A WHIRLWIND LOVE STORY
INTERRACIAL/INTERCULTURAL MARRIAGE: INDIAN WOMAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAN
HOW WE MET
Michael and I met in graduate school. When I arrived to the USA to do my PhD, I happened to do my research in the same laboratory he was in. However, for the next 3 years, until he graduated, we were simply good friends, living independent lives with different people. It was not until our individual relationships started to disintegrate that we realized that we had similar values and ideas of what we envisioned for our lives.
Although, we were both initially afraid of announcing that we were dating to my father and his mother, we were pleasantly surprised that they had accepted our relationship as our choice. We dated for about three years before he popped the question. However, as soon as he did, life took off at full speed! And I really mean full speed!
WE’RE ENGAGED-HEADING BACK TO INDIA INDEFINITELY
A week after we were engaged, my employer muddled the paperwork for my visa renewal and said I needed to head back to India indefinitely. We decided that we didn’t want any surprises and decided to get married in a small court ceremony in the USA. And we agreed that a year from now would have a big wedding ceremony. A month after that engagement day we were married!
Now, this is quite a funny story in hindsight, but we certainly did not find it hilarious when we got pregnant 12 hours after the wedding! See, I told you, full speed… We now have the sweetest baby boy, Rehaan and if we had expected life to slow down any, we would be wrong. We never did have that big wedding ceremony either and when I think about it, I would not have had it any other way!
OUR TOP 3 TIPS TO OTHER COUPLES IN INTERRACIAL/INTERCULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS
Roshni shares, if I could share a few tips on how to make it work when you find yourself in an interracial/intercultural relationship and what I have learned from it, it would be the following:
1.) Ask questions and have the difficult conversations.
My husband, Michael and I come from two very different worlds with two very different upbringings. Our exposure to each other’s culture before we met was very much through the loose portrayal of characters in movies and television. Clearly that leaves a lot of room for assumptions, most of which are wrong. For example, Michael educated me on the aspects of African-American hair, while I explained in detail how India is a melting pot of various religions and cultures. While he sensitized me to the socio-political issues afflicting America today from the perspective of a black man, I informed him of the finer nuances of colorism in India. Often times in our discussions, the chasm in knowledge narrows down and we find similarities we didn’t even know existed.
It is certainly important to find common ground. In addition to, similar values and goals which lay the foundation for a successful marriage, and to accept that there will be inevitable differences. For example, my husband wonders how I must have my fix of Indian food after consecutive American meals, and yet without asking, he suggests, cooks, or brings home Indian food, he knows I will crave. Furthermore, while my family is historically Hindu, I was brought up with the knowledge of other religions and the freedom to practice or, not practice one of my choosing. My husband’s family is devout catholic and they will not miss a Sunday mass. For me, it has been accepting this part of his identity and supporting it, even though I still may not fully understand it.
3.) Celebrate one another.
Interracial/cultural relationships are wrought with challenges, but the love and respect that any two individuals bring to a marriage still supersedes any existing biases. For us, it becomes very important to celebrate one another, our backgrounds, our upbringing, our lessons, our challenges and especially our cultures. It becomes all the more relevant to keep that celebratory atmosphere alive because we have a son at the intersection of our love and cultures. A son who needs to understand that he is a unique product of two people who work hard at preserving the sense of who they are, and encouraging each other to be themselves, so that he may have the best of both worlds.
Thank you Roshni and Michael for sharing your whirlwind love story with our readers! What did you think of Roshni and Michael’s love story? Have a question for us? Write us @firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a comment? Write it below! Follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook @growingupguptas and on Twitter@growingupgupta.
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