Marriage is never easy. It requires a lot of dedication, sacrifice, and compromise in order to make things work. The number of divorces is constantly on the rise, so it’s clear that living happily ever after is becoming somewhat of a challenge nowadays. It’s even harder for people with special needs. Take people with Down Syndrome, for example. Society doesn’t consider them viable to start a family since they can’t take care of themselves. It’s a big obstacle for sure, but not for Tommy and Maryanne Pilling. Officially the first Down Syndrome couple to get married in the UK, Tommy and Maryanne have beaten all odds by going strong for 22 years.
The couple tied the knot in an Essex church over 20 years ago. No one supported them – even their closest relatives and friends thought they shouldn’t marry. Love, however, triumphs over all, and in 2017, the couple celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary. Maryanne and Tommy date for a year and a half before they decided to get married. After 22 years, they are going as strong as ever and don’t really care about what others think. Love matters for these two the most and it shows.
On their anniversary, they re-enacted the wedding dance in front of their friends and families. Maryanne says that she and her husband never argue and love themselves pretty much. They live in a house on their own and get help from Maryanne sister when they need to as she lives next door.
The couple is grateful to anyone who believed in them. Maryanne cites her mother as the biggest “culprit” for their marriage. She took a lot of heat for her support, but she insisted that Maryanne and Tommy should marry since they love themselves so much. She believes it sends a powerful message to society and Down Syndrome sufferers. Many people still judge them, of course. Every time they walk down the street, rude people stare at them with a judgmental look, but they don’t care. Maryanne’s mother hopes that their children can fall in love together and continue the beautiful story of their parents.
Maryanne and Tommy have a Facebook page run by her sister where they get support from thousands of people all over the world. It’s a truly inspirational story which shows that we can overcome any obstacles with the power of love.