The Joining Together of Squirrel and Mouse:
How Christian Marriages Can Thrive with an ADD/HD Spouse
I have to say that I never signed up for a life with an ADD/HD hubby. God had other ideas in store for me, though. This is my second time having married a man with ADD/HD. Yes. Second. The interesting part is that God was at work, pulling us together. I discovered that God specially designed some people with ADD/HD for particular purposes in His Kingdom. My hubby’s unique set of gifts, talents, and weaknesses required a wife with a unique set of gifts, talents, and weaknesses to mesh well into the one-ness of our Christian marriage. God didn’t make a mistake when He put us together, each time. I realize He already prepared me for the unique challenges, adventures, and blessings of a husband with ADD/HD. I’ve learned that coming together as one doesn’t mean being exactly like each other; rather, God dovetailed the two of us in a unique union. Thus the joining together of Squirrel and Mouse, which I will share with you later.
Our spouses are highly intelligent but given certain “humble spots” to not become arrogant—Paul’s thorn in the side to remain humble (2 Corinthians 12:7). Both of my hubbies were engineers; my second currently is. Each one is a bright and shining star in his own right. Yet neither one could keep track of his cell phone or keys. “Honey, could you call my phone?” is a common thing at our house. I heard Mark Lowery at a fair concert quite a while ago, say, “God loves people with ADD!”(Wikipedia, Lincoln Courier). Indeed He does! No mistakes. Thorns and all among the incredible gifts. Since that is the case, then we also ought to love our ADD/HD spouses (John 13:34-35), recognizing his or her amazing intelligence and insights.
My second husband loves to go to the movies. Some of our early dates were at movie theaters. When the movie finished and the credits rolled, suddenly, my Boaz blasted out of his theater seat like a rocket making a beeline for the door. In his rush, he bolted directly in front of someone near the exit who stood up to walk around the corner to the door. The startled person made a statement about how rude my hubby was using some not so nice wording. My hubby was in hyperspeed, much like his brain works. He thinks I move in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n. Later I realized that his hyperactive brain primed his body to bolt toward the door. Still, he was unable to see the people around him because his mind had him already out the door and on the way home. He wasn’t intentionally rude, but the man he accidentally cut off didn’t understand him.
Often people around our Loves misunderstand them, sharply criticizing them. This makes these gems vulnerable in the marriage relationship. People often considered each of my hubbies as either slobbish, inattentive, rude, or over-exuberant. Think of Hammy from “Over the Hedge.” Words from individuals like this cut deeply into our spouses’ hearts from an early age. He didn’t need me to tear him down. He needed me to thank him for taking me out to see the movie. It was then I could help him understand what happened to adjust his actions, avoiding hurtful, negative comments from people around him in the future.
Our spouses need a loving best friend-partner in life adventures, not a critical parent figure to whip him or her into shape. ADD-ness brings an incredible curiosity and spark to our marriages. My Second Blessing blazes trails, sometimes much to my dismay. I call him my Squirrel. He calls me his Mouse. Squirrels love to flit around, checking out what there is without fear. Mice prefer to safely check things out from a safe distance before venturing out. His squirrel-ishness has pulled me into surprisingly fun adventures like learning to fly. My mous-ishness has helped him realize that some adventures need to be evaluated first before jumping into them. Chaos doesn’t need to follow in our wake. He has come to appreciate the need to make sure the dishes are washed, no wet laundry is left in the dryer, and the trash gets taken out before going on a trip. He looks at life differently than I do, which has helped us both appreciate a broader view. When we consider our Sweethearts go-get-it-ness, can you appreciate the differences between each of your personalities? When we do, we will enjoy our Squirrel & Mouse adventures together in new ways.
Since broken relationships often trail behind such misunderstood valuable people, we must recognize and appreciate the gifts ADD/HD brings to the marriage. My hubby often leaves a trail of tools behind him with debris from his project. It felt like he expected me to put his tools away and that he was too lazy to clean up his mess. At first, early in our marriage, I took it that way. Only later did I learn that he had no idea he left that mess. What became an argument in our new marriage later transformed into an expression of appreciation for what he did to make our lives easier. I certainly didn’t have the know-how or skills to accomplish the project. After the compliment, it was followed by, “Let’s put these tools away and clean up the debris.” He was relieved because he could find his tools later, and I was relieved not to have that mess added to my long list of tasks.
It is vital for us to recognize God’s work in bringing the two of us together in the bonds of marriage. These bonds are not shackles, instead a blessed tie that binds two hearts together as one with Christ at the marriage center. Think of a cord of three strands (Ecclesiastes 4:12). If you stop to think about how the two of you met, your courtship, and your wedding day, you likely can see God at work. With my first marriage, two little old ladies in our town prayed for us to meet and marry. With my second marriage, after some frustrating dates with so-called “Christian” men, God caught my attention. He told me to prayerfully ask Him about each man, “This one, Lord?” Then I needed to wait for His “Yes” or “No.”It was after I began following God’s direction that my Second Blessing contacted me. What God brings together He will indeed bless, even with ADD/HD. Hence, the joining together of Squirrel and Mouse. When we recognize His work, then we can appreciate our spouses as a blessing in our marriages. What God brought together is worth protecting for a lifetime.
Love and compassion are critical to the success of your marriage to someone with ADD/HD. I learned what love and compassion looked like from my first husband’s family. What I knew growing up was a critical spirit that sparked a blaze, devouring my parents’ marriage. Dad fit the ADD profile, even though the disorder wasn’t considered in their generation. She thought my dad was an inconsiderate oaf for tracking mud onto her freshly mopped floors. She verbally tore into him time and time again. Of course, this set Dad on the defensive. A caustic argument ensued. They divorced when I was five. My first husband’s mom likely had ADD, at least, she displayed many of these qualities. She and her husband had a loving Christ-centered marriage lasting until he died. His families’ example showed me how to approach an issue with loving compassion by seeking a solution to the problem, rather than finding faults. When we love our spouses with ADD, we want to protect their hearts while seeking a solution to an issue they inadvertently caused. Doing so with loving compassion can help your marriage thrive for many, many years.
It is vital for us to find ways to appreciate each others’ unique personalities. What we found so cute and sweet about each other is still there. His quick smile, her wittiness, whatever it is that drew us to our Sweethearts, still captivates us. Consider that spark between the two of you. What drew you to your Squirrel in the first place? When we begin to see these strengths in our Loves, we will start complimenting our Sweeties. As the praise begins flowing from our lips, his or her heart will warm up to you and start to reciprocate. Build your Love up in genuine ways, and he or she will begin building you up, too (1 Thessalonians 5:10-12).
Feeding each other’s faith builds a strong, unbreakable bond. My first husband and I discovered the value of praying together and reading devotions every day. Our marriage strengthened in ways causing us to marvel at God’s work together. Later in our marriage, he was called to become a pastor. Because we prayed together, we both heard God’s confirmation of his call separately, then we agreed together with what we each of us heard. My Second Blessing and I pray, read the Bible together, and attend church together. It makes all the difference! I can’t emphasize this enough: pray, read the Bible, and attend church together to keep a healthy perspective in your Squirrel-Mouse marriage. After all, if the two of you invited Christ to be the center of your marriage, then it’s important to feed each other’s faith, the glue that holds the two of you together. Share your God-moments with each other. Pray for each other. When you do these things for each other, your marriage becomes an unbreakable bond that will stand the tests of time.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®.