September 4th, 1999 was the first day of the rest of their lives. This particular autumn day was carefully selected by Barb and Murray for their much anticipated wedding day! Although many obstacles were in their way, this couple never gave up and moved steadily forward for several years in their journey towards being united in marriage. Marriages are something that is seen infrequently for people who have intellectual disabilities. Often, when a couple expresses a desire to be married they may encounter undue resistance from those around them thinking they may know best for them. This was also the case for Barb and Murray and yet their tenacity, determination, and love for one another prevailed through that resistance to make their dream come true on that special day over ten years ago.
Barb and Murray celebrated their 10th anniversary this past September. They wanted to tell their story to inspire others to follow their dreams and not give up should they want to be united in marriage with someone they loved. They are frank when they talk about their life as a married couple and say “that being together every day isn’t always easy, you just have to know that you have people around you who will help you get back on track.” And they follow that statement with, “but we love one another and we will do whatever it takes to be happy together.” Their insight is admirable.
In a move towards creating awareness these past few years have found Barb and Murray being invited to speak to college and university students on their personal struggles and accomplishments during their journey as a couple. They openly express that their hope in speaking out is to tell their story so that the people who want to have loving relationships today will maybe encounter less conflict than they did years ago. They put it simply by saying that they hope that people will respect and accept the decisions people with disabilities make should they want to be in a relationship that may involve living together or being married.
Although this couple reached their big dream some ten years ago, Barb and Murray continue to set new goals they can enjoy together. They are currently planning an much anticipated anniversary trip in Florida, a place they both want to share in the celebration of their marriage and build new memories they can hold close to their hearts as they grow older together. They have expressed the importance of keeping their dreams alive and hope others can be as fortunate as them.