Sarah and Karine on their wedding day, pictured sitting on a wall by the beach. Sarah is wearing a beautiful white wedding dress, Karine is wearing a sharp grey suit.

"We were so happy when we could finally get married"

My wife Sarah and I met when we were 18, on our first day at university.

Sarah built up the courage to come and talk to me, then I went and sat at another table - still to this day I have no idea why! Not one to be discouraged, Sarah continued to include me in events, asking friends to get me to join them for coffee.

After a few months of getting to know each other, it was meant to be.

Seeing attitudes change

We were together for 10 years before I was diagnosed with primary progressive MS. The diagnosis process took a long time but once I stopped trying to push Sarah away, it made our relationship stronger.

We found early on that we had to continually explain to specialists and hospital staff that, no, we were not sisters. That in fact Sarah was my partner and would be attending appointments with me.

One thing we have definitely noticed over our fifteen-year relationship is people’s reactions to us as a couple. When we first got together it was a big deal, people gossiped and although we never had any negative experiences, we always censored our behavior. These days, we don’t think twice about saying “my wife” and we show each other affection openly.

Planning our wedding

In Scotland, the law changed in 2015 to allow same-sex couples to marry and we were delighted. By that time, we had been together for 11 years and had agreed that we wanted to wait for marriage rather than get a civil partnership.

We were adamant that equality without equal status was not equality. Therefore we continued to hold out knowing that attitudes were changing quickly. We believed for such a long time that we deserved to be able to marry and were so happy when it finally became possible.

We set the date for June and began planning. We have a shared passion for street food so it was essential that this was part of a day, as well as Sarah’s passion for photography and mine for cake!

Our first dance

I worked with my physio for months before the wedding so that I could walk down the aisle with Sarah by my side. With all this hard work, I even managed to stand and dance for our first dance.

But in the few years since we married, my MS has progressed and I am now a full-time wheelchair user. It was a steep learning curve to work out and manage my needs, but we got there together and our love never wavered.

Celebrating our anniversary

On Christmas Day 2018, Sarah and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. 2018, for us, was a year of adventures. It has become more difficult to travel by plane so we decided to go to concerts and theatre shows instead. We even tackled our first music festival, attending TRNSMT to see Queen, and loved every minute of it.

While MS is now a part of our day to day life, just as being part of the LGBTQ+ community is part of our life, we strive to live every day knowing that we are lucky to have found each other so young and support each other through every bump in the road.