Intercultural/Interracial Marriage: Scottish Woman and Tamil Indian Man–We Left Our Families To Be Together
Hi there! We’re the Francisxavier’s. I’m Wendy and my husband is Marshlo. We’ve been together for 9 years now; and we have two beautiful boys, Ashton and Hudson.
While Marshlo and I were both raised in Scotland, we come from two entirely different cultural backgrounds. I was brought up in a very ‘white’ family and Marshlo was born in Sri Lanka. However he moved to the UK as a baby when his parents fled the civil war and was brought up by his very conservative Tamil parents.
Marshlo has a very strained relationship with his family, but particularly his mum, due to what I can only regard as cultural clashes. When my in-laws moved to the UK, they didn’t learn English, or integrate out with their Tamil community. Marshlo feels they placed a lot of pressure on ensuring he didn’t become westernized and instead of having much of a childhood, he spent between 5-7 nights a week at their Tamil run church. As a result, I think he ‘shut down’ from that culture.
How We Met
We’ve by no means had an easy ride. We met through mutual friends at just 15 and a budding romance began almost instantaneously. I can’t say that either of our families were initially supportive of the relationship and although my parents quickly became fond of Marshlo, my mother-in-law strictly disapproved due to my western nature together with their Tamil cultural norms.
We Left Our Families To Be Together
Our feelings for one another meant that we disregarded our families opinions and by the age of 16, we left our family homes and moved into a rented property together. At just 18 and 19 years old, little Ashton came into our lives, and I can honestly say I would not have things any other way. We went from strength to strength, bought our own home and decided to get married.
Marshlo’s parents asked that along with our Scottish wedding, we’d also have a traditional Tamil ceremony in their home town of Jaffna. With a few hurdles along the way, we spent a month in Sri Lanka, meeting relatives of Marshlo’s that he’d never met, exploring the beautiful country and most importantly, celebrating our marriage in true Tamil fashion. Our wedding day was beautiful and colorful, surrounded by hundreds of new family who were all very accepting of me and our relationship.
Meeting The Woman Who Was Suppose To Have Been My Husband’s Wife
The night before the wedding was a bit awkward however, when my mother-in-law introduced me to who, should have been Marshlo’s wife if he had accepted an arranged marriage. I still find it difficult to comprehend that in their family, the males should marry the first female born to a sibling. So essentially, marrying their first cousin and sharing the same grandparents. My in-laws are against the prospect of love marriage, and instead feel strongly about your life partner being ascribed at birth.
Fast forward another 5 years and little Hudson has joined the family. Marshlo’s Mum moved back to Sri Lanka and we occasionally speak with her via Skype.
Our Advice To Other Couples
1. Prioritize You. Your health and happiness and most importantly don’t let anyone get in the way of that.
2. Adopt a culture that incorporates the two of you. It was important to us to have a wedding that acknowledged both our families in some way. We could have had one wedding that celebrated that, but going to Sri Lanka was a blessing to us and it meant that we didn’t have to compromise some of the finer details and also got to experience first hand what a Tamil wedding is really like. Marshlo did change into a kilt (traditional Scottish dress) during our Tamil wedding which baffled a lot of the locals but who also found it fascinating!
3. Learn about and respect each other’s cultures. Although I’ve said that Marshlo and I are on more of a common ground in terms of cultured, there was and still is a huge learning process about our differences. I think we all harmlessly have stereotypes about other cultures and assume that we’re culturally aware of them when in reality, we only see what we are exposed to. For example, it was a revelation to me that Tamil people eat using their hands. I can still remember how proud my father-in-law was the first time I tried this and now it’s something we do at home whenever we eat curry or any traditional Tamil foods.
4. Never give up. Most obstacles come from our family and friends; those who we care about most. I truly believe that deep down they want to see us happy. Remember that being in an interracial relationship can be challenging, so imagine how hard it is for people outside the relationship to understand. Share your feelings with them and help them understand too; they’re on the outside looking in, so sometimes it can be hard to make adjustments to their own interpretations too. Don’t be afraid to teach them.
5. Be happy!
Thank you Wendy and Marshlo for sharing your passionate, tear jerking, jaw dropping, and completely astonishing love story. Did you enjoy Wendy and Marshlo’s story? Can you relate? Have a question for us? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking to meet other multiracial couples near you? Check out our recently launched multiracialcouplesnetwork.com.