Mixed Deaf and Hearing Marriages

Great discussion over at Filipino Deaf about deaf and hearing marriages and when the wife is deaf vs. when the husband is deaf.
From the post:

This leads me back to my main query, how successful is a deaf marrying a hearing person? Here are my succinct personal assessments on the four couples I had the opportunity to be acquainted with:

* The hearing wife is a skilled signer. She had a deep immersion on deaf culture and its peculiarity.
* The deaf husband is a well respected leader of the community. He has the appeal and at the same time, the intellectual maturity compared to other male deaf of the same age.
* Since deaf people are more straightforward in dealing with things, hearing wives tend to be more forbearing and patient with their deaf husbands than the other way around.
I guess I don’t count here because the closest I ever immersed myself in the deaf culture was participating in the deaf group in the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. We had over 30 of us. Most I’ve ever met.
A friend of mine’s father is deaf and mother is hearing. Based on her stories and my experience, I would’ve thought it was easier to have the wife be deaf rather than the husband in a mixed marriage.
While I try not to think in stereotypes, husband often tend to be the stronger person in the marriage (not always!). My friend said her dad didn’t say much or get involved with the parental duties much. Since women have the advantage of birthing babies and all, I figure a deaf woman has a better chance of being involved as a parent than a deaf man. I’m lucky my husband is an involved dad.
There’s the discussion of interpretation. I communicate for myself, but I also do a lot of communication online. The only time my husband gets involved is when he recognizes my facial expressions and asks, “Did you catch that?”
I could slap him when he says that in front of the person! Of course, I wouldn’t do that. But I don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings for not catching what he/she said. That’s the extent of his help from a communications perspective.
Sounds like a potential topic for a graduate student’s thesis.

5 comments

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    • hi on February 16, 2009 at 6:01 am
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    oh, i dont know, you’re right on that about saying that good deaf/hearing marriage exist when the deaf man is intelligent.
    i find it odd that an intelligent deaf man wouldn’t be as involved with his children. maybe it’s more to do with personality, like your father.

    • Silent Red Wolf on February 16, 2009 at 10:32 am
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    Am Deaf male and married to hearing wife with 6 years old twins. (boy and girl) We been married almost 15 years. Am involved with kids since birth. Wife is an interpreter for the the State. I work as graphic artist for 30 years and I was lay off so I stay home and become Mr. Mom. I love it, more time with kids. Do I depend on wife to interpreting everything? No. We do many things together. Lots of people do have issue about us, Deaf and hearing also Age as well, am much older than my wife, 18 years apart. Who care! Love is much stronger than anything.

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! Here’s to many more happy years of marriage for both of us!

    • Rick Marshall on August 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm
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    I am a hearing male with deaf spouse. Dealing with her handicap is a great burden. The handicap became mine, because I love to talk and communicate, but can’t with her. It frustrates me. She’s CODA and only reads lips. She has a very small vocabulary and has no grasp of repertoire, small talk, euphemism, figurative talk, humor, being facetious. Even after 15 years of marriage, almost every conversation ends in hurt feelings from miscommunication. We’ve been in counseling for years. The first seven years, we created Hell for each other. The following eight years we’ve oscillated back and forth between thinking we can do this and thinking we can’t wait to get out. We have two great kids and will stay together until they leave the home. I beg anyone interested in dating a deaf/handicapped person to consider the following: You are sacraficing a part of yourself to be with that person. At first, you’re happy to do it, everyone thinks you’re a saint, but soon the accolades stop and you realize that you’re missing a part of yourself. But your stuck, committed, what kind of person would you be to run out on a handicapped person. So you dredge on, but you’re not happy. You’re not who you want to be and you never will be. The anxiety builds, you have a nervous breakdown complete with panic attacks and you spend the rest of you days in therapy taking anti-anxiety meds and sleeping pills.

    • Amy Doyle on February 14, 2015 at 6:40 pm
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    This was a great article, thank you! I recently read a similarly inspiring post by a man who talked about how his hearing loss affected his relationship with his wife, and how ordering hearing aids improved their relationship dramatically — I think others might find it interesting: http://bit.ly/Buddy_T

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