When I married my husband thirteen years ago, I had some idea that marriage would be a journey – a long road of learning and life experience.

“Okay,” I thought. “We’ll walk this road together and face any hardship that comes our way. Things will get tough, but at least we’ll love each other.”

See what I did there? I assumed that we would love each other… like all the time.

I assumed we would automatically default to grace and understanding, just because we were married… or even because we were Christians. :::hehehe:::

I assumed that we would always decide to see each other’s good intentions and communicate our needs well.

Not always.

In fact, it’s taken more work to learn to communicate effectively. We’re both wired so differently, that we use to get caught up in who was was right or wrong more than we tried to see each other’s point of view.

Wrong vs. Different

Sometimes, how we see things is not necessarily wrong, it’s just different. We’re two different people, from different backgrounds, trying to reconcile different points of view.

After thirteen years, we still love each other, but for much different reasons than before.

We’ve slowly come to understand and appreciate each other’s differences, to think together and not against each other. It’s still difficult at times, because we’re not perfect people.

But what if communication is difficult for other reasons? Many adults enter marriage with undiagnosed behaviors that can make effective communication next to impossible.

Neurodiversity in Marriage Series

My friend Tonya Kubo joined Practical Family as a contributing writer to tell her marriage story.

After many attempts to get to the bottom of their communication issues, marriage books, and even therapy, Tonya was beside herself trying to make her marriage work. Their relationship did not fit the mold of other “normal” couples, or even what the books said should be happening. Why couldn’t they get on the same page?

When she was almost ready to give up, a different therapist suggested the possibility of a learning disability.

“What does that have to do with our marriage?” she thought.

Everything.

Her husband Brian has been diagnosed on the with Executive Functioning (EF) and Attention Deficit Disorders (ADHD). While there are many ways in which these disorders manifest, executive function is basically responsible for these areas of skill in our brain:

  • Paying attention
  • Organization and planning
  • Initiating tasks and staying focused on them
  • Regulating emotions
  • Self-monitoring (keeping track of what you’re doing)

When her husband did not follow through on tasks, or displayed a lack of affection or emotion towards her, it was not necessarily because he didn’t care.

In this series, Tonya breaks down how their relationship has grown over the years as they come to a better understanding of each other’s needs:

neurodiversity in marriage tonya kubo

Neurodiversity in Marriage: Why a Difficult Marriage Isn’t a Bad Marriage

neurodiversity in marriage tonya kubo

Neurodiversity in Marriage: Minding Money Matters

neurodiversity in marriage tonya kubo

Neurodiversity in Marriage: Practical Ways to Parent When You’re Wired Differently

neurodiversity in marriage tonya kubo

Neurodiversity in Marriage: Redefining Romance in the Modern Age

Interview with Tonya Kubo

Watch our recorded Facebook Live interview as Tonya dives deeper into the issues from her articles.