Why I’m Not Grateful To My Husband For ‘Taking Me On’

“…Do you mean to tell me that you met your husband after you got sick? [Insert surprised face]. You weren’t already married? Wow! He’s a brave man for taking you on! You must be so grateful to him.”

I’m really not.

I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life.

Being grateful to my husband for ‘taking me on’ definitely isn’t one of them.

Last week I came across an article by Holly Bonner on The Mighty, ‘Why I’m Not Grateful To My Husband For Staying After I Lost My Eyesight.’

Holly explored the notion that she is supposed to be grateful her husband stayed with her after she went blind…and the reasons why she ISN’T.

It was a thought-provoking article that stirred up similar feelings for me but for slightly different reasons.

I don’t get the “grateful for staying with you” comments; I get the “grateful he took you on” comments.

I didn’t get sick during the course of our marriage; I was already living with chronic illness and disability when my husband met me.

I have a disability but our relationship doesn’t.

My husband and I have been together for over eight years and just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary.

He knew about my disability and health challenges from the moment he met me. The walking sticks and wheelchair were hard to miss.

I know he was taken aback the first time he saw me being pushed in the wheelchair – it can be confronting to see a young person like that – but it didn’t deter him.

He was told of the complications that come with my managing my condition. His response was a simple, yet profound, “So what?”

Not a “So what? Who cares?” response but an “It’s cool babe, we’ve got this,” response.

He sees me for all the ways that make me who I am, from the frustrating to the wonderful.  

With creativity, strategy and communication, we can experience the world to the fullest together.

People with disabilities can date and be in relationships just like anyone else.

Everyone has talents, interests, insecurities, passions, limitations and the ability to love and be loved.

A person with a disability is no different.

Unfortunately, social stigma and negative stereotypes around disability and romantic relationships make it a challenging path to navigate.  

“Society’s accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.”

– William J. Brennan, Jr.

Why is it so hard to fathom that people with physical disabilities want to, and can be, in a romantic relationship just as much as an able-bodied person?

And why, oh why, should I be eternally grateful that someone decided to enter into a relationship with me, much less marry me, simply because I have a disability?

I’m not some charity case that my husband decided to ‘take on’ as a pet project.

He didn’t ‘take me on’ in a gesture of noble sacrifice or to explore lofty aspirations of inspiring benevolence in others.

Neither my husband nor I have ever lowered our expectations of our ideal partner or settled when it comes to relationships.

Ours is a relationship between two people who love each other. 

Just like millions of other unions around the world.   

In some ways I can understand the fear behind romancing someone with a disability.

It’s a fear fuelled by common misconceptions such as:

  • The partner without the disability will end up being a caregiver more than an equal partner.
  • Disability is a weakness, not a sign of strength.
  • With disability comes an extreme burden.

Sadly, this misinformation can prevent a person from experiencing the most amazing relationship, or being able to see the beauty that lies in someone else’s relationship without passing judgement.

“When you focus on someone’s disability you’ll overlook their abilities, beauty and uniqueness. Once you learn to accept and love them for who they are, you subconsciously learn to love yourself unconditionally.”

– Yvonne Pierre

Having a disability shouldn’t be a deterrent to an emotional connection with someone.

To enter into a relationship with ANYONE requires taking a risk and giving that person a chance.

Sure, a disability may bring forth different challenges, but that does not mean the person, or the relationship, is any less worthy of your time, love and attention.

I’m not damaged because I have a disability. I live an extraordinarily full and satisfying life. I have a career, loving family, a good social network and am highly independent.

Yes, I require some help from my husband, but it’s not a dependency arrangement.

Like any relationship, there is a natural ebb and flow where we take it in turns to help and support each other as needed.

Give and take. Love and support. Laughter and sadness. Highs and lows.

One special person to annoy for the rest of my (our) life.

That is what I am grateful for.

Take that on!

Like this post? Then share it!

All photos and content the property of Starbrite Warrior and Bree Hogan

14 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Grateful To My Husband For ‘Taking Me On’”

  1. maha says:

    Very inspirational Bree. Your perspective on life is very ambitious!

    1. Bree Hogan says:

      Thanks Maha 🙂

  2. Christina says:

    As always, great words, Bree! I, too, entered a relationship with my husband as disabled. We are celebrating our 10 year marriage anniversary tomorrow!! When we got engaged, I handed him the ring back the next day and told him, ‘You really don’t know what you’re getting into with me.’ He rolled his eyes, put the ring back on my finger and told me, ‘And you don’t know what you’re getting into with me. That’s why life is called an adventure!’ How true his words have become! We ALL have issues–whether they are visible or invisible, and working thru them with our partners is what makes or relationships just that–a RELATIONSHIP! We love each other thru the good and the bad. The healthy and the sick. The rich and the poor. We are best friends. He does exactly for me what I do for him–we support one another in love. And we learn from one another.

    Thanks for the very timely reminder. Sometimes I can get down and out on myself, and take a ride on the “I’m not good enough” train, but this read was a perfect zap back to reality. I am good enough, my husband is good enough, and together, we are perfect for one another. No apologies needed! ??

    ((Hugs))

    1. Bree Hogan says:

      A decade of marriage, you go girl! I hope you have a wonderful day of celebrations with your hubby Christina. I love your hubby’s quote when you tried to hand him the ring back, that’s exactly the attitude I wish more people had in general. Life is totally an adventure and no one knows what they are getting into, we’ve just got to take a chance and jump on the train, see where it takes us (and have a lot of fun along the way!) You have touched on this beautifully in your response. And definitely no apologies needed, you are both totally good enough! Happy happy anniversary! ((Hugs)) xx

  3. Chinagirl says:

    Beautiful heartfelt sentiments Starbrite☆ I love the quote by Yvonne Pierre “…once u learn 2 accept & love them for who they are, u subconsciously learn to love yourself unconditionally”. It’s all about being accepting,compassionate, tolerant & non-judgmental of others. You rock!☆

    1. Bree Hogan says:

      Yvonne Pierre’s quote is definitely very fitting in this context, Chinagirl. Let’s hope that the more people read messages like this that perceptions will start to shift. You rock too! xx

  4. What a terrific thought provoking item. I may write one for the diabetes community. I likely have a little different idea, but the same notion overall. I hope you will not mind me taking the idea and shaping it a little different.

    1. Bree Hogan says:

      Hi Rick

      I’m so glad to hear that you found my post useful and are inspired to create something similar for your diabetes community.

      As I’m sure you can appreciate, a lot of time and effort goes into content creation. I’m ok for you to build off my original work and input your own ideas/thoughts in your unique voice, with a link back to my article as the original source of your inspiration.

      Cheers
      Bree

      1. Bree, absolutely I will point back to you and let my readers know who inspired the idea, I will not however do nearly as good a job as you have, I am in awe of the post you wrote…

        rick

        1. Bree Hogan says:

          Thanks so much Rick, that’s so lovely of you to say. I’m sure you will do just as much justice to your story. We all have something to share and our own unique way of doing it. There are no comparisons 🙂 Please let me know when you post it as I’d love to check it out. Cheers, Bree

  5. Jenny says:

    Love the photo!!!!!

    1. Bree Hogan says:

      We were going through a ‘shoot-everything-in-sepia’ phase! We love it too xx

  6. Jaquie Gillen says:

    Love your perspective and take on life and relationships. You are a beautiful wise lady and you and your man are blessed to have each other!! Xx

    1. Bree Hogan says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely words Jaquie. Yes we feel very lucky to have each other too. No ‘taking on’ going on over here! xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *