I recently read a column from a few years ago about a woman with a disability who was told by TSA agents at an airport that she should be happy her husband chose to marry her. Sadly, even though we’re living in the 21st century, people with disabilities still aren’t seen as equal.
It may seem unbelievable that someone would say something like this, but my husband and I also hear it. People even say similar things to my friends when we go out and they feed me. Something needs to change.
Our marriage isn’t based on my disability. When my husband, Jeff, and I met, he had questions about cerebral palsy. However, he also learned who I am as a person. He appreciated our differences and how I do things uniquely. I’m not my cerebral palsy, and I’m certainly not one to sit home and feel sorry for myself. I like going out, being adventurous, loving my children, and having a career. Never underestimate someone just because they have a disability.
Jeff loves me because of who I am. Has cerebral palsy made me more courageous or stronger? Maybe. Do I see the world a little differently? Absolutely! Is a strong, courageous spouse attractive? Probably! Cerebral palsy helped shape me, but it isn’t everything. All of my abilities should more than make up for any disability.
Also, Jeff isn’t a saint just because he married someone with a disability. It makes him a person who got to know someone else. Yes, I understand that not everyone may want to be with someone who has a disability. But not everyone likes someone with a certain hair color, body type, or style. It doesn’t mean we should praise others simply because of personal preference. I’m not unequal to you because you can walk, and vice versa.
Our marriage is similar to every other marriage. With love, we continue on because we made a commitment to each other. We do argue, and there are days when we can’t stand to be in the same room. That is marriage — both good and bad.
We have different strengths and weaknesses, but it’s not like we focus on my cerebral palsy all day. He does help me, but I also help him. I love him not because he married me but because of the qualities he has.
My husband always tries to be a better person. He might not always succeed at what he tries to do, but when this happens, he gets up and tries again. Jeff is spontaneous and funny, and he pushes me to be my best, despite my anxiety. He also persists with things that are important to him.
If you ask Jeff why he loves me, I assure you he won’t say it’s because of cerebral palsy, and he won’t complain about it, either.
Don’t assume our marriage is perfect because it looks like we are perfect. We have our moments, issues, and different ways of doing things. But we are committed and strive for happiness and we compromise. Marriage is about constantly learning what works and what doesn’t.
So, when you meet us, there is no need to act weirdly or praise us for overcoming our challenges. All you need to do is be yourself, and we will do the same in return.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disorder. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.