally just cut me off. Can you not do that, seriously". New Me- Let him finish then sit for a min. He looks at me. "What?". Me-" I was talking babe. I love you, you interrupted me." Him- "Oh shoot I am sorry, i will work on it, what were you saying?" - The recent shift of me with a gentle response and throwing in an I love you, has made a world of difference. His ego is very very fragile. He takes anything I point out as I dont love him anymore or will stop. My tone and words have changed it entirely. It does require me to give a ton of Grace. I should state that is not my natural personality. I certainly have to train myself to be gentle and gracious only with Gods help
3- I have made two note cards that hang in our bathroom. On his side says "My wife loves and thinks I am".... There are 10 awesome qualities I think of my husband. I asked him if he could tell me 10 things he thinks and loves about me - The same hangs on my side of the mirror in our bathroom. This visual has been huge in our fighting. Most of our fights happen in our bedroom. There have been so many times I have walked past those reminders ready to go into battle and stopped myself.
4- I have fully accepted For Better or For Worse. The reality is I signed up for better or for worse. That includes mental challenges. ADHD brains are brilliant and messy. My brain is high functioning, OCD, PTSD, High Anxiety. He has to deal with my stuff just as much as I have to deal with his. I read in one blog "Only one crazy person at a time please" I put myself on the same playing field as my husband. I share with him my struggles with his symptoms Me- " Can you help me for a second? I am having a hard time with your symptoms. I fell stupid that I have to ask you for intentional time, to see me or desire me. So this is me being vulnerable trying not to flip out and lean in and work together. I need your help because my brain is feeling crazy". He immediately puts his cape on and saves my day. I love watching him reach down to find the ability to be there for me. It has made me see him in a new light. It has also made him see how much more he is really capable of within his mind. It has empowered my husband to feel equal to me and not less than. I have spent two years pointing out his weaknesses. I have to rebuild what I have torn down and this has helped.
5- I daily try and compliment my husband at least three times a day. I try and notice even the smallest thing and compliment it. He is hearing more positive than negative now. When I do this he try's harder than ever to be a good husband to me. The positive reinforcement works
6- GRACE & PATIENCE- Last night was his birthday. He was a mess mentally. I could tell he didnt enjoy it. Him- "I am sorry, I am so uncomfortable right now and stressed out. I dont know whats happening. I dont feel right in my head". Me- "It's ok babe. I love you." Him- "Really?" Me- "Yep really. I love you and your uncomfortable messy brain" The look on his face that I have accepted him and still love him broke my heart I hadnt been doing this sooner. My pride/resentment/unacceptance and selfishness all stood in the way.
Last night ended with him asking to snuggle, him reaching out to me and loving on me like I needed. He asked we didnt talk. I respected that. I am not going to be perfect at this. I feel so much more content now that I am being obedient in loving the way God wants me to. I am also less self focused and in return I feel more loved. I am only month 1 of this working after 2 years of wanting to leave. I see him different. I see how hard he is trying now. The thing is he never tried this hard until I made the shift and rocked the boat. Someone has to give and its ok that its me first.
I hope this gives some hope. I could be reporting something different next month, who knows! In the meantime I am taking Gods advice and utilizing Melissa's steps. My depression has lifted and my family has noticed I am different. They keep waiting for the Nag to come back but so far she is quiet. I hope to keep it that way.
Sending lots of prayers to those struggling.