We will change the proportion of positive interactions to negative ones. University of Washington researchers, including John Gottman, have determined that healthy relationships include at least five times more positive interactions than negative ones. So every time you create a negative reaction in your relationship, you need to self-consciously make up for it by creating five positive ones! Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is a good start, but it’s only 1/5th of the work you need to do!
We will address ADHD in our relationship. If you have a child with ADHD, patterns of significant inconsistency in at least one spouse, chronic nagging and anger, or egregiously disproportionate distribution of responsibilities in your relationship the ADHD may be creating serious problems for you. Learning how ADHD impacts adult relationships will help you overcome the many challenges you currently face.
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We will schedule time to connect. In the age of connection our relationships suffer from too many distractions. A good way to start to repair the disconnection and damage that this causes is to regularly schedule time to focus on each other. It can be a weekly date night, spending every Saturday afternoon just banging around together, or creating a half-hour window of time to talk or be together every night at the time that the spouse who goes to bed earliest is ready to retire. It may not sound romantic, but research suggests that creating time to connect will both improve your relationship and provide long-lasting health benefits to you both.
We vow to seek out challenging and new activities to do together. Research by Arthur Aron of Stony Brook University suggests that the fastest way to reconnect romantically is to do things together that are both challenging and new. Ever consider taking tango lessons? Going on a road trip to a new place? Learning a new sport? All of these things could help the two of you reconnect and improve your relationship.
As a marriage consultant and the author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage, Melissa Orlov specializes in helping couples impacted by ADHD improve their struggling relationships and learn to thrive. She blogs for Psychology Today, is the relationship columnist for ADDitude Magazine and has been interviewed for The New York Times, CNN, Today, US News and World Report and more. You can find her website on ADHD and marriage at www.adhdmarriage.com
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For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage by Tara Parker-Pope
The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov and/or the blog at www.adhdmarriage.com
The Relationship Cure by John Gottman, Ph.D