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06/04/2013 02:52 pm ET Updated Jun 04, 2013

8 Things To Never Say To A Spouse Of A Person With A Disability

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By Jeff D. Gorman, The Mobility Resource

Strangers come up to me and say, “God bless you.” I didn’t even sneeze.

I know what they mean: God bless you for marrying a woman who uses a wheelchair.

People watch me and my wife wherever we go. I try to tell her it’s because we’re so good-looking.

Some people can’t fathom the idea of being able to walk but marrying someone who can’t. I’m not being a hero or a saint or a martyr when I say that her ability to walk really doesn’t matter.

It never mattered. When we met, I was instantly attracted to her. It’s not like I didn’t notice she was in a wheelchair, but I knew that it would be stupid of me not to ask her out for that reason.

So I get a lot of goofy comments. Maybe not as outrageous as the questions my wife gets, but people say things like this:

1) Do you need help with anything?
Actually, we have the whole getting in and out of the car thing under control. If I need help, I can ask. We would rather be considered “the fun couple” than always being considered “the wheelchair couple.”

2) You are such a good person.

Thanks, but you don’t really know me. I guess it’s better than “You are such a bad person.” But how do you know my wife didn’t get into car accident 10 years after we got married? Am I good for staying with her? Don’t people with disabilities deserve to be loved?

3) What happened to her?

Why don’t you ask her? Better yet, don’t. I didn’t ask her for a year. Even then, I only learned why she used a wheelchair because I was standing there when my friend asked. If she wants you to know, she’ll tell you.

4) Let’s push her down the stairs!

I know you were trying to be funny, but that’s not okay. First of all, don’t joke about hurting my wife. Second of all, you’re not treating her like a person, but like a vehicle, simply because she’s sitting on something with wheels.

5) You two are inspirational.

Thanks, but we’re not doing anything right now. We didn’t save a drowning kitten or open an orphanage. We’re just here to watch a movie.

6) What does she want to eat?

Ask her. In fact, ask her what I want to eat. I’m sure it’s healthier than what I have in mind.

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7) You’re such a saint.

Saint Dominic -- now this is what a Saint looks like! Yes, I’ve heard this, too. I’m a couple miracles short of sainthood. One thing you forget is that your spouse could be in a wheelchair in the blink of an eye. It only takes one car accident. It could happen to you, too. My wife would help me with my needs if our situation were reversed. That’s not a miracle: it’s just the whole “for better or worse” part of the marriage vows.

8) You take such good care of her.

My grandma used to tell me to “take care” of my wife and I would always respond, “She takes good care of me.” She got a job, bought a house and ministered to international students without any help from me –- long before she met me. I have some talent as a writer and sportscaster, but I have no idea how to find better jobs or market myself. She takes care of all of that for me. Check out the video she filmed and edited to help me in my quest to get on national TV as a pro wrestling announcer.

If it wasn’t for my wife, I would be eating bologna sandwiches, barely scraping by and hoping that my dreams would come true with no idea how to make them come true.

So who’s taking care of whom?

This post originally appeared on The Mobility Resource.

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