Marriage Advice from Someone Who Never Thought She’d Get Married (and still can’t believe it some days)

It’s true.  When I was younger, I was never asked out on dates.  Guys didn’t pay attention to me.  I was never told I was beautiful, attractive, etc.  I was always just “smart.”  I was awkward, plus size, and didn’t have a pretty face.  I still don’t think I’m attractive (sorry babe–I know you’ll be mad at that!!!).  My first boyfriend wasn’t until I was 19, and then he dumped me the day after he met me for the first time.  So safe to say, I was over the whole “marriage” idea.  I was going to be a career-driven woman, with a few fun flings along the way, and I was completely cool with that (though I don’t think my mom was!!!).

Then Justin happened.  Most of you know it wasn’t love at first sight, sparkles and cutesy love music in the background, kissing me and my foot popping up, chick-flick style love.  It was natural, it took a little while, and it wasn’t very romantic–no flowers were involved in the courting process, and he didn’t stand outside my window blaring music.  But it was absolutely effortless, and that is why it was so amazing.  It was just so natural and meant to be.  It was just hey…here’s Justin…here’s Tara…yeah, you guys belong together.  We didn’t fight or wonder if we liked each other.  It just was, like it was our destinies.  And I couldn’t have been happier.

Anyway, now that we’re a year into our marriage, I want to share some thoughts about why our relationship works so well.  I’ve gotten questions about how we manage to never argue after living together for 3 years, and how we don’t drive each other crazy.  I thought I’d share how our simple love is made possible.

  • SPEAK.  The biggest issue with relationships is communication.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I really can’t stress it enough.  Does it piss you off when they leave their socks everywhere?  SAY IT.  Do you love when they fill your gas tank (Justin does this for me–it’s better than flowers)? TELL THEM.  If you’re afraid they’re going to get pissed, oh well.  If they do, really?  You’re going to get pissed about that?
  • Encourage each other.  This is one in every marriage advice article you’ll find, but it’s true.  It’s really important for people to hear that someone has faith in them (besides parents, because parents always think you could rule the world), and having a partner who keeps telling you this is the best feeling in the world.
  • Don’t use sex as a weapon.  Apparently people do this.  They will reward their husbands with sex or intimacy if they take out the trash or do household chores.  And in reverse–they won’t have sex with their husband if he misbehaves.  This is TERRIBLE.  Sex is the most intimate you can be with someone, and it’s a form of showing how much you love someone, and using it as a weapon is so harmful.  Just don’t!  Along these lines…
  • Have sex–a lot.  Don’t be shy about this part.  Sex is super important in a relationship, and being able to share this with someone is amazing.  It’s not dirty or shameful or “gross.”  How much closer can you get to someone than this?  Do it (literally) a lot.
  • Compromise.  I hate going to the store.  I hate going places after work.  It just sucks and I just want to come home and chill after a tiring day at work.  But if Justin has been stuck at home all day and he wants to take a mini trip, I will do my best to go.  It’s not fair that I make him be bored just because I’m tired.  He’ll also compromise for me.  He doesn’t like going to doctor’s appointments with me, but he’ll do it.  Because we will compromise.
  • Don’t tell them they’re not allowed to do things.  I’ve seen this happen a lot.  Wives will tell husbands they can’t buy something when they can afford it, or that they shouldn’t buy something just because they said so.  Granted, if you’re broke and an ATV s on the top of someone’s wish list, yeah, don’t do it.  But if your husband wants to start a new hobby and you just don’t want him to buy it because you think he has too much stuff or he’ll fail, this is pretty shitty.  Encourage–remember.  Let them explore and grow.  It’s part of being alive.
  • Leave the house.  Get out together.  Go for a drive together.  Go see and do and learn new things.  Staying inside in a cramped space drives you crazy (and makes you irritated with the other person) and is very damaging over time to your relationship and brain.  Hop in the car and go drive and take loads of selfies (Justin loves them–haha!!).  It’s worth it.
  • Have fun together.  Part of being with someone is just enjoying and having fun together.  Justin makes me laugh and makes me feel beautiful every day–regardless of how I think I look.  Nothing makes me happier than just being around him, and this is how it should be.

Besides being married to someone with autism, I think this advice is helpful in any relationship.  Finding someone that you never thought you’d ever find is the best feeling in the world, and it takes work to keep it–but it’s worth it in every sense of the word.

