Couple With Down Syndrome Celebrates 22 Years of Marital Bliss
When Maryanne and Tommy Pilling tied the knot in 1995, they were thought to be among the first handful of people with Down syndrome to get married.
Their landmark wedding proved to the world that people with Down syndrome deserve love and happiness as much as anyone — now, 22 years later, Maryanne, 45, and Tommy, 59, have proved that marital bliss can last.
In awe of the duo, Maryanne's sister, Linid, set up a Facebook page for the couple, who now have a whopping 8,000 followers. Thanks to the page, the pair's happy lives have been made public — shutting down all of those who doubted their marriage in the first place.
The couple dated for about 18 months before Tommy popped the question — but only after asking her Maryanne's mother for permission. "He had a toy ring from a vending machine," Lindi told the Daily Mail. "My mom immediately said yes but wanted them to do it properly so took him to a jewelry shop to buy a proper ring."
Maryanne's mother's support, however, was questioned by some. "She received a lot of flak at the time for letting them get married but she insisted it was their decision," Lindi said.
For Maryanne and Tommy, though, their wedding day had nothing to do with Down syndrome — it hadeverythingto do with love. "My wedding was the best day of my life," Maryanne said. "I was shocked when Tommy proposed but I didn't have to think twice about saying yes."
Maryanne's wedding day was the stuff of fairytales, something that she'd wanted ever since she was a little girl. "Maryanne dreamed about a big white wedding [and] that's exactly what she had," Lindi said. "It was a beautiful day."
Even more beautiful? The life they've shared together every day since — they live independently in their own home, with family next door. "Tommy and I never argue. I love my husband very much," Maryanne said. "He is my best friend."
While their 22 years of marriage is really more of a testament to Maryanne and Tommy's dedicated relationship, the couple's anniversary is inspiring others who have Down syndrome — and educating those who think people with disabilities can't lead live independent, romantic lives.
"People worried about their own children or grandchildren with Down syndrome get hope from Maryanne and Tommy's story," Linda told the Daily Mail.
Video: Couple With Down Syndrome Celebrates 22 Happily Married Years
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