Leah Leilani, born with muscular dystrophy, says the most influential people in her life are her parents. In honor of her parents’ 30th wedding anniversary, Leah interviews them to show a perspective on marriage while raising a child with a disability.
“Marriage isn’t easy. It takes good communication, unconditional love, and understanding. It’s give-and-take. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, although having a disabled child can definitely put a marriage through extra-intense tests.”
The first question Leah asks her parents is “How has having a child with a disability changed your marriage?” Both parents feel that having a child with a disability has made their marriage stronger. Leah’s mom says, “Our marriage is stronger because it has made us realize what the true meaning of love is. Truly loving someone means that leaving is not an option.” Leah’s dad feels that having a child with a disability made their relationship stronger because they had to figure out how to work together. Also, since becoming retired, Leah’s dad realizes what Leah and her mom go through on a daily basis.
Leah’s dad gives advice to other married couples. He says, “To take time for yourself. Do not complain. Spend as much time as you can together even if you’re in the same room but doing different activities.” The couple suggests doing activities together that you both enjoy.
“Well, I’ve learned to put the well-being of our marriage above everything else. I believe compromise is essential as a way of sustaining a marriage.”
Leah asks her parents, “What would you have liked to have known about being married while raising a child with a disability?” Leah’s dad says he would have liked to have known how difficult it would be. Leah’s mom says that she would have liked to have had a mentor or life coach to discuss with.
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