When U.K. couple Maryanne and Tommy Pilling, who both have Down syndrome, married in 1995, naysayers said their relationship wouldn’t last. But 22 years later, they’re still going strong.
Maryanne’s sister Lindi Newman has long been supportive of the couple ― even early on in their relationship when their love was met with criticism.
“People were saying things like it was wrong,” Lindi told The Huffington Post. “What did my mum think she was doing by allowing them to date and then to get married. People said it wouldn’t last.”
But just look at them now:
Lindi even created a Facebook page named “Maryanne and Tommy,” where she posts photos and updates about their inspiring relationship. It now has more than 17,000 followers.
“They are the happiest people I have ever known, they truly love one another from the bottom of their hearts,” Lindi told HuffPost. “They’re always cuddling, always laughing. They lived with us for seven years after they were married and have now lived independently for 15 years with help, of course.”
The Pillings first met in 1990 at a local training center for people with learning disabilities.
“The day Maryanne met Tommy she came home with the biggest smile on her face,” Lindi told the Daily Mail. “She couldn’t stop talking about him and asked if he could come for dinner.”
Eighteen months later, Tommy popped the question. In July 1995, they were married at St. Mary’s Church in Essex.
“My wedding was the best day of my life,” Maryanne told the Daily Mail. “I was shocked when Tommy proposed but I didn’t have to think twice about saying ‘yes.’”
Since starting the Facebook page, Lindi said the couple has received an outpouring of love from people all around the world.
“We wanted to give hope to people who have disabilities who think they may not be able to get married because of stigma or prejudice,” she told HuffPost. “Times have changed a lot over the years but their story is educating so many people that they are receiving hundreds of messages saying their story has given them hope.”
“They are proof that anything is possible with love,” she added.
H/T Daily Mail