Autism and Marriage

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. All this month I’ve been writing on Autism Awareness Month and giving an insider’s perspective as one diagnosed with Asperger’s. Seeing as my wife and I both have the condition, I figured I’d write about how it affects our marriage.

As an apologist, marriage is one of the best lessons I know of in theology. It is a fascinating experience to learn what it means to love your wife as Christ loved the church. None of us are perfect people after all and it can be tempting to concentrate on your spouse instead of yourself. Hence, I try, though not always successfully, to make it a point to ask when I don’t understand something my wife does or doesn’t do “Am I doing any better?” or “Am I being the good example I should be?”

Marriage is a sacred covenant after all and it’s an event where you spend the rest of your life shared with someone else. It will change your other relationships as I do remember seeing a friend of mine get married and wondering “Why does he not seem to have time for me as much any more?” Now I can see it. Your spouse has to be the first priority.

This is something I understand can be tempting to change when children come along. This must be guarded against. Children cannot know that they are more important to you than your spouse is. They need to learn that you made that covenant relationship not with them but with your spouse. This doesn’t mean you dishonor or don’t love your children of course. Love them entirely. What it means is that you must remember your priority is to please your spouse and not let it be the case that your children come to take precedence over them.

Communication is also very important. My wife and I find that we have a blessing in that we can honestly communicate with another. If I am feeling such a way, I can say “Princess. This is how I feel right now. I know that’s not the reality of it, but that’s how I feel.” She’s able to listen and say likewise with me. I make it a point to try to not be defensive when she says something to me that’s not exactly uplifting, such as if she disagrees with an action of mine. It doesn’t mean I think she’s right automatically of course, but it means I try to see where she’s coming from.

In fact, being Aspies, both of us are in counseling and we have been able to say in counseling concerns we have about how each other can improve and we’ve each been able to take it. If it’s the truth, why not go ahead and admit it? If you’re not sure, go ahead and admit that too. If it isn’t the truth, you may defend yourself of course, but watch how you do so.

There are times however where it’s not the most important thing in the world to be right. My wife knows there have been times I’ve let some disagreements drop even though I was still convinced I was in the right because I believe the unity we share is more important. As you learn in apologetics, there are some battles not worth fighting. In those cases, it is more important to be righteous than to be right.

Affirm love often. I make it a point to call my wife on every break from work or class. Even just a quick phone call is all it takes. It lets the other person know that you’re thinking about them.

Prayer and Scripture should be fundamental parts of a marriage. We don’t always do it as sometimes we’re too tired, but we usually try to read a chapter of Scripture every night and then ask the question of “How can I pray for you tonight?” and get to share our prayer requests and then pray together. Prayer together is a very bonding act.

As for bonding acts, my wife and I were both virgins when we married and we’re thankful we waited. We encourage other couples highly to do the same. However, it is not like done in the movies. In reality, there is something much deeper to sex that is not found in movies or TV. I have a great sorrow for guys that I see sleeping around or for couples that I think are living together without marriage. They’re only cheating themselves of a relationship of complete trust. Just sleeping around will treat others like an object and living together will make you think you’re under trial. Having the sacred covenant lets you be totally free and open to enjoy the love of your spouse.

Husbands need to realize that for the wife, emotional closeness in sexuality is highly important. The wife wants to be loved and affirmed in her body. However, wives also need to realize that a man when married does have physical needs and those are very important as well. This is not to say however that the physical is unimportant to the wife or the emotional unimportant to the man.

Sex will not be the most time-consuming part of your marriage, but it still will be a part of your marriage worth taking time for. It is also a part of your marriage that, like all the other parts, will require your work, but it is worth it for the tight unity that you create with your spouse when it’s just the two of you. That will not be found in the entertainment industry as sex is more than just entertainment. It is something far deeper. It is the act that is closest to experiencing the beatific vision this side of eternity.

Honor your spouse also. Since we are Aspies, my wife and I have a fierce loyalty to one another. I am the only person I know of that thinks that I do not love my wife enough. Each of us seeks to please the other fully and this has also been through our share of difficulties.

We have experienced surgery, the death of my grandmother, unemployment, financial struggles, which we are still going through, emotional crises, and emergency room trips. A minister friend told us upon meeting my wife for the first time that we are not only handling all that we go through well, but we are also thriving.

Marriage is something special in all of its aspects and like all other good things, it takes work. The rewards are well worth it as I know many of my friends have said that since my Princess came into my life that I have not been the same person, and for the better, and I see that process of sanctification going on in both of us.

We shall continue next time.

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One Response to “Autism and Marriage”

  1. Fred Wolfe Says:

    Good stuff here.

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