Living in north America, I come across interracial relationships. Often times, the thought crosses in my head that, my wife and I are from identical race, practicing almost the alike religion; only difference is last name, and still we are having hard time to maintain relationship. How in the world, interracial relationships are surviving? What is that keeps bond stronger than ever between a couple? They have to face their families, the society they live in and many other problems; we don't know about!
After a long relationship since my graduate school, we were still afraid to introduce each other to our parents. My parents were disappointed a little as I was having a relationship outside my own “ caste." This is an ancient system divides Hindus based on their occupations and has deep-rooted social separation and unreasonable hierarchy. We got married after lots of hurdles, bullying, agreement over disagreement.
We are together long enough to know entire family dynamics on both sides. We are experiencing elements of disagreement to over heated arguments. I experience subtle biases and rejections from my in laws even in recent days. Almost all the time, with spousal persuasion, we attend any occasion to each other's in-law. Oftentimes, these tense environment spills over our relationship and creates marital strains. So far, We have never enjoyed any of each other's in-laws’ company.
I know few close friends who are in interracial relationship, and one example extends beyond mixed relationship into following different religions. Nowadays, society is more tolerant of interracial couples than ever before. Almost every time I ask a story about persuasion to marriage, and one thing is common to all that less brave man cannot pursue interracial relationship, and family is the hurdle in the process. Sometimes family feud extends beyond the relationship over anything, including how to organize wedding and what ritual to follow if two different faiths involved.
For families to get comfy with each other, especially a couple to get relaxed with each other's family takes a long time. Everyone has idiosyncratic expectation from reciprocal families. These expectations are built on their particular cultures and customs. Families always struggle to not to disrespect at the same time, they are worried to answer their own friends and families. Once the barrier is crossed, and families get comfortable and social difference becomes less an issue. For couples, it is like joining an unknown job or a fresh club. They have to work harder to get along with new to be in-laws.
Among all, each other's support and strong sense of love make a big difference in long lasting relationship. Still after all hard work often times these marriages end up in divorce. Few common reasons are expectations, especially from reciprocal parents. Society is keeping close observations over interracial couples. The couple becomes more self-aware and socially conscious. Sometimes, strangers also make offensive assumptions about family. And the most common assumption is, how are their children look like? All these things become big deal when there are heated arguments and finger pointing at each other.
Divorce rates are slightly higher in interracial marriages. Many marriages survive longer than one would believe. Sex should not be the primary motivation in relationship, although intimacy is an essential aspect in prolonging relationship. It is very important to admire the difference rather than fetishization and sexualization of differences. Beautiful aspect of interracial relationship is, both partners are exposed to completely distinctive aspects of intelligence and point of views. Because of an unlike background, they bring different and constructive prospects to family. Interracial relationship is not a big deal, at the same time being color blind to partner’s race is not the right way to proceed. If partners can communicate, be more open, honest and talk out any issues throughout their lives without many heated arguments, I believe any marriage can be successful.
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