Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Deaf and Hearing Marriage Part 2

One issue our pastor, who is a CODA (meaning he has Deaf parents) brought up was the "balance of power".  To me, this is the major thing to consider before marrying, Deaf or not, but especially if the world sees one of you as "disabled".  Often, Deaf and hearing marriages fail because the Deaf person becomes dependent on the hearing person and/or the hearing person pities the Deaf person.  I never pitied Deaf people to begin with, but Ken was truly the driving force in keeping our marriage balanced.  Ken is equal to a hearing person and presents himself as such.  

Ken orders at restaurants.  Ken makes the calls needed to run our household (utilities, plumber, yard guy, etc.).  I don't interpret for Ken at movies.  I don't follow him to the doctor or on a job interview.  He doesn't use interpreters for that stuff anyway.  As I'm sitting on his office floor, editing this post, he's making a call to our adoption agency while I watch/listen in.  He wanted to call to ask them questions.  His first resort is not to come to me to ask me to make a call for him, even if he wants me in on the call. 

I don't interpret "for Ken.".  I do interpret 1 or 2 times a month at church and he is in the audience.  For a few years, we went to a church where he was the only Deaf person and I was the only interpreter., One reason we left is that neither of us were comfortable with that setup.  Many people there assumed I signed for Ken everywhere we went.  People would comment about how Ken was "lucky to have me" and "how sweet it was that I signed for him."  At our wedding, one lady said, "Ken is so lucky to have found someone to meet his special needs."  We still joke about that one!  These comments came from lovely people, but ones who were ignorant regarding Deaf people.  The comments, despite the intentions behind them, are patronizing, demeaning and oppressive.

Ken and I depend on each other just as any married couple.  He depends on me to teach the kids and be a manager of our home.  I depend on him to lead our family, provide for us, reach high places and take care of all our electronics needs. Ha!  That's an oversimplification, but you understand me, right?  We both meet each other's "special needs."  Don't all married couples?

Read Part 1

1 comment:

  1. i loved your last line, about how we all meet each other's special needs! :) or are at least tolerant of them i suppose. ha ha! :)

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