- Years old:
- I am 43
When you marry someone, you marry everything that made them who they are, including their culture and race. While marrying someone of a different race can have added challenges, if you go in with your eyes and heart wide open, you can face those challenges together and come out stronger. Here are a few things I've learned:.
Her husband, Dennis, is Chinese American, and she is from a white family. The occasional confused look is the least of the challenges faced by couples in interracial and intercultural marriages. Being raised in different cultures means couples have to negotiate different communication patterns, agree on what they want for their mixed-race children, and learn to accept new traditions.
Marriages between partners of different races are happening more and more often.
The rate of interracial marriages increased by 28 percent in the last decade, according to Interracial marriage cultural differences U. Census Bureau. That will only continue to increase as minority populations come to out the white majority in America in the next 30 years, as projected by the Census. Just like any marriage, however, the thing that binds interracial couples together, and what helps them bridge the divides they face, is having the same values and shared vision of life.
When a white person marries a person of color, they step into a new world. Their spouse knows how to navigate both the culture of their own race as well as the mainstream majority culture in America. For a white person who has only known that majority culture, it can be eye-opening to see things from a new perspective. For example, Christa Burson grew up in a white family who ran a buffalo ranch in rural Minnesota.
She married Mike, who grew up in an African American family in Chicago, and the two liken their story to the country mouse meeting the city mouse. Mike explained that his family has experienced some of the unique challenges faced by many people of color in America, from lower socioeconomic status and education levels to housing trouble. His mother struggled with finding housing and consistent work, his father was struck with a disability and now lives in a nursing home, and his sister suffers from a mental illness.
They are college-educated and have two jobs. I had to grow up. It was kind of a leap with our different family dynamics.
1. the foundation of your relationship has to be rock solid.
When a person of color marries a white person, they do not enter a whole new world, but that is not to say that they get no pressure. They often feel a pullback to the culture of their family of origin.
Extended family is an essential value for Mexican Americans, he explained. Marrying a white person means losing some of those customs that would have bonded his new family with his extended family.
For couples who have families who speak different languages, communication itself can be a challenge. Emily studied in France for a year, so she knows what it feels like to be displaced culturally, but missing whole conversations feels different, she said. Becky Wang relies on actions when words fail her in relating to her Chinese mother-in-law, who does not speak much English. This is maybe too simplistic, but short of learning Chinese, it is the best that I have come up with.
She focuses on the tone of the conversation, and she inquires about what they are saying.
For Mike and Christa Burson, it was important to find other interracial couples with whom they could socialize and a place to worship in which people of color are not severely outed. Older couples who have been married for decades, especially. We watch how they relate. How they navigate life is valuable. And, of course, as with anything else in marriage, communication is the key. We were thrown into the deep end pretty fast. The good news about interracial marriage is that every couple has to negotiate differences in their families of origin, no matter their heritage.
Spouses of different races simply have cultural distinctions as part of their journey.
And those distinctions are not always only a disadvantage. It pushes me to be more flexible and patient.
When things are happening in the family, I have to wait to understand their customs and traditions. Mike Burson agrees. Hard things bind you together. The bottom line is not the color of skin in a marriage, according to Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, an international speaker and author on family life and spirituality. He is in an interracial marriage himself his family is from Barbados and his wife is white and he has been ordained a deacon for 10 years.
Among his responsibilities is the task of preparing couples for marriage.
It is all about the usual things: money, sex, kids—those kinds of issues. Every marriage has challenges. The good news is there are many dedicated staff willing to work with you and your spouse Happiness tip 1: As humans we all seek happiness, but what the world suggests will make us happy is often temporary bliss. A loving spouse can be a doorway to happiness, but being happy often from giving it away.
Bring some happiness to another today. For Your Marriage is here to support you!
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All rights reserved. Toggle MENU. Intercultural Marriage: Making It Work. The Language Barrier For couples who have families who speak different languages, communication itself can be a challenge. How to Make it Work For Mike and Christa Burson, it was important to find other interracial couples with whom they could socialize and a place to worship in which people of color are not severely outed. Related Articles. Newlyweds in the Time of Coronavirus More time together at home comes with both graces and challenges.
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