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Can you find happiness if you date or Marry someone who is in a wheelchair

Updated on January 5, 2012

Should you choose not date or marry someone just because they are in a wheelchair?

The other night while looking for a supplier for wheelchair parts a site popped up with this question. “Should I date someone in a wheelchair?“ My answer to that is, if you see a wheelchair instead of the person its probably better not to. It’s when you don't see their mode of movement as a problem that you can enter into a world you thought never existed, at least that is how it happened for me.

Love at first sight

Relationships are not about a persons “faults or body shape” or how they get from one place to another, its about common interests, mutual respect, and the chemistry between them. My wife who has now passed, spent most of her childhood and all of her adult life in a wheelchair. Not seeing the wheelchair but the person instead was easy as we started talking on the phone before we met in person. When we did meet it was love at first sight and that love never left our relationship.


Dating can hold some special challenges. Not everywhere you might want to go is accessible. Inventing new ideas became the order of the day. My dates were simple and inexpensive. The local museum was a good choice. Long rides in the country were enjoyed by both of us, especially as the seasons were changing. Picnics at several local parks and time spent watching squirrels and birds gave us hours together. There was always your place or mine which didn't work for me because my apartment was on the second floor. We spent hours upon hours at her place always with a chaperone. In time going to church and the social functions they provided gave us more time together. There was really a kick for me finding new places to go and things to do which we both enjoyed.

Getting ready for marriage

We both knew from the very beginning we were meant for each other. By the time the first date was over we both knew we would be married someday. We spent time learning about each other and as time progressed we were finishing each others sentences. Both of us being God fearing people certain things were left until we were married, That was both frustrating and exhilarating. We both learned love does not depend on physical gratification.

Parents approval

Our parents both approved the marriage at a time when “marrying someone who was in a wheelchair” was almost taboo. My grandmother surely had something to say to my parents which made things easier. She had taken care of her husband for two years without the benefit of a wheelchair, a stroke had paralyzed one side of his body. My dad also had his hands full taking care of his mother through 7 years of downhill slide while she battled cancer.

Wedding Day

Our wedding day did not turn out as planned. We both wanted a simple wedding in front of a judge, which we did get. It's what happened when we got outside that totally surprised us. Our mothers and what seemed like half the townspeople were waiting for us as we exited the courthouse. The car had been given the usual treatment and we were told that going straight home was not an option. After driving about ten miles in a town that is only four miles across we sped away for our short lived honeymoon. In all honesty as long we were together it never ended.


We were always able to work things out to where we both gained. My only regret is she never got to realize her adult dream. She wanted to be the pilot of a small plane. Both of us gave up some things which were of interest to us while we were together. Its part of the compromise we all make when we get married. There were two job offers that had to be turned down because there was no work for her where the jobs were located. Neither would have paid enough for her to stop working which she had no desire to do anyway. Our parents were another reason for us to stay where we were. Her parents and siblings were always a big part of our lives as were my mother and grandmother. They all lived within two miles of us.

Dating after marriage

This is the biggest challenge of all. Its hard to do a spontaneous date when both people work full time and have different hours and days off. We still went on planned dates, this helps keep the honeymoon going on for as long as your married. Our love grew as we were first dating and to keep this fresh the dates continued. Friends and family's houses at times were where our dates started. They were not planned as they had been before marriage, just the time together. The special times were those which were spontaneous. They said we cared enough about each other to want time together even totally unplanned.

Ups and downs

Like in every marriage there were ups and downs. Getting sleep was near impossible for the first six months. She worked from two thirty PM until eleven forty five while my shift started at ten thirty PM and ended at six forty five AM. We were on the phone about every two hours because neither of us wanted to be separated while we both worked full time jobs.

Mutual respect and the love of a child

It was mutual respect and a child's needs that stopped the every two hour calls. When my son came into the picture (from a former marriage) sleep became a necessity because he needed full time awake care. He was 4 at the time and a sleep walker. It did not take long for him to worm his way into her heart. They quickly gained a love which everyone saw each time they were together. He was only with us in the summer and we were never quite the same after he returned to his other home.

Sometimes needed a little help

Growing up seeing the love my dad had for his mother, and hearing stories about the love my grandmother and grandfather shared shaped my life in ways which were not realized until much later. My wife was never seen as disabled, just as a loving person who sometimes needed a litte help. The rare times help was allowed always made my day. When one of my half brothers approached my mother about marrying someone in a wheel chair, the leg work had been done and he got his approval within minutes.


My need for a wheelchair didn’t start until we had been married three years. A series of accidents put me in bed for a year, then in a wheelchair for life. The last accident took the use my legs and my memories. This made my wife a stranger as there was no memory of her. Her love really showed when faced with adversity. Loving her as this new person was as easy as it had been before.

It does make a difference if the person could walk and now can’t because there is a process each person must go through before they grasp the reality that wheels are now a part of their life. It’s much like the grief process, this person lost something, an ability they took for granted, and this must be dealt with before they can move on.

Life without love is meaningless

Everybody knows true love is hard to find and not to be passed up. The idea of not having had that love in my life is unfathomable. Love comes from the heart nothing else should matter.

