Love & the Disability Factor, part three

I carried the hope in my heart to college. I wondered if I’d find a guy there and the story I imagined would grow after graduation. But I moved back home with the hope hanging on an unfulfilled dream….

A dream for marriage. A longing for love. A hope for my turn. All that seemed far away and impossible.

There were questions I was hesitant to ask. I left them unspoken for years. Because I wasn’t hiding simple questions, such as: does that guy like me? what should I wear on my date? I was holding onto fears, unconfessed insecurities.

It didn’t help that I could sense a big misconception in culture that says — People with disabilities can’t date or get married.

When do I see this misconception, you may wonder? When do I feel it happening to me? I can think of a few specific scenarios.

Scenario #1: People (outside my inner circle of friends) don’t ask me if I have the normal desire for marriage. People don’t consider my own struggle with singleness and acknowledge they will pray for me in this area of life too.

Scenario #2: Extended relatives have talked about who was left to get married. My brothers were named and various cousins. No one mentioned me. I was right there. I was a part of the conversation, but I didn’t speak up. At the time, I wasn’t ready to talk.

Both scenarios can leave me feeling frustrated and invisible.

Frustrated = I don’t always know how to respond in the moment.
Invisible = There is a strange underlying assumption in culture that physical limitations automatically moves me to a separate category. The “I have a disability, so I’m not an option” category.

For years, I didn’t understand my unasked questions and secret insecurities. I was confused by what culture told me and I wanted to doubt my normal dream.

I needed time to finally put what was hidden in my heart into concrete words —

My fears about love are connected to my disability.
My invisible dream gets stuck behind the visible limits.
My hope for love has a filter called the disability factor.

The disability factor says:

I have dreams that will never be fulfilled. (i.e., marriage)

I will always be stuck in the friend zone, and not seen as a potential date.

My life is too limited for me to “put myself out there” and follow standard advice / rules.

I will never find a guy who likes me, who chooses me, who loves me in return. (ultimate fear)

Here’s a bonus —

I can’t do online dating because I’ve heard horror stories of abuse and other creepy things.
(When building any new friendship, I rely on my strong intuition. I have to know if I can trust the person enough to ask for hands-on help. I do have a disability I can’t erase or hide.)

But I refuse to listen to the misconception or my own fears. I’ve read plenty of stories and I know
Many people with disabilities get married. Many find a spouse who looks past the disability factor. Many have amazing relationships.

All day long my heart can ask — will a guy ever choose me, love me, want me as a wife?

Yes, there would be challenges to figure out. There are still so many unknowns. Impossible or not, God hasn’t changed my desire.

I don’t know the who, how, or when. I can’t let my fears limit what God can do. But I can trust in the story God is writing.

I hold onto the hope that affirms my impossible dream. A hope that tells me I am worthy of love. The kind of love that sees me as another whole person. A love that looks beyond fears, past visible limits, and believes in the impossible becoming possible in beautiful ways.

(stay tuned for part four…I share stories from others next week.)