Two years ago I wrote a piece for Offbeat Bride called Blind Women Get Married Too
One year ago on Sunday, I married my now husband. (You can see the wedding profile on offbeat bride right here!)
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a visibly married disabled woman, and how people seem to be completely baffled by this.
In Wednesday’s post I mentioned that during the beginning of our relationship, Mr. H was told that he was such a good person for volunteering with the blind. I notice when people give us looks of “aww, how sweet is that.” I notice when people give us looks of “Why is he holding her hand?” or when they glance at us and think that we are strange. I notice these things, because even though I am blind, it doesn’t mean that I cannot see what happens around me.
I’ve been in bars since getting engaged and getting married, and have had people not believe me when I say that I’ve got a partner. Their argument isn’t that they don’t believe me because my husband isn’t there – they cite the cane as an excuse to sexually harass me into talking to them.
Because in their minds a blind woman cannot possibly be a wife.
It seems to be a common misconception that people with disabilities do not get married. People seem surprised when I say that my friend with a service dog is married, or that my friend with CP is married. Yes. People with disabilities find love, get married.
And yes, they have children.
I think a lot of the judgement that I get from strangers isn’t about the fact that they are confused by the idea that someone loved a cripple enough to get married – I think they’re struggling with their own perceptions of what it would be like.
Many people seem concerned that there is no sex. (or how I have sex, which is none of their damn business)
Many people think we can’t have children. (as in biologically, but also legally, which is strange.)
These aren’t their reasons for not believing that we get married though – it’s because for them, they cannot see any hope in having a disability. They have cordoned us off into the realm of the hopeless. And that’s just not true.
My husband and I see a future together – is it different from yours? Certainly. We plan on a life where I cannot drive. We plan on a life where someday, we’ll probably want a home with no stairs. He vowed to be my guide person. And I accepted that – because you never know.
The fact is we do see hope, because we can think of a different future. We can accept that and move forward together.
So I intend to kiss my husband in public, defy the expectations of others, and be happy in my marriage. Because when he hears something I can’t, he tells me what it was. When he sees something and I don’t, he tells me about it, and when I wear my painted shell, he tells me when it slides off course and points in a different direction.
Because I’ve got the greatest partner that any blind woman could want.
I had to smile at your post. My husband (who is blind) and I have been married almost 32 years and raised a wonderful, competent daughter together. Yes, we get the occasional unwanted “oh, you’re so noble” and “he’s such an inspiration” comments, but any one who knows us knows that neither sentiment describes our reality. We’re regular people, leading a regular life, grateful for and enjoying each other. Life is good. 🙂
Yep, regular people being happy together. 🙂
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, your wedding is possibly the coolest.wedding.ever–love the dress, bouquets, dinosaurs, museum, plane-stopping entreaty.
I think we’re OK with the hyperbole. 😉
Will always remember that post on OBB as amazing and wonderful, and of course, you are amazing and wonderful. My husband and I are in similar predicaments. I see people looking at us, even within our circle.
When he helps me cut food, or holds my arm when footing changes, I can sense their pity or the thought in their heads about what I bring to the table.
Our future is ever – evolving. Today he helped me with two stream crossings and rocky terrain on our hike. Some years down the road it will be a house with no stairs, and probably more surgery. But we will boldly go where others have gone before, because that’s the life we chose.
You tell ’em sister! As a likewise married woman with CP, I can tell you that in my experience, marriage for PWD’s is still seen as unusual. I got more heartfelt congratulations on our engagement from strangers than I did from my own family at first. They wanted to make sure we “knew what we were doing” as marriage changes one’s “Benefit Levels” SSI, SSDI, Medicaid…
We are now 12 years in to the best relationship of our lives. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
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