Tired of being in the dog house? Here are some simple, yet crucial interpersonal skills for husbands (partners) with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism:
1. Be thoughtful. Do something thoughtful for your wife or partner every day. Whether it's making her a cup of coffee in the morning, sticking a surprise note in her bag, or leaving her a chocolate "kiss" on her pillow before bedtime, everyone loves a romantic surprise.
2. Create a photo album. Take pictures often; don't save the camera for holidays and special occasions. Create a visual scrapbook of your everyday life together. Better still, set the timer and pose together. You will both appreciate the warmth of the moment when you see these snapshots in an album down the road.
3. Do the unexpected. If you are a homebody who loves to just sit on the couch watching ESPN or if you spend most weekends working out in the garage, surprise your wife by going against your nature and planning a night out with her. Or, on the flip side, if you and your wife spend most weekends going out and partying with friends, plan a romantic night in with just the two of you. The most important part of this is that you actually PLAN the entire night. Don’t simply say you are going out and then hit her with, “So, what do you want to do?”
4. Do what she asks you to do. Little things she asks you do like taking out the trash means so much to her. It’s not hard and it’s the least you can do. If she always has to remind you to do these things it can anger her. You may think these things are not a big thing to her, but they mean so much. It also proves to make her feel appreciated. Doing these things she asks lets her know you really do care. If you know something means a lot to her – then do it.
5. Honor and respect your partner. Be honoring all the time. That means no "my old lady" stories. And it also means a wife shouldn't be flirting with male co-workers or other men. You can have respect without love, but you cannot have love without respect. Respect means not undermining your partner in front of the children. And don't go outside the marriage when you are having a problem. Discuss it with your partner. Respect also means not criticizing your mate in front of others.
6. If your wife has to work late or if you know she will be working through lunch and eating a bland frozen entrée from home, bring her some take-out food. Most women love when their husband remembers small things like that.
7. If your wife loves to cook, book a cooking class that you two can take together. If she is into dancing, commit to learning her favorite dance with her.
8. If you're the wife, lower your expectations a bit – and if you're the husband, step up to the plate.
9. It’s Friday night and you are going to watch a movie. Think of all the times she has sat and watched the latest action-adventure movie with you (even though she didn’t necessarily want to). Watch the movie she wants to, even if it IS the latest tearjerker.
10. Keep up your appearance. Let her see you at your best. It's ironic that we dress up to meet total strangers but let ourselves go around our nearest and dearest. Most women love to see their men clean-shaven, in great clothes and perhaps wearing a hint of her favorite cologne.
11. Lavish her with gifts. Women feel loved when you prove she is worth something to you. There is a reason behind the cliché of flowers and chocolates: It makes women feel special and valued. It is important to lavish your significant other with gifts even when it is not necessary. You should send her flowers because you love her, not because it's Valentine's Day or her birthday. Buy her a piece of jewelry for no other reason than to help her get over a severe case of "the Monday blues."
12. Let her initiate sex sometimes. When she feels loved and respected, she will be the one to initiate sex. She will respond in love as she feels loved. It’s very natural for her to be that way. Just as it is natural for you to be the way you are. Just keep this in mind that she shows her love in responding sexually. So if you make her feel loved, you will not have a problem.
13. Listen to your wife and talk to her. Communication is the first thing to go when a marriage starts to breakdown. Aspergers men need to listen to their wives. Lots of times they just want to talk about anything and for you to listen to them. If she knows your listening this goes a long way. Listening is one of the most important aspects of communication.
14. Make a list. Make a list of the special days on the calendar that you celebrate together, such as the day you met, your yearly anniversary, or even the anniversary of your first kiss. On these days make a point to spend some quality time together. Cook a special meal (or pick one up on the way home from work). Buy her a card or write her a short letter, and let her know that you didn't forget.
15. Maybe you don’t necessarily LIKE to play tennis or ride bikes, but she does. Without complaining, do one of her favorite activities with her.
