Two years ago, Rick Fowler was invited to speak at a major seminar on Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). He's a licensed professional counselor who loves working with groups, so naturally he accepted. On the day of the seminar, Rick was puttering around in his Dallas-area horse barn when the phone rang in the house. Rick's wife, Jeri, answered. "Is Rick all right?" the caller asked. "We're waiting for him to lead our ADD seminar. We were worried that something had happened."
Something had happened. Rick's ADD caused him to forget he'd been invited to speak to a group about ADD. The Fowlers can joke about the seminar that didn't happen. But Rick's ADD—undiagnosed until they'd been married 15 years—has caused periods of heartache. Regularly he'd forget Jeri's birthday and their anniversary, and his anger and impulsive words and actions led to frequent conflict.
The Fowlers are co-authors of "Honey, Are You Listening?" How Attention Deficit Disorder Could Be Affecting Your Marriage (Thomas Nelson). Here is some of what they've learned about dealing with ADD.
In the years before Rick's ADD was diagnosed, did you suspect something wasn't right in your marriage?
Jeri: It was clear that we were opposites. I've always been orderly and well-organ-ized, while Rick is a nonconformist and a risk-taker. If I see a wall, he'll find a door. When we met in college, Rick really impressed me. He never knew a stranger. Plus he had a great sense of humor that could defuse tense situations.1