Life in a Mixed Marriage, a response
LIFE IN A MIXED MARRIAGE – from David’s point of view
It’s been just over a week since Teresa’s posting. I was with her in Cornwall on our Wedding Anniversary and suggested we visit Lands’ End to celebrate. If that seems strange, then you need to know that is where I proposed to her in the spring of 2010.
Teresa talks about a mixed marriage and on the day I proposed, we hadn’t been communicating well. I was very distressed and not at all sure I was doing the right thing (planning to propose). We walked from our Campsite in Sennen to Lands’ End and when we got there, I burst into tears, the stress was just too much. Teresa tried to ask me what was wrong and amongst all those tears, haltingly, I proposed.
What happened next is a perfect example of what can go wrong. She laughed! I have no idea how long it was before she then said yes, in my memory it was hours, but I don’t know.
She did say yes. I then said, “this year” and she paused, had a worried expression and said “yes” with less enthusiasm, it seemed. I had my reasons for the hurry, but she didn’t know at the time.
There was so much scope for misunderstanding. Teresa misunderstanding why I was so upset, me of why she laughed – she always laughs at moments of strong emotion, she even had the giggles part way through her wedding vows! I have learnt to understand that her laughter is not hurtful.
Back then, we had little common language or understanding of our difference, we knew that we were different but not why. More than anything else, we trusted each other and trusted that negative things could be discussed and resolved and would often turn out not to be the problem they seemed to be.
In her post Teresa asked about my shopping list when it came to finding a partner. The answer is someone who would engage and try to understand, who may not entirely succeed but would unceasingly try.
She also commented on the book I am writing. The first volume (birth to age 21) has finished its first intense draft. It is now going through its first edit and is just starting to touch on the problems of emotion and sex. Already the problems that occur in mixed relationships are clear to see, but only in hindsight. Teresa and I are trying to bring our hindsight into your present so you don’t have to make the same mistakes that we, and very definitely I, have made over the years.
I read Teresa’s description of our recent problem and I can hear the voices of so many of you, saying how unreasonable I was and how I should appreciate the effort Teresa put in to understand and how can I be so ungrateful?
I have been in 3 mixed marriages, as Teresa calls them. Unfortunately without both language and will, they were doomed. I do appreciate the love and effort Teresa puts in but, (and I know it sounds awful, however it remains true) no matter how much effort she puts in, it will never be enough, because she can never understand the enormity of what it is to be autistic . Likewise, I can never understand the alien world of the neurotypical, even after more than 40 years of intense study.
All I ask of Teresa, and I hope all she asks of me, is
- We always try to understand
- We always try harder
- We talk
- Sometimes we succeed in understanding a bit
It is not an easy recipe for a mixed marriage, but it’s the only one that I believe can work. The last item in that list is vitally important. There needs to be clear progress, no matter how small. Trying is lovely, but there must also be success and that is so much harder to achieve.
Five years on, I love her more now than I did then, but boy there are times when I really hate what happens between us and always will be between us but we do understand, we do talk and we do move forwards.
Understanding grows, being Autistic can be very lonely and even small steps of understanding are incredibly valuable to me and ultimately are the foundation for the success of our mixed marriage.