As a person with a disability, I can feel lost. Questions run through my head.
What will dating be like?
Will anyone ever love me?
What is my vocation?
Luckily The Catholic Church has always held a universal vocation:
all the faithful, whatever their condition or state – though each in his own way – are called by the Lord to that perfection of sanctity by which the Father himself is perfect. (CCC 825)
This gives me peace.
Regardless of my ability, I am called to holiness just like everyone else.
Yet I do feel this call to love another exclusively, intimately and completely.
The Catechism states
The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator.
Disability should not exclude me or anyone from pursuing their God-given calling. While I am not married currently, I have been around long enough to confront some common misconceptions about dating and disability.
Here are five common misconceptions about dating and disability.
1. Must date other people with a disability
This began early on in my childhood.
I remember in middle school riding the bus for disabled children.
This year I rode with a young man with muscular dystrophy. Now no offense to this man, I was not attracted to him. Yet all the people on the bus insisted that we were a couple.
This was the first, but certainly not the last time I’d be paired with someone because we have similar disabilities.
I understand the appeal of having similar walks of life. Yet a lot more goes into a relationship such as communication, mutual interests, and attraction. Disability should have very little to do with it.
2. Feeling Like a burden
I’ll admit I have felt broken and inadequate.
I have often wondered why a guy would choose to someone who is, “broken” rather than another able-bodied individual. In these moments, I have felt unworthy of love.
This is the lies of the devil.
The Bible says, “I praise you for I am wonderfully made” Psalms 139:14 (RSV 2nd Catholic Edition).
You are not broken. You are not a burden to your future spouse. Both of you carry the cross together.
3. Can’t have children
One of the requirements for marriage is openness to life. As a person with a disability, society has challenged my ability to answer this call.
I remember my mom had taken me to the gynecologist. She had asked about options to regulate my period. The doctor looks at me and my mom and says, “well she’s never likely to have children anyway so we could just remove her uterus.”
As someone, who has achieved so much already, I refuse to believe motherhood would be an impossible challenge. After all, with God all things are possible.
4. Impure motives
I can tell when people feel sorry for me.
There’s a certain sweetness in their voice that gives it away.
I would never want to date or spend time with anyone, who didn’t see me as a person first. It is true that people taking advantage of people, who are disabled exist. The vast majority of interabled relationships are normal and healthy.
5. Dating disabled is boring
Two of my guy friends and I were at the beach for the 4th of July. We had passed by some jet skis. I had asked them if they had ever ridden one before. They said, “no”
At that moment, I realized that as a person, with a disability, I have had more exciting adventures than two able-bodied men. My life has definitely not been boring.
Yes, there will be something I cannot do or that may be more challenging to do.
I do think interabled relationships have unique challenges. I also believe that it can be rewarding. So if you’re disabled and feel God’s call to marriage, God will make a way.