There’s no doubt that the world is smaller. Modern technology can allow us to have real-time communication with anyone half-way across the globe with minimal costs. It only takes a full day to travel from one end of the earth to the other.
Los Angeles, New York, Miami in the USA, Hong Kong in the east, Dubai, Toronto, Sydney, London, to name a few more, are good examples of melting-pot cities that celebrate diversity.
Mixing people of different races, cultures, and creeds has many advantages and disadvantages. But that’s another story for another time. We are here because what happens if people from diverse backgrounds fall in love and get married? What challenges do interracial marriages have to face even in a tolerant environment?
Here are some common interracial relationship issues and how to deal with it.
Problems faced by interracial couples
Mixed marriages happen when people with different backgrounds tie the knot.
They can both be caucasian/white, but if one partner is from a conservative Jewish family, it is still a mixed marriage. We would all like to believe that love knows no bounds and can break down any walls society throws at us. Unfortunately, that is more fantasy than reality.
1. Older generations will attempt to sabotage the interracial marriage.
Cultural differences in marriage don’t sound like an issue to a man and woman in love, but when you factor in their families, it becomes a recipe for a TV drama.
There will be instances when family members will actively or passively sabotage intercultural marriages. This could be for the simple reason they do not want their family members to marry someone who is a “insert racial/cultural group here,” and have mixed-blood descendants.
While it sounds like blatant racism and bigotry, If you have a child, think about all the types of people you DON’T want your child to interact with, and you will understand. There is even a well-known case where the parents sued their child’s spouse for keeping a legally licensed firearm in the household.
The easiest solution is to move away, literally move away to another city or country. Suppose the interracial couple is financially unstable to live independently. In that case, you should rethink marriage until you are.
If you are banking on inheritance as your primary source of income, you will also have to change your life goals if you want to keep your marriage.
Regardless of how other family members may frown upon interracial love, it is not explicitly illegal by law (some religions prohibit it).
So if they disapprove of the relationship in any way, they will show it by creating situations that would strain the union. The most common method of doing it is through money and gossip.
2. Their children may suffer from an identity crisis.
Most couples think that this is a minor issue and can be solved by the right amount of love, nurturing, and understanding. That is until the child interacts with their peers and finds out they are “different.”
Regardless of how much you shelter your child and invest in their growth, once they reach the age where they crave their peers’ acceptance, being different is a problem. Being different is one of the most common reasons for bullying, just ask Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Growing up, they will be exposed to two different sets of values. Factor in individuality, peer pressure, and a generation gap, then your child may have difficulty forming a moral core.
While you feel that it’s not your child’s fault that they are “different” from their peers and other parents should teach their kids to be more tolerant, the world just doesn’t work that way.
If you believe that it’s your right to teach your child your own moral compass, including accepting multiracial marriage and children, then other parents have the same right to be against it.
A “mixed-breed” child is a bully target. But if you feel that children are not a big part of interracial relationships and marriage, you may have to rethink your stand.
3. Burning bridges
Being in an interracial relationship means exposing yourselves to socio-cultural judgment by your peers. Similar to bullying, some adults feel it is their “duty” to set things straight.
They do this because they have low self-esteem, envy, or holier-than-thou attitude. Regardless, you are entering a toxic environment filled with negative people.
Interracial marriages are not perfect, then again there’s no such thing as perfect marriages.
Most people would think that interracial marriages will have problems such as cultural divide, language barriers, and diverse backgrounds. All of it can be overcome by tolerance, understanding, and communication, just like any other form of marriage.
Living with the quirks of your partner for the next 50 years and be happy about it is the key to the success of all marriages, not just interracial ones. Issues interracial couples face is only a more explicit version of partnerships at work. In a sense, it makes it easier, not harder.
But you have to burn bridges. Interracial marriage issues often stem from people around the couple, rather than the couple themselves.
How to make an interracial relationship work
Given that interracial marriages are still marriages, it needs the usual formula that makes all marriages work. There are plenty of tips on how to make a marriage last, but we will focus on interracial relationship advice that is unique to their situation.
1. A safe place
I’ve mentioned before that society, especially people close to the couple feel they have the right to meddle with the interracial marriage (or any marriage for that matter).
The couple and their children need a place away (another city or country, if necessary) from such negative interference to foster their love, relationship, and family.
2. High tolerance
Cultural diversity sounds great on paper until you find things such as food, money management, raising children, and challenging each partner’s moral foundations daily.
3. A hybrid culture
After learning and tolerating each other’s moral compass, craft a compromise, and create a hybrid mix of family values moving forward. If it means eating Kosher/Halal food until the end of time, then so be it.
If it means returning to traditional gender roles in the household, then so be it.
4. A commitment to excellence
It sounds unbelievable, but financial success is the easiest way to get other people to look past interracial marriages and gain acceptance from peers, family, and society (like the Kardashians).
How to make an interracial marriage work is ironically no different than making any other marriage work. Interracial marriages may sound complicated at first, but in reality, it’s just another flavor of the same dish.
At the individual level, culture manifests itself in habits and attitudes—something any married couples need to tolerate and compromise for a happy union.
In the heartwarming video below, an interracial couple discusses their family bonding and their struggles with the society for being an interracial couple. Take a look at this beautiful family talking about the love they have for each other:
Friends and family will always feel the need to intervene in any marriage that they think “isn’t right.” The standard on what is and what isn’t right is a broad spectrum. Free societies are funny that way.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.