The Marriage Possibility

A documentary about the marriage of two adults with intellectual disabilities is up for an Emmy award.  The film, “Monica & David,” premiered in 2010 on HBO.

Journalist Michelle Diament writes … “When Monica and David Martinez got married five years ago, they were not your average bride and groom — both have Down Syndrome. Deeply in love and committed to each other, their union nonetheless put the couple among a minority of people with developmental disabilities walking down the aisle.”

Ms. Diament’s interesting 2010 article came to mind upon receiving an email from one of our readers.

“I have a 27 year old daughter with mild MR who wants to get married.  Would like to find an LDS group with similar needs to get ideas from and know how to handle a situation such as this.  I need help!”

As Latter-day Saints, we put considerable emphasis on marriage … culturally as well as doctrinally.  No child growing up in the Church, however challenged, can fail to absorb that.   But what factors go into determining whether marriage and its responsibilities are feasible for a given individual, particularly when his or her disability is an intellectual one?  And who gets to be involved in that decision?  Certainly, parents have a stake.  What about Church leaders?  Are Bishops prepared to counsel in this area?  With agency being a core principle of the gospel, at what level of accountability does that have to be respected?  And then — let’s just say it — there’s the question of childbearing.

This may be an uncomfortable topic for some, but let’s discuss it.  Let’s be there for this sister.  Let’s be the source of insight, education, and comfort The Liahona Project was created to be.

3 Responses to “The Marriage Possibility”

  1. Stephanie Roach Stephanie

    My beautiful, precious 10 year old girl talks about getting married and having children of her own. My heart aches for her already and my husband and I pray every single day that she’ll find a wonderful man who loves her and wants to marry her. We plan on always having a house that’s big enough for her to live relatively independently in our basement if she can’t live alone, and we’d welcome her husband as well.

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  2. Lisa Riska Lisa Riska

    I asked a knowledgeable source if there were any Church policy on this and his reply was . . . “To my knowledge there are not specific guidelines on this issue, but there are some guidelines regarding covenants and persons with intellectual disabilities in Handbook 1 that may be useful to the priesthood leader they are working with as they counsel on the issue together.”

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  3. Susan Greer Susan Greer

    Wow – only 2 responses? I’m going to bet that this article didn’t reach a lot of readers. This is a very emotionally charged subject. My daughter is 25 and has talked about getting married as long as I can remember. I have given great consideration to her right to agency. I also realize that while I am now her guardian and have the final say, I won’t be around forever. What about her siblings agency and how my decisions also affect them. Well, for now anyway I’ve been let off the hook. My daughter’s boyfriend has partially controlled seizures and his parents won’t allow him to marry and he accepts that. That certainly lets me off the hook. They do talk about getting married during the millennium. She can give a verbal list of the advantages – such as there won’t be kidnappers to endanger her children. We had a talk one day and I told her that meant she would probably have to die first so it would be a long time. I wondered if she wanted to try to find somebody she could marry sooner than that. She was horrified and asked, “Why would you even suggest that, I love him” So just to be clear I asked, “So you want him no matter how long it takes?” Her reply was a definite YES! So for now it is daily phone calls and monthly dates which seems to fulfill today’s need.

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