Staying together and keeping a marriage going seems to be a difficult task nowadays as we are constantly informed about celebrities breaking up (take Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan). Is a happily-ever-after still possible or is it just an illusion?
If it’s hard for a “regular” couple to stay together, some might say it might be extra hard for people with special needs. A lot of people might think that people with Down’s Syndrome can’t take care of themselves, let alone take care of a loved one or even children.
Tommy Pilling and his wife Maryanne prove otherwise. They are the first Down’s Syndrome couple in the UK that got married. They got married over 20 years ago in Essex and their marriage was perceived by some with criticism and skepticism.
The couple fell in love and decided to get married, despite what some negative people around them said. They have proved the skeptics wrong because they have been married for 24 years now. Maryanne and Tommy met each other in 1991 at a day center. After this, they dated for 18 months before Tommy proposed to Maryanne.
Being married for over 20 years is cause for a celebration and they’ve received a lot of love and support from millions of people on social media.
They re-enacted their first dance, from the movie Dirty Dancing, in celebration of their anniversary. They danced intimately as if there was no one else in the room.
“My wedding was the best day of my life. I was shocked when Tommy proposed but I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes,” Maryanne shared to Independent.co.uk. “Tommy and I never argue. I love my husband very much. He is my best friend,” she added.
After they got married, Maryanne and Tommy went on to live in their own home. Lindi Newman, Maryanne’s sister and her family live next door, however, so they can help out if the couple needs help.
As their relationship continues, the marriages becomes stronger and they’ve never regretted tying the knot. They are grateful for the support they have received, especially from Maryanne’s mother who stood by their decision every step of the way.
Maryanne’s mother received a lot of criticism when she allowed the two to get married, but she always had their backs. “Maryanne had dreamed about a big white wedding since she was a little girl and that’s exactly what she had. It was a beautiful day,” Maryanne’s sister talked about why her mom agreed to her sister’s marriage.
Maryanne’s sister added: “When they walk down the street holding hands they make a statement but in a good way. Some people stare, they assume people with Down’s Syndrome and learning difficulties can’t get married. But we also get so many lovely messages from people who are inspired by their story,” she said.
“People worried about their own children or grandchildren with Down’s Syndrome get hope from Maryanne and Tommy’s story, hope that their children can also fall in love and live happily ever after,” she added.
Maryanne’s sister manages a Facebook page that is dedicated to the couple. You can find lovely photos of the couple spending quality time with each other. They receive a lot of positive messages from people all over the world.
Tommy and Maryanne’s story proves that loves does conquer all and has restored our faith in the idea that true love does last a lifetime.