30 Years Later. One Of The Most Incredible Love Stories You Will Ever Read.
Interracial/Intercultural Marriage: Punjabi Woman and African-American Man
Hi everyone! Our names are Sukhdip (aka Sukhy or Sweety) Sihota Broome and Clifford (aka Cliff) Errol Broome. Sukhdip is Punjabi, and Clifford is African-American. Together we have two handsome sons. Our eldest son is 19, and his name is Evan (Ev) Sihota Broome, and our youngest son is 14, and his name is Nathan (Nate) Sihota Broome.
Where Were You Both Born And Raised
Sukhdip was born in Coventry, England and Cliff was born in Richmond, California. Our sons were both born in Benicia, California.
How We Met
We met at CVS Drug Store when it used to be called Longs Drugs. I (Sukhdip) was working there, right out of high school. I knew Cliff had just transferred there, but he did not know I worked there. I walked in to buy something with my dad. When Cliff saw me, he stood up. Then when he saw my dad in a turban, he sat back down (LOL).
How Long Have You Been Together
We have been together since September 1989, so this September will be 30 years.
How Was Meeting Cliff’s Parents For The First Time
Meeting Cliff’s parents did not pose a problem. It was fine. They might have thought that I was too young for him, as we are 9 1⁄2 years apart (with him being older than me).
How Was Meeting Sukdip’s Parents For The First Time
Meeting Sukhdip’s parents was a problem, as she was supposed to have an arranged marriage. Sukhdip’s parents wanted her to marry Punjabi. Hence our relationship was a secret for seven years. Sukhdip lived at home the entire time because girls were not allowed to move out or go away to college back then. Consequently, Sukhdip lived at home through college and graduate school.
Sneaking Phone Calls & Writing Super Long Love Letters
The inception of our romance was before cell phones and the internet’s existence. As a result, our ability to communicate with each other was limited. All we could do was sneak a phone call from a landline once in a while. Sukhdip typically phoned Cliff when she was at school but she had to know where he would be. It would have been so much easier now with Facetime, texting, etc. For the most part, Sukhdip and Cliff wrote super long love letters to one another, which had to be hidden or disposed of on Sukhdip’s part.
“My mother had me take her to see Cliff and begged him not to marry me.”
What Obstacles Did You Encounter For Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Relationship
I, Sukhdip told my parents approximately one month before finishing graduate school that I was going to marry Cliff. It was not well received, as my parents were quite traditional. They worried about what the East Indian community would think, and did not want the family to “be shamed.” My mother had me take her to see Cliff and begged him not to marry me.
How Did You Overcome These Obstacles
I, Sukhdip always felt that God or the universe brought Cliff to me, and so it was not wrong to be with him.
Provide Any Engagement Or Wedding Tips You Wish You Knew Beforehand
Sukhdip shares, we had a really small wedding at my girlfriend’s home. We were broke back then and did not have help from family. For example, our cake was from the grocery store; the wedding march was played on a tape cassette, there was no makeup artist, no band, no engagement photos, no videographer, etc. As much as I am super girly and wanted the whole big magical wedding, I knew I had to be frugal as we would not get help from anyone.
In retrospect, I am especially glad that we were mindful of costs, as we have saved and invested, and live a good life. We are able to pay for our kids’ colleges, our beautiful home, and our future retirements. So, I guess my advice would be to focus on the marriage, versus the wedding. Don’t spend so much, so that you can use the money for your future together (i.e., saving for a home, a family, maternity and paternity leave, vacations, retirement, etc.).
Our Top Tips/Advice To An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage
Like any marriage, it is important for both persons to do the following for it to flourish.
1.) Be supportive of one another;
2.) Be generous and kind;
4.) Act as a Team;
5.) Be best friends.
One bit of advice that I (Sukhdip) tell all of the younger ladies, is to “Always be the girlfriend, not the wife,” in the marriage. Regarding the additional cultural obstacles, be patient and try not to get angry with extended family. Understand that this is all they know and that they are not yet ready to progress, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t. With time, Cliff and I believe most do progress.
What Do You Love About Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage
Sukhdip says I love that my husband is so different from me (i.e., more westernized). Hence, he balances how I was raised. For example, I recently posted a photo of myself in a bikini on a family trip to Barbados (shown below). I would never have done that culturally, as it is showing too much skin, but it was for my special and happy family memories. I once got in trouble by a priest when I took my mom to the temple, for having bare arms!
My hubby has also taught me to be more balanced with our kids’ education. They don’t have to get straight A’s (like I did). He always says that he’s “winning in the game of life.” Meaning that, yes, I got straight A’s and went to graduate school, but he makes more money than I do. And he also has more time off than I do (even though he was a so-so student, reading hot rod car magazines in class, LOL). I believe there is a lot of academic push in Asian cultures. In fact, that was how I was able to avoid some of the arranged marriage set-ups, by telling my parents that I needed to focus on my studies, that the set-ups were a distraction, then they would back off a little while longer.
What Are You Still Learning From Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage
That I (Sukhdip) would have married my husband whether he was Black, White, man, woman, whatever. His soul is the one that I was always meant to be with.
How Have You Raised Your Handsome Sons To Know Both Of Your Cultures
Sukhdip states, initially, because my family disowned me for six years, my children primarily only received influence from the African-American side of their family. After my family members began to soften, and we began to reconnect, then my boys started to receiving more Punjabi influence. When my mother had Alzheimer’s, for approximately six years, I took her and my boys to the temple every other Saturday, as it was her favorite thing to do. Because of this, they regularly ate East Indian food and were exposed to the temple.
Additionally, they began attending more East Indian weddings and events as my family reconnected with me.
Ultimately, I think that when my siblings realized that by reconnecting with me, all of our children would have more first cousins, they all came around as we all want the best for our children. Reconnecting with my extended family has been spectacular for all of us.
Anything Else You Want To Add To Help Others Reading This
For the ones that are not the Indian partner, be patient with their families and with their ways of doing things. We are raised from infancy a certain way. The families will progress. Be kind and loving and don’t give the family any real reason to dislike you. My husband was always mature and confident in himself, only wanting my happiness. Therefore, he did not make it harder for me by fighting with my family. Over time, when you live lovingly with your Indian partner, your actions will show that you are happy and “good” together. Their
hearts will soften. Grandbabies and old age have a way of having people reevaluate their life and their beliefs.
What did you think of Sukhdip and Cliff’s uninhibited, impassioned, and enduring love story? Aren’t they such an alluring family? Thank you, once again Sukhdip and Cliff for sharing your journey. And for showing us all what 30 years “strong” looks like and means!
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