When Neurodiversity Is Present In Marriage Podcast


Marriages can find themselves in places of despair. Marriages often assume the problems are symptoms of waning affection. Yet what is actually present is neurodiversity. In this episode of Breaking Bread, Kaleb Beyer educates us on the impact ADHD can have on marriage relationships and the hope that can be breathed into a marriage when this is understood.

Show Notes:

What is neurodiversity?

  • The neurodiverse brain is contrasted with the neurotypical brain. The neurodiverse brain thinks, responds to its environment and interacts with emotions outside of the normative operating neurotypical brain. This condition is diagnosed, for example, as autistic, dyslexic, or ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder)

What is ADHD?

  • ADHD stands for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. This is a diagnosable disorder. An individual with ADHD has the ability to hyperfocus. Often, they can be exciting, fun, creative, in the moment and flexible. Those with ADHD can struggle to prioritize matters that need attention. They have a higher threshold for experiencing rewarding satisfaction and therefore require more stimulus. These attributes create symptoms of distractibility and impulsivity.

How can ADHD impact marriage?

  • When couples do not understand how ADHD is playing out in their marriage relationship, they run the risk of making the wrong meaning out of unfortunate interactions. Consider the examples below:
    • Lack of follow through by ADHD spouse is wrongly interpreted as lack of care.
    • Distracted ADHD spouse during conversation is wrongly interpreted as not valuing spouse.

What proactive steps can the ADHD spouse make?

  • Get a diagnosis from a professional.
  • Become educated on ADHD.
  • Treat the biology through diet, sleep, exercise and medicine.
  • Learn coping skills.
  • Build relational skills.

What proactive steps can the non-ADHD spouse make?

  • Become educated on ADHD.
  • Grieve the unmet expectation of what marriage was “supposed” to be.
  • Avoid reinforcing the negative unsuccessful interactions that historically has been used on your ADHD spouse. For example, nagging.
  • Rebuild trust by measuring it differently. Instead of measuring “follow through” on requests, measure “follow through” of applying oneself to the treatment ADHD requires.

What hope is there for marital health?

  • Beautiful marriages are possible when neurodiverse and neurotypical spouses live wisely with one another.


Further Information

Attention Deficit Disorders in Children, Teens & Adults
To help understand Attention Deficit Disorders, this article provides information and resources, links to tests and diagnosis, and support organizations.