It was only a few generations ago that interracial relationships were against the law, and still, in many societies in the world, they are generally rare and subsequently exoticised for their scarcity. Many traditional families still frown upon them and dissuade their adult children from entering into these partnerships because they think they will be “harder” – which is true, in a sense – compared to same-culture relationships.
Cross-cultural relationships are definitely harder (because you have to deal with mindless judgement from ignorant people quite often), but so rewarding in the fact that you have chosen to live your life with someone – against all the odds – following your heart in a non-traditional way.
For many of us who are currently in interracial marriages or relationships, it can be somewhat of a lonely journey. You might have been the first interracial marriage in your family or friend circle. It is still rare, but nowadays there are more cross-cultural relationships than ever. In our current political climate, where overt racism is thrown around so lightly, immigration is feared, and basic human rights are being re-evaluated…it makes me think that the world could learn a thing or two from the mindset of interracial couples. How we co-exist in peace and love, and how we celebrate our differences.
Here are a few things that people can learn from interracial marriages:
1) It’s okay to be different.
It’s not only okay, it’s amazing. There is so much beauty in diversity. Being different should not be feared, it should be celebrated and thought of as interesting. Instead of being scared of differences, people should be curious about those differences. The most magnificent thing about our world is that we are not all the same and each and every one of us is unique.
2) What people think of you is none of your business.
The first thing you’re going to notice when you start your interracial relationship is that not everybody will approve of it. Whether it is family, friends, or random strangers, people will have judgments and they’ll definitely be vocal about it. Stereotypes will surface.
People will tell you that your relationship is not going to last, just because they haven’t seen anything like it before. It can be really stressful to deal with, especially when you’re so in love with your partner and excited about them and you wish everyone would feel the same way.
But the thick skin that you develop from handling people’s judgements is an important skill to learn, as well as the realization that nobody is walking in your shoes but you.
You learn to let ignorant people’s comments drip off you like water, as you preserve the sacredness of your relationship. It’s about having courage in your convictions – a toughness that can serve you in many areas of your life including career, family, business, and so on.
3) You can’t choose who you have a connection with.
Love often comes unexpectedly and looks completely different than what you had in mind. This can be said about anyone who you have a strong connection with – someone who you really hit it off with – like a friend, a relative, a love, or an acquaintance. True chemistry knows no boundaries and it is quite random and unpredictable.
Especially for interracial marriages, the person who we actually fell in love with and decided to make a home with is a far cry from what we thought. Most people who are in cross-cultural marriages will say, “I had no idea that I would marry someone from this particular culture/country”. This is why people should be open to inviting people who are different than them into their lives – because you never know who you’re going to get along with.
4) Culture clashes do happen and it’s not the end of the world.
If you and your spouse are from vastly different cultures, you will have your fair share of culture clashes. You might clash on things like parenting, lifestyle, values, beliefs, finances, family, and even diet – just to name a few. But guess what? It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on.
You can still have a healthy marriage and have lots of culture clashes. This is how you learn to respect your differences and compromise – a great lesson for any relationship.
5) People from vastly different cultures CAN get along.
The most important thing that interracial relationships can teach people is that people who are very different can get along, love each other, peacefully co-exist, and happily celebrate each other. Underneath all of our differences – from culture to skin color to language to nationality – we are all human. We all want to feel love, safety, happiness, security, and a sense of community.