10 Unheard Facts About A Deaf & Hearing Couple
1. We have to take our phone everywhere in the house because otherwise, we can’t communicate with each other from another room Can you imagine going to the bathroom, only to find out when you're finished - you don't have any toilet paper nearby? Or what about once you're in the shower, looking over the rack and not seeing a towel hanging? Those are just some examples of why having a phone everywhere (and I mean EVERYTHING) is so important for us! When we first got married, I didn't even think of those types of situations... until they happened to me. Needless to say, everywhere I go in the house now, my phone goes too!
2. We each learn something new every day about our unique culture (deaf and hearing).
The other day we were in King Soopers (our local grocery store), and I started dancing. Joshua looked at me like I was crazy and asked me if I was playing music on my phone (as I often do). I smiled and said, "No crazy; my favorite song is on." He looked at me horrified. "Wait, they play music IN the stores!?!" I was like, "YES! About 99% of stores have background music..."
Things like this happen regularly. Another example: Joshua was introducing me to a fellow deaf friend. Joshua said, "This is Julie. Her sign name is..." and proceeded to sign something I had never seen before! I had NO IDEA that it is common for a deaf person to assign a specific sign name to a person based on their relationship or something that signifies that person to them. It is incredible what you learn daily when living alongside another individual from an entirely different perspective on this world.
3. Three weeks after we started dating, Joshua played a prank on me and told me that he was hearing. I screamed and yelled at him to pull over on the side of the highway so I could get out! Okay... here's the story:
We were driving back from church one Sunday afternoon. As I typically do, I turned the music in the car. The moment I turned on the music that particular day, Taylor Swift came on. Of course, I cranked up the volume and started dancing and singing (as usual). As soon as I started singing Joshua began patting his steering wheel to the exact beat that I was listening to. It was like he heard every single thing.
I looked at him with my eyes wide open and said, "OMG, can you hear this?!" He looked at me with one of the most serious faces I had seen from him and said, "Yes, I am sorry I pranked you. I can hear." I, no joke, screamed and yelled at him to pull the car over. I had tears welling up and couldn't breathe. I thought to myself, "I cannot trust him... He's been lying to me about being deaf?!?!"
After about fifteen minutes of Joshua laughing hysterically, (unable to breathe to even get words out) he finally said, "Julie, I am joking!" Needless to say, I was still in shock and it took a good 40 minutes to calm down before I was good to carry on the rest of the day!
4. I lean over to talk into the speaker every time we go through a drive-thru.
The first time we ever went through a drive-thru, I honestly didn't even think anything of it. I leaned over to Joshua, signed what I wanted to get, and grabbed my phone to start scrolling while he ordered. He looked over at me, gently grabbed my arm, and said, "Um Julie... you know I have no idea what they are saying to me right now, right?"
I immediately turned my phone off and started conversing with the woman on the other end of the speaker. From that point on, I realized that drive-thru windows with Joshua were going to look a bit different.
Every time we drive up, I immediately lean over to talk to the person on the speaker. When we pull up to the window, the cashier is usually looking at us super puzzled - unless I sign something to Joshua. (It's the unspoken body language that tells all!)
5. We have never been to the movies theater together.
No joke – we have never been to the movies together. I had previously never been a movie theater type of gal, so it really didn't even phase me. Until one time I thought it would be fun to go to an IMAX movie (I can't remember what it was about... probably something to do with food, lol), and Joshua asked me if it had closed captioning.
I hadn't even thought about it until that moment. Since then, we have found movie theaters that provide special glasses or devices he can wear that will help project closed captioning but have yet to go! In fact, we'd rather save the fifteen bucks for pizza and grab a $1.20 rental from Redbox!
Who cares if we're late to the game!
6. The first real trip we went on was two years after we got married.
It is true that we hadn't ever traveled out of state together alone until last summer, which was about two years after we got married. Last July, Joshua surprised me with a trip to Seattle for my birthday, and it was glorious!
This year, we are committing to go on a couple more trips together. But in all honesty, we prefer to just cozy up somewhere in the mountains or on the lake... somewhere we can take our pups versus going on luxury vacations!
Moral is... DO WHAT MAKES YOU BOTH HAPPIEST!
7. Closed Captioning is mandatory for every single show or video we watch.
Prior to meeting Joshua, I never ever, ever watched a single show or movie with closed captioning. Now I can't watch even fifteen minutes without needing the CC turned on to understand what's going on. I'd also like to believe that, because I am not a natural reader at heart, it has helped my reading skills tremendously.
We always make sure CC is available before renting any movie or show what-so-ever. One time, back in 2012, we rented Elf and the DVD didn't come with closed captioning! Luckily, almost every show and movie has CC now!
8. Both our dogs are almost fluent in sign language.
From the moment we got Macro, we knew that we wanted him to be fluent in sign language. Macro is currently fluent in almost any sign or command you can think of. In fact, because he was taught at such a young age, he obeys better when the command is signed to him rather than told.
Koa, our rescue that we've had for just under a year, is still learning basic signs but is picking them up fast! We highly suggest considering teaching dogs sign language as they are very receptive to it!
9. Joshua can drive a car.
You might be thinking of yourself, "Of course he can," but you would honestly be surprised at just how many people question if deaf people can drive. Take the first time we rented a car for example. The woman looked at me, assuming I was driving, and said, "Okay Ma'am, I need your driver's license."
I looked at her with a smile and told her, "He's a better driver than I ever will be." In fact, every time we are driving and there is an ambulance, Joshua is aware of it before me because he is so aware of his surroundings! Needless to say, Joshua can drive a car.
10. Whenever we have a heated discussion, we put it on hold because I can't sign loud and fast enough.
Since our conversations look different than most, our arguing looks different than most.
Yes, we argue... sometimes (come on - we're human!). Anyways, for those who might not know, Joshua talks to me, and I sign back to him. Since getting married, I have learned that when I get frustrated or disagree about something, my hands will stop working. All the sign language that I do know goes out of the window. I noticed this a few years ago. I would get more upset because I couldn't properly communicate.
I've since learned that I can choose to make anything positive. Therefore we have learned a new way to communicate when we disagree about something. Anytime we have a disagreement, we will step out of the room and take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour to cool off and think about what we truly want to say to one another in a calm matter.
In fact, something that has worked quite well for us for the last year (or so) is writing down (on paper or on our phone) how we're feeling and what we are frustrated with (unfiltered). This allows us to re-read our thoughts to see if that is what we really want to say; or if we want to cool off and re-think how we want to approach the conversation.
Typically, by giving ourselves some time to go away and process, we will come back to the conversation much more level-headed and will be able to communicate more clearly what we want to say.
Yes, our relationship is not like 99% of the ones out there; but that is what makes us unique! And we are so grateful to be able to each see life through a new lens or perspective every single day.
We'd love to know which one stuck out to you the most! Comment below.