Couples with one or both partners on the autism spectrum face challenges just like people in typical relationships do. Neurodiverse couples face communication challenges that can be addressed to maintain healthy, fulfilling, and long-lasting relationships. That said, there are plenty of unique strengths or benefits to being in a neurodiverse relationship! And while no two relationships are the same, neurotypical couples can learn a lot from observing how people in neurodiverse relationships interact and work together. Learning how one another processes information and identifying triggers to avoid can lead to an impenetrable bond, allowing you both to surrender to one another fully in your marriage. A deeper emotional connection between spouses is rare indeed, but for couples who want to make it work in this scenario the complete dive in head first means they can enjoy their relationships and each other on a level most people will never get to experience.
Here are three ways neurodiverse couples outshine typical relationships.
1. Helping Each Other See Things From Different Points of View
People living with autism have different brains from neurotypical individuals, which means their perspectives on the world—or even on specific situations within their relationship—tend to be quite different from the “norm.” While this can sometimes lead to frustration and disconnect, the inherent differences in the way a neurodiverse couple sees things can create great opportunities for personal growth.
For example, an autistic spouse may focus more on the logical and practical aspects of a situation or challenge affecting their marriage, while the neurotypical spouse may come to the situation with a greater foothold in the emotional considerations. By committing to listening to each other and being willing to consider the other person’s needs, both the neurotypical and neurodiverse spouse can gain a more balanced perspective on shared issues and learn to tap into some of their more underutilized mental and emotional faculties.
2. Exploring Shared (And Individual) Interests
It’s not uncommon for people on the autism spectrum to have highly specific and targeted interests in activities or subjects, such as music or reading. This heightened interest can inspire their neurotypical partner to explore their own interests and hobbies, as well.
Of course, for both neurodiverse and neurotypical relationships, it can be healthy for partners to pursue their own interests outside of the marriage. Not only does this take “pressure” off the relationship as being the primary source of entertainment and life fulfillment, but it also helps both partners create their own social connections and opportunities.
On the other hand, taking an interest in each other’s interests is also a healthy way to create more opportunities for quality time and can strengthen the bond between two partners. Neurodiverse and neurotypical partners should feel encouraged to explore both personal and shared pursuits.
3. Being Each Other’s Advocates
Neurodiverse people sometimes face unnecessary stigma and judgment, and it’s not unusual for their neurotypical partners to take on the role of advocacy and support. And when partners truly show up for each other—whether that’s at the doctor’s office, at work, or in social situations—the amount of trust they feel for one another becomes even deeper.
If you’re in a neurotypical relationship, you might ask yourself the last time you really stood up for your loved one. What were the circumstances? Was it difficult or did it come naturally? Next time, is there anything you would do differently to really show your loved one that you’re on their team?
Curious About Counseling for Relationships with a Spouse on the Spectrum?
If you’re in a neurodiverse relationship and would like to see how individually-tailored couples therapy or coaching could help you and your loved one strengthen your commitment to each other, contact The Marriage Restoration Project today.