What is it about love that makes people turn and take notice?
We are one of those couples that loves to show affection. Around town, people catch glimpses of us racing down the street in my wheelchair with Megan perched in my lap. Typically, we receive many double takes with inquisitive looks. While the automatic assumption is the dynamic between us is anything but husband/wife, the question for those who do recognize the love between us is clear.
Fundamentally, there is no difference between our relationship and the relationships of those without disabilities, and yet so often there is a prevailing assumption that those of us with disabilities don’t seek out or have the same type of intimate relationships as others.
For us, we have learned that our greatest strengths as a couple come from our ability to utilize our strengths and challenge each other’s own limiting beliefs. The foundation lies in our ability to create an open and fun atmosphere where each of us can support each other.
I often hear people saying to Megan, “You’re so good for marrying him.”
And while I personally agree, it comes from a completely different place than how they intend with assumptions that she is solely in the caretaking role with little if any reciprocation. The fact is, that while they choose to see it or not, our marriage is a partnership of mutual support and affection.
At a mere glimpse, it may be difficult for them to see the occasions where I run to the bank, post office, or grocery store to pick up dinner, and the times when after a difficult day, Megan feels not only supported, but uplifted by an embrace and loving ear.
By far, however, the places where we support one another the most are the times where we stretch the other to go beyond their comfort zone. This is particularly evident in the moments where we challenge each other to take big leaps and move into the places that are both scary and offer the biggest potential for fulfillment.
Understanding this dynamic of how we interact, serving as counter-balances and catalysts to inspire growth in the other person, has influenced our professional lives, as well as our individual growth.
Most significantly, our ability to see each other as fully whole and capable human beings builds a mutual trust and understanding that we can and, given sufficient time, will discover our own creative solutions to challenges.
As leadership coach, I combine my experience of living with cerebral palsy and a professional background in leadership development to empower people with and without disabilities to discover a vision of independence through building engaging relationships within their communities.
This background sets the foundation for a personal perspective that reveals potential and possibility where others would typically see fear and danger.
For example, shortly after we were married, I received a phone call from the apartment complex in Raleigh, NC where we were hoping to move later that year. They had an opening for an accessible apartment far sooner than expected, and just couldn’t say no. Without solid work lined up, I accepted, and called Megan to share the news.
“We’re moving in two weeks!”
There was silence on the other end of the line, and then, “We’re doing what?” Amazingly, we pulled it off and while we never intended to move in such short notice, it has proven to be the best move of our lives, offering both of us opportunities that neither could have ever foreseen.
Husband and wife team, Barton and Megan Cutter empower individuals of all abilities to live fully engaged lives. Through their work as leadership coaches, writers, and national speakers, they break many barriers through being open about their relationship, speaking nationally about inclusive leadership training, creating healthy relationships, relationships and disabilities and self-defense for people with disabilities.