When I was a teenager, I met a slightly older guy in a wheelchair. At the time, I had no idea that asexuality was a thing, but sex was something pushed on me by others that could have just as easily not had for the rest of my life if it wasn’t expected of me by the person I was with. When he suggested I would obviously break up with him if we couldn’t have sex so there was no point in even trying to be together, I was hurt. Even as a staunch atheist, I was deeply a humanist, and my pro-life ethos was the same as it is now. It would be years before I would experience living with a disability for myself, so it wasn’t out of sympathy or the fact that if I gave up on someone what right would I have to expect others not to give up on me? It was simply that I liked him, we had a lot in common, we were of a perfectly legal age difference and it made no difference whatsoever to me that he couldn’t walk.
Perhaps I was naive about the challenges of living with a mobility impairment and how it would affect me, but I don’t believe I would have walked away for that reason…over a decade later, I walked into a church without carpet, with a dress designed specifically to give me a train without being voluminous at my side, with my arm gently rested over my fiancé’s arm as if we were walking towards the dancefloor at Netherfield Park. All of this, and the fact he was focusing on his steps and not the dolled up white meringue walking next to him, because my husband has dyspraxia.
Dyspraxia is a lesser-known condition on the autism spectrum which comes with a lot more challenges than people expect of the spectrum (perhaps because many people don’t really expect all the challenges that come with the better-known conditions like Autism and Asperger’s Syndrom). While travelling exasperates the physical side of things and has caused many horrible fights that brought us near breaking point, we are learning to cope with it. The biggest challenges for me come in the form of stress-management and emotional outbursts. I’m short-tempered and can easily become defensive if I perceive any hint of annoyance, even if my husband insists he’s annoyed at himself and not me. This can easily escalate, bringing me to the inability to approach conflicts well that I talked about in yesterday’s post.
It’s easy, when you are in the eye of the storm, to see your situation as being uniquely challenging, but in truth, changing my husband wouldn’t make the list of the 3 wishes from the genie in the bottle if I ever found one. Being married to someone without dyspraxia wouldn’t be any less challenging…it would only be challenging in a different way. We all have baggage from our lives and things that are incompatible and work to do so that the pieces of the puzzle fall together. No couple is perfect, even if they don’t need to approach taking a train like a high-risk military operation. If I walked away, I would have missed out on all the good things that are beyond dyspraxia, with no guarantee that my life alone would have been happier, or that I’d have found someone easier to live with.
At the end of the day, marriage is a vocation, and as such it’s meant to sanctify us and make us ready for Heaven. I significantly lack patience, and dyspraxia has been a roller-coaster ride of a learning curve in that respect. I’m sure it has refined me like metal in a fire in other areas of which I’m not as readily aware.
Today’s blog post has been part of the Love Blog Challenge 2020 on the subject “Challenges”. Find the rest of the series here