Do you consider the need for a wheelchair a reason not to date someone?

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    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      Brett.Tesol nice to see you again. Thanks for finding value in this article. I regret now posting part of this story elsewhere. Thanks for sharing.

      Stephanie Henkel this story was hard to write and share. In total two stories about my marriage were published and there will never be another. I am glad it touched you, it still does me every time I re read it to make a comment.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 years ago from USA

      What a lovely, well-written love story! This was a very touching piece, and struck a chord with me as my very favorite uncle was in a wheelchair when he and my aunt met, fell in love and married. They were both role models for me throughout my childhood and young adult years. Thanks for a lovely hub!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      9 years ago from Asia

      A very touching piece.

      I personally have no problem with how someone moves, or looks. I have a friend in the UK that is almost completely paralyzed from the neck down, but he is a great guy and I hardly notice it. OK, there are some compromises involved, but that's just life right.

      It is also the same with race, it still amazes me how some people would never consider having an interracial relationship ... some people are just stuck in the ways of the past I guess. Fortunately most out there have evolved.

      I also liked your line: Until death do us part means nothing, the two remain one, until there are none. As my mum passed when I was young, I gained an understanding of this through my fathers eyes.

      Thanks for SHARING, tweeting too.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      As a young man I didn't understand that when your truly in love a couple become 1. It takes both people putting into the relationship to end up with a great marriage. Each of the things said in the marriage ceremony mean something which is supposed to be lived. In the best the until death do us part means nothing, the two remain one, until there are none.

    • jeyaramd profile image


      9 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

      My heartfelt condolences for the loss of your spouse. Your story was beautifully written. The beauty of love transcends barriers. There is so much we can overcome with love. Thank you for sharing such a touching story. You really made my day. Voted up and beautiful.

    • tarajeyaram profile image


      9 years ago from Wonderland

      Wonderful hub. I am sorry about your loving wife. I totally agree with your statement 'Life without love is meaningless'. Love is a strange thing and it must be felt and experienced. Thank you for posting this hub.

      Happy marriage is about two people compromising and caring about each other. Thinking that they are one. You need to let go of your ego. You will find abundance in giving and when you give - you get more back. I totally agree with your comment - " marriage isn't about I - its about us!" voted up and interesting and shared it.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      ishwaryaa22 thanks for the read and the comment. This article was something close to my heart. I now use it to show those who are considering working with me the kind of person I am. After 13 years even though she is no longer with me in person she is still very much a part of my life. Irreplaceable without a doubt.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      Your story is very heart-touching, beautiful and inspiring. I am sorry that your wife had passed away.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      You know you have a good marriage when your mate is there for you no matter what happens. There is a lot more to a good marriage than that but to me that was the telling point. The love of my life truly loved me, not the wrapper I came in. She also knew I loved her and not her wrapper.

      Marriage is supposed to be two people becoming one entity. With the love of my life this was so. I have heard the term half and half but it never works that way.

      At times one carries a lot more than the other and this works both ways in a good marriage. There are always trials where one will take over until the other finds a way to cope. Marriage isn't about I its about us.

    • izettl profile image


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I agree. My husband was truly great during the worst time I've had. He jokes he didn't mind helping me get undressed. But I couldn't do much of anything for a couple of months. It really is too bad to know that many people would cut out on their spouse with something like a disability. Love is put to the test and some don't have what it takes. As you say about your late wife and you, you share a strong bond.

    • wheelinallover profile imageAUTHOR

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      9 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      In today's throw away world many couples find themselves in divorce court when a disability occurs after marriage.

      I personally heard from a spouse this isn't what I signed on for so get out. Not the one in this article though.

      I wrote this article as proof that love conquers all. True love isn't about what a person looks like or what they can or can't do.

      It's about actually being part of the other person. The triumphs and tragedies then are shared in a way any other two people will never understand, because you are "one".

    • izettl profile image


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      very useful article. There are numerous disabilities other than wheel chairs and this can be applied to many of them. It's something that needs to be given a second thought in my opinion. People fall in love, but the actual day to day existence is something else and takes careful consideration. For most of us, you can't do everything that everybody else can and that takes getting used to. It depends a lot on the disabled person's attitude about their disability. You chose to find things you CAN do with someone.

      I have rheumatoid arthritis, something I got after getting married and it's been a big adjustment. Still getting used to what I can and can't do. Again, I just want to say this article was great!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I read your post and do have to say although my marriage was a bed of roses, there were a few thorns along the way. We never fought, verbally or physically and for both of us it was a good thing. I didn't have much trouble adapting to her special needs, in fact some of them I really enjoyed. I loved to pick her up to move her from place to place. Before or since I have never met another person who was so compatible. Even after I went into a wheelchair also we found ways, she would have her brother pick her up so she could sit on my lap in my wheelchair. There was a lot of laughter while she was alive and many tears after she was gone. I still would not want to have missed my time with her for anything.

    • Rickrideshorses profile image


      10 years ago from England

      Great hub. Sorry to hear that your wife has now passed away. The way you and your partner first met is lovely and shows that a person's qualities as ahuman being are most important. It's always best to see the person inside and not just their body or their wheelchair and home adaptations.


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