Zoë thinking about putting the laundry away. Honest. Photo: ©Jake Chegahno, 2011

Zoë thinking about putting the laundry away. Honest. Photo: ©Jake Chegahno, 2011

I had the privilege of interviewing Melissa Orlov, author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage recently (blog post to follow). Melissa and I talked about her upcoming course (starting April 25) for couples in a mixed marriage (i.e., one ADHD spouse, one non-ADHD spouse).

Discussing the trials and tribulations arising from the ADHD elephant in the room, I was inspired to come up with some of my own marriage-saving tips.

Here are some of my ideas to rid your home of these ADHD traits:

  • distractibility
  • lack of structure
  • allergies to housework
  • frequent mood swings; and
  • poor memory

I hope these tips help you. If not, there’s still time to sign up for Melissa’s course.

8 Ways to ADHD-Proof Your Home

1 ) Eliminate Bubblewrap

This one’s a no-brainer (sorry, that was probably a poor choice of words). With low impulse control, what self-respecting ADHDer can resist pop-pop-popping away annoyingly when there’s free-roaming bubblewrap laying about? Remove it now! …before the trouble starts…

2 ) 400 Pairs of Reading Glasses

Never search for reading glasses again! Buy 400 pairs and distribute widely throughout the house. The brighter, the better.

3 ) Arrange Regularly Scheduled Power Outages with Your Local Power Company

Get your spouse off the computer, the kids off the videogames, and save on electrical bills all at once! Load up on candles and, voilá! Instant family time.

If you don’t have kids, this tip may spice up your romance. Just think of how great you’ll both look in that candlelight.  Mmmmm….

4 ) Mood Rings

Is your ADHD partner prone to wild, unpredictable mood swings? Make a pact with them that they’re to wear the biggest mood ring you can find, ALWAYS. That way, when you walk into the room and the ring is black, you can just back away s – l – o – w – l – y.

5 ) Sweeper Robot

Not into housework? Me neither. Melissa Orlov talks about “Chore Wars” in her book, and says that an unequal distribution of chores can lead to serious relationship trouble – even divorce – in extreme cases.

So, if you’re the ADHD spouse and not a natural-born Chore Champion, why not spring for a Robo Sweeper and offer to take on “sweeping the hallway” as one of your designated chores? It shouldn’t matter how it gets done, right?

The plants die or your relationship does. Your call.

6 ) Plastic Houseplants

The partner of an ADHDer once told me that when she went away, her ADHD partner always killed the plants. Not because she forgot to water them. Oh no. She was so nervous about forgetting that she OVER-watered the plants until they began to mold.

There’s also the other extreme of chronically forgetting to water. Both situations call for a substitution of fake for fern. The plants die or your relationship does. Your call.

7 ) Get a Diabetic Pet

Regular visitors to ADHD from A to Zoë know how great Samantha, my (late) diabetic dog was for building structure into my life.  With a diabetic pet, you’ll get daily structure backed up by life-or-death consequences. Perfect! I don’t know about you, but that’s what it took for me.

8 ) Label Everything

…and I do mean, EVERYTHING. Wish I could have done this at my family reunions. With 32 cousins, assorted aunts, uncles, their partners and kids, I’d get so anxious I’d actually forget their names. Names of people I’d known my whole life. Add the fact that I had a different boyfriend at every reunion, necessitating an introduction… Labels. Yup. Labels for EVERYTHING.

What about you?

Do you have any tips you and your neuro-typical partner have used to keep the harmony in your marriage?  If so, by all means, send them in. The more, the better!


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