Dating with disability

Challenges of marriage for the physically challenged


Saudi Gazette report

MANY people with disabilities face challenges in getting married and finding the right spouse. However, there are successful cases where a disabled man gets married to a physically fit bride and vice versa, Al-Riyadh daily reports. Marriage among people with disabilities continues to be a social and humanitarian issue, which has proved to be controversial as well.

The way people look at the disabled is one of the hurdles facing physically challenged people, preventing them from finding the right partner.

Abdulrahman Al-Anazi, a court clerk with a physical disability, does not have any difficulty in carrying out his duties. His work entails face-to-care meetings with members of the public, archiving, and preparation of various legal statements for clients who have cases pending in the court.

“A disabled person can do his job as perfectly as anyone else. However, it is important that the line manager does not treat the disabled person in a different way than his colleagues,” he said.

Al-Anazi called upon ministries and other government agencies to train the disabled to do different kinds of jobs and prepare them for the labor market.

He wants to get married but every time he finds a suitable woman, her family rejects his proposal due to his physical disability. He is currently getting prepared to marry to a young woman who has a hearing impairment.

Dana Al-Amr, 35, had suffered a polio attack and so did her husband. They have a little daughter who is healthy and does not have any health problems.

Dana works for a child rehabilitation center.

“My husband and I are disabled but we lead a normal life. We help one another get over any problems we face in our daily lives. We are completely independent and we do not need anyone to help us move around. We help each other in household chores,” she said.

When she was pregnant, she was happy and did not feel any pain or difficulty. She feels sad sometimes when people refuse to regard people with disabilities as normal. She strongly believes that people, whether disabled or not, who have a strong determination can achieve their goals.

Fahad Al-Malki suffers from visual impairment and has been married for 10 years. He has had three children with his healthy wife.

"Disabled people should have the willpower to come to terms with the disability, to get along with other members of society and not to feel annoyed when someone looks at them as disabled. If a man with a physical challenge can work and provide for a family, then he should get married," Al-Malki said.

“Of course, the few first weeks of marriage can be challenging and difficult for a disabled person. They were difficult for me as I could not drive and had to take my wife and sometimes a friend to help me because of my poor vision,” he said.

Another difficulty a disabled man might face is rejection by the woman’s family, he noted. "Most families refuse to let their daughters get married to someone with a disability for fear that their daughters will suffer in future," he said.

Jawaher Al-Hulaibi, a psychiatrist, says a disabled person faces several obstacles when he or she wants to get married. These obstacles might cause internal conflicts in the person’s mind. Her advice to any disabled man who wants to tie the knot is to win his family’s support because only his family will support him 100 percent and stand by him. The second thing is he should choose a woman who believes in him and understands his condition.