“Believe it or not there have been some individuals who have expressed surprise that I could be happily married to a woman in a wheelchair."
Doug Michaels is husband of motivational speaker and former Miss Wheelchair USA Tasha Schuh. “My first inclination is to be upset at their ignorance. But I now realize that by helping others know more about how my relationship with my wife came about, they might gain valuable insight into their own relationships and the challenges every couple must face.”
The beginning of their love story
Doug and Tasha first connected via online dating. “There were two things she brought out in her profile that revealed her heart: the fact that she was in a wheelchair, and she loved God…I was so impressed that she didn’t hide her injury or faith.” Others have wondered why he would pursue a relationship with someone in a wheelchair. “Honestly I never gave much thought initially,” he admits. “I had been through several failed relationships and attempts at dating, so my main concern was more about being hurt or disappointed again.” They began their relationship like many other couples, getting to know each other via emails and phone calls, figuring out if it was worth pursuing. “Not personally knowing anyone in a wheelchair I wasn’t sure how much I should ask, and if there were any questions just too taboo to ponder at this stage,” he admits. “I quickly discovered, however, that Tasha was an open book when it came to revealing information.”
Doug is quick to point out that although there were questions around Tasha’s accident and her disability, that wasn’t the sole subject. “Other questions were not unlike those anyone would ask when embarking on a new relationship, including desires, hopes and dreams for the future,” he shares. Eventually after a month of getting to know each other online and on the phone, the two decided to go on their first date. Although Doug admits he thought about what others might think about seeing them together as a couple, “All I knew was that nothing was going to stop me from having a great first date with Tasha.”
Committing to a future together
And a great first date it was and the couple blossomed. “Future dates continued to go well and we had so much fun together, any lingering fears that I had were gone,” shares Doug. Now, he doesn’t see Tasha’s wheelchair as anything other than a mode of transportation. Doug is not shy to gush about Tasha’s beauty, her heart and her captivating personality, all elements that led him to make Tasha his wife. What Tasha is unable to do, or what might require more planning due to her wheelchair is a non-factor for these lovebirds. He is grateful to have learned that the reactions of others should never impact his relationship. “Whenever I was curious about something, I asked. This actually prevented fear from setting in,” he shares. “I knew that it would be a learning process as we went and I wouldn’t know all the answers right away, but it has been fun to grow together.”
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