Whenever we think of married life, we think of having a partner with a charming personality and good looks. But have we ever thought of having a spouse with paralysis or a disability?
When one partner gets a physical disability suddenly or slowly over time because of a disease that weakens them, the problems worsen.
Paraplegia is usually a loss of senses in your lower body due to any accidental cause, like a spinal cord injury or even something congenital. Although everybody is at risk for sustaining paraplegia after a spinal cord injury, men are statistically more likely to suffer one each year in the United States.
Many states have explored the possibility of letting patients employ their caregiver, who is typically a wife or husband in either case.
But the paralysis of a partner, especially a husband, can cause significant disruption to companionship, including the social and psychological aspects. Still, it should not spell the end of the two of you, as the best way to support a paraplegic partner depends on the individual situation and relationship.
It will undoubtedly change your daily life, but you can still do the same activities as other couples and families.
Would you leave your spouse if he became paralyzed?
There are women around the globe who have married people with paraplegia. We are referring to only a few of them,
In A New Dawn for Us, Kristen Sachs writes about life after her husband, Jeff, was paralyzed in a beach diving accident. She claims that romantic relationships can continue even after a spinal cord injury. It’s because of this that we’ve gotten to know each other. Our collaboration is quite productive. We work well together as a unit. Before this, we were both independently employed full-time. Recently, we’ve been spending a lot more time together. I’m happy that our bond is so solid. My feelings for him go beyond that.
Another woman, Inger-Lise Gabrielsen, says marriage is the promise made when two people exchange vows. She also says that, in reality, you understand and learn to accept that the person and your life have changed. When you decide to love them, you commit to being there for them regardless of their health or disability.
It takes a lot of emotional, financial, and physical energy to care about someone with paralysis or another disability. But that’s exactly what it is: a challenge, and life is full of them. Rather than constantly trying to avoid them, we must learn to accept and work with them. Puja shares her story of having a paraplegic partner and how she took it as a challenge.
Sadly, many people do not believe that a person who is able-bodied would ever marry a disabled person. However, they do, and their romantic relationship is, in many respects, not much different from anyone else’s.
They might be even more powerful and superior in some circumstances.
Here are ten tips for sharing a life with a paraplegic husband.
1. Don’t Let Disability Change Things.
The first step is to accept that something has changed, but life doesn’t stop here. If a spouse has been an active participant in the family, the person with disabilities might have experienced a shift in personality.
Keep him aware of his worth, such as by giving him compliments. This helps to reduce feelings of loss or detachment, which is beneficial to their well-being and encourages them to stay positive and energetic.
Be patient and understanding.
It is essential to be patient and empathetic with paraplegic partners as they adjust to their new situation of not being able to do things as they used to. It has been seen that people with spinal cord injuries have a high rate of depression, which is usually expected.
Keeping an empathic attitude towards the person makes it easy for both partners.
Be a good listener, offer support, and let them do the same without making judgments. Communication is the glue that holds the marriage together.
Be their Companion First.
Being a caregiver and partner can be tricky, but it’s important to remember to be their partner first and respect their needs. Doing so will help secure the relationship and make things easier for the paraplegic spouse and caregiver.
4. Help with everyday tasks:
A study published in 2011 in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-being found that people with abrupt spinal injuries often face difficulties regaining a fully functional everyday life.
This means a paraplegic spouse may need help with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
Offer to help with these tasks, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed, as working together as a team is key to any successful marriage.
5. Practice Team Work.
Caring for a loved one does not have to be a solo effort, as it can affect their health.
Seek support from relatives and friends. Ask your neighbors for assistance. It ensures that when you feel low or burned out, they are here to help.
We also recommend you seek outside help from support groups and communities.
Try searching for online forums if you still have questions.
6. Stay Strong.
Remember that your friends and family don’t live your life, and it may take a while to understand why you chose your spouse. You may also need to remind yourself that you are struggling along against obstacles, not your partner.
7. Get Intimate.
A disability can change how a couple makes love, but sexual activity need not cease following a paraplegic event, contrary to common perception.
Things will be difficult and different. Still, it is possible to experience closeness, as studies have shown that 50–65% of men with spinal cord injuries have arousal.
Wheelchair users and those who indulge in wheelchair sex should use caution to avoid falling out of or tipping over the chair.
Before engaging in sexual activity, those with physical restrictions should consult a doctor to discuss any special measures they should take to ensure their safety.
8. Use Technology.
Technology, like assistive devices, can help couples deal with the setback and carry out specific tasks, like letting a person in a wheelchair cook or giving someone more freedom and mobility.
Equipment, such as reachers and sock aides, assists partially paralyzed individuals in dressing independently.
9. Keep the fun alive!
Keep having fun, even if the change has come about. Although your paralyzed spouse may need you to slow down, it’s crucial that you still maintain an active and engaged role in their life. Don’t let the disability be the “third person” in your relationship.
The fun stops at no age and helps adjust to life with a disabled spouse, ensuring there is still joy in the marriage.
Find things the two of you can look forward to doing together and get them into your schedule regularly. Activities like a movie night, painting, visiting the library, playing board games, or even cooking together can help.
10. Don’t Forget About Yourself.
You won’t be able to properly care for your spouse if you neglect your health and well-being.
This also increases the risk of burnout if you take on more work than you can do, which leads to an overflow of unpleasant feelings.
Nearly three-quarters of caregivers should see a doctor more often than they do, and half don’t visit.
All of this feels like too much for one person to handle. These few ideas can help.
- Take a few minutes to rest and refresh every day.
- Keep a healthy schedule for when you eat and sleep.
- Identify the situations that set off your negative feelings.
- Avoid letting stress get the best of you, and schedule regular checkups with your doctor.
Caring for a person with paraplegia is a challenging transition, marked by conflicting emotions like relief and grief, and also quite taxing sometimes. Despite the ongoing hurdles, caring for a paralyzed spouse can be extremely satisfying and gratifying for the caregiver.
If you’re a woman thinking about dating someone who uses a wheelchair, keep in mind that the most important thing is the person inside. Stay strong and know that you are not alone in your care for him, no matter how lonely it may feel.