Throughout their younger years, blind people dedicate a great deal of time learning how to adapt in order enjoy the same independence as sighted people do. They go to school to get the same type of education as their peers. They learn to read, write and acquire skills that will earn them a job. As they grow, their family grows with them, and learns how to adjust their own attitudes as their loved one continues to gain independence.
But then love comes along, with sight, and suddenly an important person in their life has to learn to adjust to their blindness, as they must learn how to relinquish some of that independence they worked so hard to achieve. Marriage for a blind person is just like any other, full of compromise, caring and commitment to make sure that both partner’s needs and desires are met.
Marriage From the Perspective of the Blind Partner
By the time a blind person reaches the point where they are ready to commit to marriage, they have most likely become accustomed to the disability and comfortable in navigating most situations alone. It is difficult to then merge this world with a sighted person, but not impossible.
For them, they have to realize that now there is someone else in their life who loves them and wants to keep them safe. The idea of their blind partner crossing streets or cooking dinner alone is going to be scary at first. The best thing a blind person can do is allow a certain level of over nurturing at first until their partner becomes accustomed to their independence as well as their limitations. By indulging the need to help one or two times, the sighted partner will learn faster just how capable their blind spouse is.
Marriage from the Perspective of the Sighted Partner
Unless they grew up with a blind sibling or parent, a sighted person has no idea how much work has gone into gaining independence. While on one level they do view their partner as an equal, there is an underlying need to protect them from harm.
Some of the best practices a sighted person can develop is to respect their spouses independence. This may be difficult at first, but blind people are well aware of their own limitations and will know when it is the right time to ask for help. Beyond this, the only real difference for the sighted partner is the need for a heightened sense of awareness in the home.
Furniture should not be randomly moved around, objects should always be put back in their rightful space and they may find themselves directing their partner in the right direction more often than in other relationships. Yet these compromises will soon become second nature, as the sighted person learns the subtleties of keeping the home comfortable and functional for a blind spouse.
The old adage that love is blind is very true and there are couples all over the world who are working together at being a family and raising children with one partner who does not have sight. The important thing is to remember not to lose sight of what really matters, which is the love and commitment that has been promised to one another.