16. Men may laugh about it and think it’s silly, but, yes, sometimes women really do like to just cuddle. Kiss and cuddle her to her heart’s content.
17. No woman can resist being catered to, so send your wife out for some quality time with her friends while you cook her favorite meal. Make sure you serve her meal and make sure to do the dishes afterward.
18. Reach out and touch her. Use the power of touch to make a lasting impression throughout the day. There is no such thing as not having time for a kiss goodbye in the morning or again upon reuniting at the end of the day. And an inviting warm hug or back rub at the end of a stressful day is always appreciated.
19. Stop trying to control your partner. It’s another one of those easier-said-than done relationship tips, of course. But trying to control each other — using a technique psychologists call "external control" — is the main source of marital unhappiness. In a happy marriage, partners know they cannot control each other. You have practiced this "external control" if you have ever told your partner they need to behave the way you want them to or that you know what is right. Learning not to control a partner can be a long process. Ask yourself: "If I can only control my own behavior, what can I do to help the marriage?" Then think of what you can change to make the problem better.
20. Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself physically and spiritually. That way, your stress will be down and your tolerance will be up. You'll be less likely to get on each others nerves — and to squabble. You're more likely to have a happy marriage.
21. Take note of significant things. Set something aside for her every day. It might be a newspaper article you read during your commute, a link to a website you came across, or even a story you heard by the office water cooler. She will appreciate that you took a moment to think of her during the course of your day.
22. Tell her about your moods. Be honest if you are feeling stressed or under the weather. Your woman will appreciate your honesty and will know not to take it personally when you come home in a bad mood.
23. Never underestimate the “Little Things.” Women notice the little things much more often than men, and it's the "little things" that can lead to arguments and breakups. Be intentional about your actions; don't do things for her simply because she expects it or asks you to. Hold her hand. It sounds simple enough, but many men forget this one, simple action. Even though you might not think it is a big deal, she will notice and be thankful later. Be a gentleman, and open the door for her. On date night, her hands should not touch a door handle. Rush ahead to open the car door and restaurant door. Finally, touch her. Touching can be a very sensual experience for a woman. As you're walking together, wrap your arm around her. As you're standing next to her, rest your hand on the small of her back. These simple gestures will go a long way in making her know she is attractive to you.
24. There are fewer things better than a weekend away from it all. Plan an entire weekend for just you and her. This entails booking hotel or bed and breakfast reservations, deciding on a babysitter for the children and picking out activities for you and her to enjoy.
25. Don't forget those “Three Magic Words.” Say "I love you" every day. It seems simple enough, but men forget to say it. Many men simply assume that women realize how much they are loved because of the gifts, the touching and the gentlemanly acts, but women need to have vocal reinforcement. Say it, and say it often.
26. Toast to her. Toast each other when you sit down to dinner. It doesn't need to be over bubbly or wine, but even a glass of water or iced tea. Tell her something you love about her and then drink to it!
27. Volunteer to help her. Sometimes she would like to hear you say, “I’ll put the kids to bed tonight” … or “I will do the dishes.” It’s the small things that get her attention. If you never help her, she will feel you don't care. She would like to know you are in her corner.
28. Wake up early one weekend morning and make her favorite breakfast to serve her in bed. Pair this with her favorite magazine or book she is reading and give her some time to just relax.
29. When your wife gets out of work and wants to tell you about her day, actually turn away from the television, give her your full attention and really listen to what she has to say. Ask her questions about herself and how her day was. This is not the time to offer manly advice. Rather, act as her sounding board.
30. Wives must feel loved and appreciated. Aspergers men often take for granted the relationship they have with their wives. We sometimes fail to meet their needs. They must feel loved and appreciated. It’s not enough to just show them you love them, nor is it enough to say it. You must do both. Tell your wife that all the things she does is very much appreciated as well as show her. Don't wait for birthdays and Valentine’s Day to show her.
Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples