Marriage with a Disability

Since it’s Valentine's Day, I wanted to share that people with disabilities or obstacles can get married.

Growing up, I had several good examples of marriage. My great grandparents eloped and were married 72 years. I remember going to church with them and they were still holding hands and still were in love. I have my great grandmother’s, Momommy, wedding (elopement) dress and will cherish it forever. My maternal grandparents and my parents were good role models too!

As a freshman in college, I didn’t think I would get married.

However, love does some mysterious things. Some fall in love and get married in 3 months. Some it takes longer.

When you meet the person you want to marry, you just know- it’s a feeling and instinct.

With marrying me, someone had to learn a whole new language to communicate with me. (American Sign Language). Communication is key in a marriage!

How did Josh and I meet?

Josh was at Pellissippi State Community College and I was at Maryville College. We both attended an Intervarsity conference. Intervarsity is an intercollegiate Christian group. Josh decided to write me a note “ Hi. My name is Josh Anderson. My Aunt and Uncle are both deaf. I know just a little sign language, so I thought I would write." Below is a picture of the note I received.

Josh decided to Facebook me, and I ended up having to ask him out three times until he would go out with me.

Here’s are some of the many ways Josh has been accommodating with my Apraxia.

  • Prior to meeting me, Josh grew up with a friend with Down Syndrome. He also had a deaf great aunt and great uncle, so he understood that disabilities were really just differences.

  • Josh learned sign language for me. He started learning after our first date without being asked.

  • He interprets for me whenever he’s around.

  • He has to call different organizations like car insurance, banks, and others on my behalf.

  • He goes on mission trips to Jamaica with Servant Heart Jamaica, which is a deaf ministry. Now, we are on the Board of Directors.

  • He and I have both passed two pieces of legislation for ASL being recognized as a foreign language in Tennessee high schools.

  • We also have a labrador puppy named Alex that responds to sign language better than spoken English.

  • On our wedding day, we signed our vows to each other. Josh also proposed to me in sign.

  • Whenever he is driving and we are both in the car, I play my iPhone as an assistive technology device with Bluetooth.

  • And there’s so much more to do and more we can accomplish as a team.

On another note, Valentine's Day is also just a day. We should be thankful and show appreciation every day, not just on Valentines' Day. I appreciate what all my friends, family, and Josh do for me!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Much Love,

Molly Ridgeway Anderson

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