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Finding the Right Mate

I'm disabled, my wife is able-bodied. I'm Jewish, she's Episcopalian. I used to refer to myself as the "crippled Jew" as I thought that was how I was perceived by my future in-laws.

There were concerns from both families because of my disability and our differences in religion. My mother expressed concern about the religion of our children. This prompted me to reveal to her the doubts of my being able to father children. I also told my mother about my discussions with Cheryl about adopting a child if it turned out that I could not impregnate her. Both my mother and Cheryl's parents were concerned for Cheryl and the burden I would be on her over the long run. Fortunately, neither Cheryl nor I saw me as a burden.

We are enjoying a wonderful marriage, 13 years and counting, and have a child who will be three soon. We have adopted a lifestyle that is less traditional then other heterosexual marriages and it works well for us. I do the dishes, the laundry, and the bathrooms while my wife is the primary bread winner working as a senior systems analyst. I enjoy decorating, shopping, and picking out clothes. Cheryl puts up the shelves, fixes the dryer when it breaks, washes the car, paints and wallpapers.

The formula that works for our relationship is based on equality, respect, mutual acceptance, trust in each other, realistic expectations, open and honest communication, and flexibility in roles. While none of these qualities are unique to a relationship where one or both partners have a chronic illness and/or disability, we believe they are critical for long term success and happiness.





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