Tags: care giver, care giving, daily living, direct care support, direct support, disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, interability marriage, Megan Cutter, personal assistants, personal care assistants
We’ve received some inquiries recently about how I take care of Barton, which are great questions. But I thought this would be a good time to dispel some myths and open the discussion for care taking in a marriage. While we all like to think that our partnerships are 50/50% equal, most likely- they are not. And the balance on who is holding the weight fluctuates according to what is going on at the time. We each need different things at different points in our marriage (disability or not).
Every inter-ability marriage is different, so before sharing our perspective and experience, we want to be assured that in the end, you and your partner must find your own way that works for you.
In our relationship, it is essential that as much as possible Barton and I honor the husband-wife relationship as being separate from actual caretaking that he or I may need.
Certainly, Barton needs help in the morning bathing, dressing, basic hygiene, and we either find private personal care assistants, organizations or even friends to help fill this role. Over the years, Barton has had a number of personal care assistants, and he runs this process from interviewing, hiring, reviewing and in some cases firing assistants. It is an on-going process that must be maintained, and while it is not always easy, Barton values having someone other than me heading up this role.
We are also aware of the times when I do help Barton get up in the morning- how that affects my day- physically, time, and energy level. In addition, we have found that it very subtle ways it affects our connection as husband and wife, so we work very hard to keep me out of the sole care giving role.
Perhaps the bigger question is how we define care taking in a marriage. We would argue that there are many other forms of taking care of each other in our marriage.
Picking up dinner, running errands, grocery runs, bank deposits and other daily tasks is one area that when I am having a bad day or crazy week, Barton takes over- and I can’t tell you what a blessing it is. On a particularly difficult day, Barton emailed me a poem he had written, and I will say it was exactly what I needed at the time. Allowing myself to become vulnerable and fall into Barton’s arms is another. A reminder to do meditation or to take time out for ourselves so that we can find our center is also a vital part of care taking.
I am pulling out all of the things that Barton does for me, to take care of me because most people wouldn’t even consider it when they comment, “You are so good to have married him.” I want to say, “I am so blessed to have Barton,” but I know that explaining how or why will fall short.
Our methods and systems will shift, when we have a child someday, as we grow older, if something happened to me. But we will figure it out, in a way that honors the care taking we both need in our marriage.