Aaron and I are getting married next Saturday, May 18. We’ve invited 70 of our close friends and family. Originally we started with only 30 guests, but somehow we’ve ended up with 70 guests 🙂 It’s going to be such a magical day as there are so many family friends I have not seen in over a decade. We have a weekend full of events to celebrate. We are very excited and scrambling to finalize last-minute details. Unfortunately, I’ve developed bronchitis at the most inopportune time and have been battling it for the last several weeks. I have one week to go before the wedding and I am doing everything in my power to get well quickly. It’s been a challenging several weeks as bronchitis for quadriplegics can be immensely difficult since we do not have abdominal muscles to help us cough up that nasty phlegm associated with bronchitis. It’s not a pretty sight! However, dealing with any kind of illness as a quadriplegic requires help from caregivers, family members, and loved ones. I’ve had a team of people helping me over the last several weeks for which I am extremely grateful. I have locked myself down in my house for the last 3 weeks and have had many hours to rest, read, and recuperate. I came across this article written by the New Yorker on the topic of “What Romance really means after 10 years of Marriage.” The basic premise of the article addressed how the definition of a romance and sexiness changes after a decade of marriage. This really resonated with me because from the perspective of dating a person with a disability I find that Aaron and I have transformed our definition of romance in just a few short years, which I suspect takes many couples a decade to achieve. Let me explain. In the traditional sense I’ve always associated keeping romance alive with making that effort to go on dates together, making sure we maintain an active sex life, keeping the spontaneity fresh, buying flowers for one another, still having the desire to tear each other’s clothes off, and so much more. This version of romance is all about the thrilling moments to keep the butterflies alive and the passion high. While it is important, it’s certainly not everything. I suppose after a decade of marriage many couples don’t need any more proof that they are meant to be together because they have been through so much already. I am just about to get married and have been with Aaron for three years, and while I still have the desire to tear his clothes off on a regular basis I think we’ve reached a point in our relationship where it feels like we have been together for decades. You see when you are paralyzed and need help from dressing to bathing to going to the bathroom, etc. both partners have to become comfortable very quickly with all bodily functions that go along with the relationship. When we first started dating I kept much of what was involved in my care in a separate box. I only wanted to show Aaron the sexy side of me and to make sure that we got to know one another before throwing in the mix of what is truly involved in being together with someone with a disability in the long-term. For Example – About nine months into our relationship I purchased this really sexy lingerie, decorated the whole house with flowers & candles with one of my friends, and surprised Aaron for a night of true sexy romance. It was unbelievable, exciting, surprising, and fun. After about a year of dating we both agreed that he needed to dive into every aspect of my life if we were going to have a meaningful long-term relationship. And now I’m going to tell you the most romantic story of all – Over the last several weeks while battling bronchitis I have been a complete mess. There was one night in particular where every 20 minutes I had to get up, put my head in between my legs and cough up some pretty gnarly phlegm. I can’t do this alone, so Aaron lovingly and kindly sat me up and down, hitting my back, wiping my face, and tending to me for hours on end late at night. He then quietly stroked my hair as I went to sleep gasping for air. Throughout the night anytime I coughed or wheezed he was up in an instant. We were exhausted, but he didn’t complain once, he quietly cared for me and did what needed to be done. This is the definition of sexy, too! A Funny Romance Story – Whenever I wear shirts I were the sticky little boob cups instead of bras. It’s much more comfortable for me because I have hypersensitivity on my shoulders. Well, one night at a bar they simply popped off. I snuck into the ladies restroom with Aaron and we tried desperately to fiddle with the little guys to get them stuck back on my boobs properly – all while having ladies banging on the door to try and get in. We were laughing, drinking, and I was just thinking about the absurdity of having another man in a public women’s restroom trying get her breasts back in place! I don’t think many couples getting married have such intimate experiences with one another with dealing what we have to on a regular basis until years after they are married. Laughing at how beaten down you are sometimes in your tireless quest to survive – that’s romance. It’s sexy to feel less than totally sexy and still feel like you’re sexy to one person, no matter what. It’s one thing to have a night of passionate sex, which is essential, but I think it’s true love when it’s 10 PM and you crawl into bed like two old people, tell each other about the weird things you did that day, laugh, tell stupid jokes & giggle, watch a silly show, and fall asleep together. In three short years Aaron I have grown more than I have ever grown with another human being to a place where I feel like we have been married for decades. And yet, we are just starting what can only be an incredible adventure together. Aaron, if you are reading this – I love you, I can’t wait to be your wife in just over a week, and take on the world together!