I understand that men and women communicate differently, but I really think it is an entirely different world for an ADD mate and a non-ADD spouse. My husband was diagnosed 2 years ago at his own suspicion of what was *wrong* with him, and his progress is somewhat erratic though he has good intentions. We are actively working on getting him a new coach, we have some things we're working on from the AD/HD conference, and he takes his meds almost like he is supposed to. Not perfect, but decent improvement all in all.
My basic question is how do you help a person who loves spontaniety and everything flowing smoothly to appreciate that discussing deep thoughts and feelings at times (esp when it isn't part of fixing a problem or addressing an issue) is part of keeping a marriage flowing. He seems to think that discussions are necessary to "clear log jams when the river isn't flowing smoothly" but the rest of the time we should let it flow. That sounds to me he thinks you talk mainly to deal with *issues* but not so much because you want to. I need him to understand part keeping everything flowing smoothly is deeper levels of conversation. I love hearing about that hilarious thing he heard on the radio, or what is going on with friends of ours, & we have to discussor how we are dividing up the budget. But those are great for fun and surface only. I want deeper conversation--getting to know eachother and our hopes and dreams better. Sharing things that no one else knows about us. It isn't to solve problems, but to stay in synch for me.
As an exercise from the recent AD/HD conference, Dr Hallowell emailled a marriage workbook to go with his upcoming book Married to Distraction. It basically contains 30 days of 30 minute exercises and last night our exercise was to talk to eachother about our Dream of a Good Marriage for ourselves.
Fortunately our visions match up, and we went on to discuss things what things we should be tweaking. One thing I feel my husband lacks is more of a desire to communicate. He is definitely a better communicator than many men because when I want to talk or when I bring something up he is almost always willing to discuss it, but it is almost NEVER his idea. He doesn't start conversations, or probe into my dreams and psyche. Now to be fair probably part of this is because I am fairly open with these things, but some things I keep to myself unless someone cares to discover it (not deliberately per se but perhaps more of a way to protect some vulnerable parts of me.) It hurts me that while I would love to know everything about him and I frequently ask questions about his childhood and feelings about things, I don't often get this same reaction back.
When discussing why that is we hit some kind of profound areas. I told him that I had been guilty of asking him a question with a certain expectation of the answer for him & that I was hurt somewhat when he would answer with something silly (protective for him) or just surface rather than what I was hoping for. He apologized for the way he does this but mentioned that "it must be so hard for you to not get the answer you want." I admitted that at times it is and that I deal with it by trying not ask things with an agenda anymore. He said "that is so sad for you. I hate that I am doing that" I don't want him to feel he's failing. I shouldn't ask things with a hope of what I'll hear, but I do want him to think a little deeper at times or just express what he already feels. I do know that he feels what I want...he is a very loving husband, but one of my primary love languages is communication where he is not so much.
How do you help him see that this is basic marriage participation for women & that is doesn't indicate issues that you want to talk and hear about feelings. Because he thinks so many things should be automatic and not require extra effort (including prioritizing and scheduling and budgetting--all of which totally needs effort rather than spontaniety), it hinders his ability to get where he wants to go.