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Reflection

Being married to Justin isn’t easy. Being married period isn’t easy, ASD or not. Justin is particular about things. He taps a lot. Bounces his legs a lot. Knocks on cupboards, doors, me. He gets frustrated at the littlest things and gets mad. He shuts himself away sometimes. He won’t tell me he loves me sometimes. 

Nothing he does will make me love him less. 

In 2012 when my baby Waffles became paralyzed and we had to put her down, he wouldn’t allow me to take her to the vet. He KNEW watching her pass away in front of me would destroy me. He was right. So he took her. He stayed by her side. He was there for her in her last moments. Then came back to me, held me, kissed me, and took me to nature to distract me. Showed me a waterfall I’d never seen. Let me cry.

He has never questioned any of my decisions about my life or what I want to do. When I said I wanted to quit my cushy state job because I was unhappy he said, Cool. Do it. If I said I wanted to shave my head, he’d say cool, weirdo, but do it. Not once has he told me I’m not allowed to do something.  He doesn’t stop me from being myself or what I want to do. He supports me. That’s priceless.

He won’t ask you for anything.  That could be good, or bad. He could be on fire and he won’t ask you to put him out. He can’t.  That’s the Aspie in him. He’s terrified you’ll say no. I find myself getting things for him.  Being his voice.

People think I’m controlling him a lot I’m sure. I speak for him, fill out forms for him, answer questions for him. Sometimes I think he hates it. He doesn’t.  He can’t find the right words. He can’t talk to people. He gets overwhelmed with too many questions and too many words and can’t put the answers together. He might have them, but he can’t get them to his brain. And that’s totally fine with me.

I couldn’t be happier with this amazing man I made my own.

How to Talk to an Aspie

I have been thinking a lot (yes it hurts) about my relationship with Justin.  We have been through so much together that I often wonder why he puts up with me, and how I put up with him.

A friend recently told me her boyfriend was diagnosed with asperger’s recently, and we spent a good half hour talking about our struggles and issues with how our guys are. But the thing is…we spent more time talking about how amazing they are rather than focusing on their issues and problems. That got me thinking.

A lot of my friends bad mouth their husbands and significant others constantly.  They complain about their bad habits, the way they sleep, that they never help with housework, etc. So why are you staying with these people who irritate you 99% of the time? Why do you stay if you are that unhappy??? And are you even telling your significant other your problems with them? For that matter, when was the last time you spoke to them without bitching???

I realized that’s what it comes down to. I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again. COMMUNICATE.  I don’t hold back when I’m pissed at Justin.  I tell him. My friend does the same thing with her Aspie. And you know what the best part is? They don’t get defensive or make excuses. In fact, they’re usually shocked because they just don’t make that social connection to us that makes them realize what they said or did was inappropriate or hurtful. So when we tell them it was, they’re grateful that we told them so they don’t do it again. Subtlety is not a symptom of Asperger’s.

I think even in “normal” relationship, this should be standard. Don’t hold back from telling someone they’re upsetting you. That just makes it worse. If you’re that worried they’ll leave you over it, well, would that be so bad if they can’t even listen to your concerns? 

Think about it.

Weed!!!

This might be controversial to some. If you are offended by this post, I’m sorry in advance. But I can’t begin to explain how much pot/Mary Jane/the W/THC has helped Justin. 

Justin was a straight edger his whole life. When we started dating, he didn’t even drink (and to this day has never been drunk). Pot, which was illegal here in Washington, was completely out of the question. 

So Christmas eve 2015, my brother came over l. Weed was legalized here in 2013, but he still hadn’t touched it. He got stoned with my brother, and since then he’s been using it.

Autism and pot??   Whaaaaaat??? Think about how much you think.  And stress.  Now multiply that by 10, amd worry about things like driving, dinner, your wife’s problems, what if a tree fell on your house, and every other problem ever. This is Justin’s brain 24/7. 

Then imagine one puff of a plant calms you down. You can focus on one thing instead of 100. You can sleep. You don’t stress as much. You can enjoy  your life. This is Justin on pot.

There are so many people who have problems with pot and so many people who say they’d divorce their husbands if they smoke. Let me just tell you my opinion.  You’re crazy. Justin is able to open up more to me. He can tell me sweet things and compliments on it. He won’t stress until he’s sick. I’ve seen the amazing outcomes for people with seizures and other terrible diseases. And for autism, I’m a fan.

