I never thought that marriage was an option for me due to living life with a physical ‘disability,’ however, I unexpectedly faced a proposal despite my external circumstance. The questions and worries brought up from my parents and myself were answered up to a standard where the only thing left for us was to accept. We were on route to accept the possibility of me getting married despite having a disability!
The road to acceptance with regards to marriage did not stop with just accepting the proposal. It was only after marriage that I realised that there was more to accept about being in a marriage with a disability, not only from me, but from my spouse.
Acceptance of the other
To marry someone who has any form of disability requires you to accept their conditions for better or for worse. Any proposal that is considered needs thorough assessment, however, even more thorough assessment needs to be made if one is faced with a disability.
The disability needs to be the focus in order to better decide and plan with regards to how to adapt to the new way of life for both parties. They need to assess whether the spouse could financially manage to look after the other who has the disability and whether the new change in caretaker could be easily adapted to by the one that is facing health challenges.
This therefore leads to not only the acceptance towards the one who has the disability but rather the acceptance of the spouse that does not have a disability. Would I be comfortable receiving physical aid from my spouse?
It is not easy for one that has a disability to accept help from others – having a new caretaker in the form of a spouse is a huge adjustment. At times I have had others help me but I would never totally feel at ease compared to having my parents help me. The help from others would cause me to feel grateful, however, gratitude would be associated with guilt.
I felt the constant need to give back and owe someone for their kindness, that I could not accept help from others in totality, even if it was from my closest friends. Marriage, for me, was always out of the question.
Marriage with one spouse having a disability, therefore, does not necessarily mean that the sole acceptance is from one that does not have health challenges. The struggle for acceptance goes both ways, where there are separate challenges, as to why the decision needs to be carefully assessed.
Acceptance of the self
I previously thought that marriage only required the acceptance of each other—my spouse accepting my disability and me accepting him as my caretaker – however with time I realised that there was more to accept.
My first week of marriage caused me to face how there were some parts of my disability that I did not fully accept even though I thought that I did. I would try to be a dutiful wife by attempting to cook with my mother, and even try to do things on my own, but at times I would find it physically challenging.
I previously would accept my limitations, but after marriage I tried to push myself into trying, and spiraled down whenever I could not manage. I would push myself to the extent of exhaustion, so much so that at times I had to be stopped by my spouse, who reminded me how he accepted me and my limitations. He wanted me to learn to accept them too, and not feel bad if I couldn’t manage. Not being able to manage does not make me less of a wife, as he does not expect anything more from me, besides what I am able to do.
My husband’s reassurance would help for a while, but I would later catch myself trying again, until I was firmly stopped. I was made to assess why I kept pushing myself, especially when whatever I was trying to do was not expected from me. I realised, after introspecting, that I had a self-perceived notion and fear of not being able to be a “good” wife. How not being able to do something on my own made me feel less dutiful as a wife. This attitude caused me to not accept my limitations, I wanted to be someone I was not for my husband and future children.
I did not face this challenge prior to marriage because I did not feel any responsibility towards anyone. I was only dutiful towards myself and therefore accepted myself with no expectations. I needed to accept that my spouse accepted me for me, because by doing so, I would only then be able to accept myself in totality – an individual that was now married in spite of having physical disabilities.
My husband taught me that we should set our own standards within marriage, where there are no concrete norms of how marriage should be like. He encouraged me instead to focus on obeying Allah (SWT), try my best, and also accept the circumstances that Allah (SWT) put me in.
Acceptance of Allah (swt)’s decree
Marriage with a disability therefore does not only require the acceptance of the other, or self, but rather also Allah (swt)’s decree.
To acknowledge that it was Allah (swt)’s will for one to get married in spite of having a disability. To not deny, or complain, but rather wholeheartedly accept with the focus being on Allah (swt). The shift in focus would give ease in accepting my circumstance. I feel content in whatever I have or do not have – or in my case – whatever I can do and cannot do.
At first I could not see how my life with physical disabilities could result in me being a good wife, however, my life with physical disabilities has pushed me to grow and has also allowed my husband to be the best husband that he can be in order to compensate for my needs. Our test has allowed us to taste the blessings of marriage on another level where we have not only grown in accepting ourselves or each other but also Allah’s (SWT) plans.
Marriage has therefore been a means to go down the road of acceptance, where I not only got to accept my spouse as my caretaker, but also further accept myself whilst living life with a disability. I have been able to experience what it is like to be wholeheartedly accepted even when my health was at its worst. I also got to accept the test that Allah (SWT) has given me and can feel His blessings pouring through. I have learned to remain steadfast, despite life’s twists and turns, and to know that this road of acceptance taken after marriage will ultimately lead my spouse and I to a place where we all hope to be accepted – Paradise.
Sa’diyya Nesar lives a life with physical ‘disabilities,’ writing articles, prose, and poetry in hopes to uplift souls into living a better tomorrow by helping them focus on their abilities. Read more from Sa’diyya on her blog and like her Facebook page for more writing updates: www.sadiyyanesar.tumblr.com