Communication is maybe the most important aspect of any marriage or intimate relationship. Some might say honesty. Some might say love. Some might say having aligned values. Some might say sexual intimacy. Some might say compatibility.
I probably wouldn’t argue with anyone who said any of those things. Making a marriage last is a complicated endeavor. But most of those things can be screwed up by a lack of communication.
So, maybe I’m right after all. And, this is one of those topics that is both an ADHD topic and a general Life Coach topic. It’s come up in my life recently and it’s come up with several of my clients lately.
As a side note, I wonder when similar themes come up with multiple clients at the same time if it is just coincidence or if I’m somehow influencing the system. That’s a philosophical meandering that I will probably delete before I post this.
Anyway, back to communication. We all know that real estate is about location, location, location. And I always say that ADHD is about planning, planning, planning! But, that’s not the easiest thing in the world if you say, have attentional issues, executive dysfunction, and decision making struggles. Or if your spouse does. Or if you both do.
Living life in modern America is reasonably complex, unless you go all Henry David Thoreau and live in a cabin on a lake by yourself. (Good luck with that.) Running a household in modern America where both parents work and two kids have their own stuff going on is a tremendously complex endeavor. How can you possibly make that work without communicating?
As I said, this is a human problem. But it is made worse by ADHD. Interestingly I’ve seen ADHDers respond in very different ways. Some of us respond by almost becoming control freaks and managing every little detail. But that still only works if we share our grand vision with our partner. More commonly, your typical ADHDer tries to keep it all in their head — and can’t. Some things fall through the cracks and their partner is constantly worried about what’s in the works and what isn’t and who’s in charge of what.
I was talking to one couple the other day and they really nailed it when they said. Everything needs an owner. And that’s correct. Whether it’s doing the taxes, making dinner on Tuesday, or picking Kevin up from fencing, someone in the family has to have ownership of everything or it will cause undue stress and kerfuffle on a regular basis. So, how to fix this dystopian family where Kevin has been left to fend for himself in an empty parking lot at the fencing studio, there’s nothing to eat, and you’re getting audited by the IRS? Communication… & Planning!
I strongly recommend structured family meetings… like, as in, they are regular, recurring events on your family calendar… that you actually stick to. That means they need to be scheduled at a reasonable time when both of you are physically available, mentally available, and have the attention and bandwidth to discuss logistics, look at the calendar for the next week to 10 days, and can make decisions and divvy up tasks. (And, for the love of God, someone needs to go pick up Kevin.) Depending on your careers and lifestyles, this may not be able to be the exact same time every week. But that’s okay as long as you mindfully pick a time at the end of one meeting for the next meeting.
I happen to like the Friday night pizza meeting. The kids get a movie. We go into the office and chat. We used to do that a lot. So couples find it easier to make it work during the work day and schedule a call or a zoom during the day. To start I would recommend twice a week for a half an hour, give or take. Maybe that is good for good. Maybe you transition into communicating more organically throughout the week and only have real meetings as needed.
Bottom line: don’t assume that anyone else knows what’s going on in your head. And don’t assume that you know what’s going on in anyone else’s head. Talk about it. Plan it. Make decisions. Own stuff.
Standard Disclaimer: In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typ0s, Miss Steaks, grammatical errors, awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content out. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post conceptualized but unfinished.