January 2012

A lifeboat for marriages

By David Finch
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David Finch knew his marriage needed saving. He just didn’t know why—or how. In The Journal of Best Practices, his thoughtful, well-written account of his battle with Asperger syndrome and his struggle to rescue his marriage, he deals with his fight to overcome his personal demons and rekindle his wife’s love, and he also offers instructive lessons for anyone in a meaningful relationship.

Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder typified by repetitive behaviors, obsession with objects or subjects and the inability to interact socially. Finch displayed all the characteristics, from needing to eat eggs and cereal for breakfast every morning, to circling the floor in a counter-clockwise pattern while repeatedly checking to make sure the doors were locked. Then there was the increasing lack of communication with his wife, Kristen. Frustrated and concerned about her dying marriage, Kristen leads her husband through a 200-question online quiz, which results in a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, later confirmed by a doctor.

Finch isn’t really stunned by the discovery, as much as he is relieved. The revelation inspires him to manage his affliction while taking steps to mend his marriage. His simple chapter titles, such as “Be her friend, first and always” and “Just listen,” detail how Finch reconnects with his wife, and offer tips that any earnest reader can use to do a better job in his or her relationships. So while The Journal of Best Practices is about one quirky character, it really offers instructions on how we all can overcome our own quirks and habits to improve our relations with others.

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