“When you talk you are only repeating what you already know. But when you listen you might learn something new.” - attributed alternately to the Dalai Lama, author J.P. McEvoy, and Jared Sparks, President of Harvard (1849-53)
Are You a ‘Convincer’?
Okay, so we don’t know who to attribute this quote to, but it’s a good one. Listening is a critical skill if you want to really learn something about, and get along with, your partner. It’s particularly important when you are as different as ADHD and non-ADHD partners can be.
I’ll admit it – I often don’t understand my husband’s logic. We’ve been married 26 years and I STILL don’t always understand it (though I have grown more used to anticipating it…) I used to spend a lot of time trying to convince him that my logic was more sound than his. If I just talked with him enough about how I felt or how I thought something should be done, surely he would come around and see that I was right!
He didn’t buy it. His logic is rooted firmly in his experiences and the way he is in the world. Rather than try to convince him to think differently (or be different) what I should have been doing was listening to him and learning all I could about him. Ditto for him listening to me. His general feeling was that my logic flow was illogical...and pedantic! Simply listening and accepting that we think differently would have enabled the two of us to accept our differences a long time ago and then negotiate with mutual respect. If I had to do it all over again, this change from ‘convincing’ to ‘listening’ would be one of the most important changes I would make.
How do you and your partner do in this department? Are you ‘convincers’ or ‘listeners’?
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - this eight-session phone seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship.