Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Non-Fiction Please!

Reclining in a warm tub full of bubbles, fluffy fat snowflakes drifting lazily outside the windows, I am reading an Earl Emerson novel and sipping coffee. As always when in the midst of a good book I start thinking of people who I could pass it on to.

My husband definitely is not on that list. He doesn’t read fiction.

Steve is incapable of opening a fiction book at the beginning and reading it to its completion. Or any book for that matter. Unless it’s a kids picture book. His normal stockpile of reading material includes four pound technical books, non-fiction of any kind, magazines, manuals and picture books.

An aspect of Steve’s Asperger Syndrome is mild dyslexia. He has to work very hard to put together complete sentences on a full page of text. When he was working on his master’s degree he probably spent three to four times the normal study time to complete his lessons. Pictures help him decipher print. Hence the multitude of magazines and kids picture books that are mixed in with his books.

Steve loved to read books to our kids when they were young. Since I can read upside down as easily as right side up, I could see he wasn’t always ‘reading’ what the author had written. The kids couldn’t read, and didn’t seem to care if a favorite book was read differently. Perhaps they appreciated a fresh version. The goofier the book, the more Steve reread it.

Steve also has trouble focusing on just one book. He will simultaneously ‘read’ a half dozen books along with many different magazines. Plus he has the TV going in the background. It’s enough to drive me out of the room.

A trip home from the library for Steve will usually include twenty some books at once. All non-fiction. All the same subject. (Which is typically whatever he might have been wondering about at work that day.) I’ve seen as many as fifty some books stacked up next to his recliner at one time. He is in book heaven around here. There’s our local library, plus the libraries in neighboring towns. There is a library at work, and even libraries in the neighboring county. He hits them all. Add to that all the books he gets from used bookstores and online…

Well, you get the picture.

“Don’t you think that’s a bit much?” I ask.

He looks confused. “A bit much of what?" he replies. 
My husband always seems to like answering a question with a question.

He looks even more confused when I laugh.


  1. Once again Julie, my husband exactly!! We are both happier since I have been learning from you! And I am sincerely enjoying reading your well written, humorous posts! Thanks AGAIN!!

    1. I am so glad! Thank YOU for sharing!

    2. Very interesting stories. I can identify. I have been married 16 years to my husband who has not yet been formally diagnosed with Aspergers. He scored 42 on the Apsbergers test, I scored 15. In my research I read that a large percentage of women who marry men with Aspergers tend to have a strong "theory of mind"... which makes them more understanding and accepting of others. I have a degree in Psychology and work as a Behavior specialist for the DD/MI population. Just wondering what your background is? Keep writing... I will keep reading.

    3. thx! experience is my only background, along with extensive reading on adults with aspergers - i won't pretend that it has been easy - quite the opposite...

      i have been discouraged by the lack of positive and encouraging materials on aspie/nt marriages, hence my blog - i married for better or worse - i am thankful steve puts up with me!

    4. There are a lot of challenges, but many benefits...I know that my husband benefits from being married to me. I explain the social aspects of humanity that he doesn't get. I know that I benefit from being married to him. I have just recently been diagnosed with ADHD. It has been great for me to live with the structure and the predictability. He makes sure my cell phone is plugged in at the end of the day. He reminds me to take my medicine.

      I think people give up when things get difficult, but all marriage takes work and I wouldn't give up all the positive things about my husband to not have the negative/challenging things.

      I am hoping that an actual diagnosis for him will help him have a better understanding of why he is different, so he won't feel so bad about being different.

    5. i am most thankful for steve's diagnosis because of the medication that he can now take to help with his depression and anxiety/panic/ocd issues - it took some time for him to accept the diagnosis - he wants to be 'normal'...

      i think that he's become the most aware of his condition over the last three weeks since i've started blogging regularly - he can actually see and accept how i view things differently from him - these simple episodes from our life together are a real eye opener for him - he has a tendency to think he's done things 'wrong' or 'bad' - neither are true - just different!

      heaven forbid i'd be married to someone just like me - oh Lord, that's a frightening thought...