Communication researcher Jonathan Pettigrew reported in a study published in 2009 in the journal “Marriage and Family Review” that couples who sent each other text messages experienced increased feelings of connecteness.
Researchers unanimously agree that couples who communicate effectively consistently report greater marital satisfaction, and satisfied couples who communicate effectively are healthier and so live longer.
On the other hand, couples caught in cycles of poor communication feel dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction can take a toll on their relationship and overall health over time
Every couple and every person has problems. Facebook is not reality. People only post their best moments there, and we can get the false impression that everyone else is problem free and happy, and we are the only struggling ones.
BUT problems don’t solve themselves. You’ll have to make an effort to develop communication skills to help your marriage.
Aspergians may feel challenged by communicating in marriage.
Asperger or on a wider scale ASD is a social development impairment. Dating, marriage and other relationships are social experiences, so depending on the individual’s level of development there are going to be various difficulties that arise with dating and marriage. Common issues are going to be communication and sensory issues. Talk and touch are a big part of bonding and without them it will be more difficult in dating and marriage. Good news is that these things can be improved upon and overcome through various methods and practice.
3 Communication Skills You Can Practice To Enhance Your Marriage/Relationship
1. Translating Nonverbal Communication
The first communication skill is for the non-Autism/Aspergers partner.
She told the story of calling an Aspergers man on his cell phone. He was eating breakfast in a restaurant with his partner. Even though they having dinner together, he insisted this was a good time to talk As they were talking, Dr. Ariel heard a lot of coughing in the background. She asked, “Is your partner coughing?”
He said, “Yes, she is. She’s choking, which happens a lot when she drinks too quickly, but she chooses to gulp her oranje juice anyway.”
Dr. Ariel was concerned for the partner, and kept asking this gentleman if his partner was okay. (He did not ask her).
Fortunately, the partner stopped choking. Dr. Ariel, a non AS, focused on being concerned about the partner’s choking.
The Aspergian had experienced his partner’s choking, and believed everything would work itself out and so he did not need to focus it.
As for the partner, Dr. Ariel did not know what the partner thought, but she wrote, “If she wants him to do anything differently during future choking episodes, she will have to spell it out clearly for him.”
Here’s an analogy.
Think about being the pilot of a plane flying at night, trying to land the plan on a runway that has no lights.
That’s what it can be like a lot of the time for your Aspergian partner trying to understand your non-verbal language.
It’s a lot easier to land the plane when there’s a traffic controller on the ground with bright flare lights, lighting the way to a safe landing.
In the same way, as the non-AS spouse, you can “light the way” by translating your nonverbal communication for your partner.
So here’s Dr. Ariel’s recommendation for you as a non-AS partner.
Translating Nonverbal Communication.
In this exercise, you translate your nonverbal communication so that your partner can undestand you.
For example, check out the table below
It Means I am
roll my eyes
annoyed or bored
bang on the table or say mean things
frustrated or angry
sit close to you on the sofa
hoping you will stay next to me
1. Observe yourself and your partner. Write down the different things you try to say nonverbally and how you try to say them.
2. Translate your nonverbal language into words to tell your partner.
3. Make a chart of your nonverbal expressions and what they mean. This chart will help your AS partner better interpret your facial expressions.
It can help even more if you add a picture column that shows what you look like when you engage in these various nonverbal behaviors.
Remember this will take time, and it’s a process. Ideally, you will have patience and verbalize as much as possible until your partner becomes more and more familiar.
2. Listen, Validate, and Compliment
The second communication skill is for the AS partner.
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