Since Justin’s god-awful asthma this summer, he stopped using the plant. He switched to a vape pen and wax, which is vapor and a lot smoother. It’s working miracles to help him stay calm and focused. Why is this still considered a drug??? Is he supposed to be on mood stabilizers that turn him into a zombie and kill his sex drive? Is that what people expect? 

I don’t want that for him. I say try it. In my eyes this is so much better than dealing with crippling anxiety and stress. 

This is his new setup. Easy!!

Feeling Alone

Sometimes life with an autistic person is really really hard. Obviously.  Being married to one isn’t any easier. There are days like yesterday when I come home to roses and homemade chicken parmesan for dinner. Then there are days I worry every second hpw Justin is feeling. Is he stressing? Is he angry?  Is he going to have a melt down today? 

Our annual 4th of July tradition usually involves Justin being irritated.  I don’t know why  he does, but every year it goes between being excited and then saying he doesn’t want to go. We end up going, but he never is really excited.

This year isn’t any exception.  He’s struggling with asthma and can’t use his THC vape pen, which is what helps him relax. He isn’t speaking and it makes it really hard. He always tells me to not worry about him (as he struggles to breathe) and just enjoy the day. How am I supposed to do that? 

Lately it seems like we have more bad days than good. Especially because of his asthma. He gets really angry and frustrated (rightfully so) when he can’t breathe. I can’t do anything about it either.  No matter what I do or how hard I try I can’t fix everything.

And I can’t help but feel alone. Is this normal for people living with a loved one with autism?

Happy 4th of July!!!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted a blog. Life gets in the way!!

On July 4th 2008 Justin and I became official. He introduced me as his girlfriend at his *clears throat* brother’s girlfriend’s mom’s house for a 4th of July celebration that is still our tradition. Funny enough, he couldn’t remember her name so he spat out “This is my girlfriend…uh…” I finally interjected and said “I’m Tara.” I gave him shit about not remembering my name but he just couldn’t remember hers!

Anyway, I had no idea at the time that he would end up being my husband.  We still go to the same place every year for the 4th.  This place ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️


Justin’s autism means that we have to plan things and I can’t spring things on him at the last minute.  It works well for me, because I hate last minute too. But it also means he constantly second guesses if he even wants to go. That makes it difficult sometimes too.  He gets stressed about the driving, the time, what we’re taking, etc. It’s hard to keep him from stressing about it. Actually I can’t keep him from stressing at all. That’s what sucks.

Today I came home to a dozen roses and homemade chicken parmesan for dinner, btw. He loves me.

Here’s to another 9 years, baby.

Childfree by Choice

I am 32 years old, and Justin is 34 (going on 12).  We have been together for 9 years this July 4th, and married for one year on the 13th (holy crap).

Translation:  WHY HAVEN’T YOU HAD KIDS YET???

I hear this constantly.  It’s just something that we’re going to have to hear probably for the rest of our lives.  Our friends and families near us are out having child after child, and we’re just expected to do the same.  Well, here’s the thing.  You’ve got kids–cool.  You want kids–cool.  I respect that, and all the more love and power to you to have those kids.  I will love them too…and then give them back.

Justin & I don’t want kids.  Period.  No, we’re not “going to change our minds.” No, I don’t have a biological clock that’s ticking.  And no, we don’t care who’s going to take care of us when we’re older.  And no, I’m not just saying that because I secretly want kids and I’m too scared to tell him (that’s a terrible thing to do anyway).

Part of the reason, besides the obvious (we like our time together), is Justin’s autism.  He doesn’t want any future children seeing his melt downs.  He doesn’t want a change in routine (which is constant with kids) to mess him up and have his entire day ruined because of a change.  He has full on panic attacks when he gets nauseous.  Kids puke a lot.  If he’s around people who are throwing up, he’s booking it out of the premises ASAP.  And what do kids do for the first part of their lives?  Puke.  He doesn’t want to risk having a child with autism either.  This doesn’t mean that we’re bad people.  We’re making the conscious choice to not have children and enjoy the family of two that’s more than enough for us.

To be honest, I get tired of hearing about people getting pregnant and having kids.  Why isn’t just having a husband enough?  Why do they think they have to have kids?  Do they think their lives aren’t complete without them?  I never thought I’d get married when I was younger.  I didn’t even think I’d have a boyfriend, let alone actually get married.  So when I met Justin and we got married, I’m fulfilled.  I don’t want another kid taking away our time with each other.  It’s how we both want it.  And no matter what people tell us, that’s how it’s going to stay.

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