Multicultural Resources The Art of Interracial Marriage

Us Against The World

Us Against The World

Interracial/Intercultural Marriage: Indian Woman And African-American Man

When we realized that it would be us against the world, we formed a bond that was so deep that we knew we would be together forever.

About Us

Our names are Chinnu Joseph and Phylip, aka Phyl Jones. Chinnu is Indian, and she was born in Kerala, India. Her family moved to New Jersey when she was three years old. Phyl is African-American, and he was born and raised in New York.

How We Met

We met in New York City, NY, more specifically the Lower East Side. We were both patrons at the restaurant called Beauty and Essex. Chinnu was with one of her best friends, and they had just met up with her after a long week of law school. She had just gotten her hair done and wanted to enjoy a nice night out before going back to studying the rest of the weekend. Phyl, on the other hand, had also just finished an intense work week and happened to stumble into the restaurant. He had no preconceived idea to go there that night but the energy of New York City’s randomness brought him in. We made a genuine connection that evening and found ourselves being friends for more than a year before dating. 

How Did You Know You Were Meant To Be Together

We knew we were meant to be together once we saw how much our passion for life, love, and travel aligned. We took our first trip to Bermuda on a cruise, and we were madly in love with each other.  Soon after, we supported each other unconditionally when it came to our careers.  We worked tirelessly to help one another study for exams, prep for interviews, and proofread our applications. Deep down, we were connected and driving towards the same goal. The ultimate moment that showed we were meant for each other was when we realized that Chinnu’s family would not be as supportive of our relationship early on. When we realized that it would be us against the world, we formed a bond that was so deep that we knew we would be together forever.

How Long Have You Been Together

We have known each other for six years, dated for five years, and we have been married for one year. 

How Was Meeting Phyl’s Parents For The First Time 

The first time Chinnu met Phyl’s parents was on a Saturday in October; they had driven down from Upstate New York. We spent the day walking around 34th street and took them shopping at Macys. We finished the day at a nice restaurant and had a fun-filled day together.

How Was Meeting Chinnu’s Parents For The First Time

The first time Phyl met Chinnu’s father, and brother was on a sunny Saturday afternoon in April. We had lunch together. They were more than curious to find out who Chinnu was spending her time with. In addition to why she was not coming home on the weekends as much.  During that time, her family expected her to travel back home, most if not, every weekend to attend church events and to focus on the immediate family. When Phyl and Chinnu started seriously dating, Chinnu limited the time going back home because she wanted to spend as much time with Phyl as possible.

Truthfully, it was a hard and emotional meeting; they were very abrasive and challenged Chinnu’s desire to be with Phyl over the family. We explained that the relationship was growing and we were happy. We tried to communicate that we wanted to maintain or even develop a more significant relationship with Chinnu’s family while including Phyl. Unfortunately, they were not receptive to the idea and wanted Chinnu to stop dating Phyl immediately. At this point, we had not vocalized marriage, but our actions were fairly serious. To even get to the point that Chinnu told her parents that she was dating someone not Indian, but African-American was a very serious and calculated decision.  

What Obstacles Have You Or Are You Encountering For Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Relationship

We are currently struggling with Chinnu’s family accepting our union. Sadly, we have not spoken to them since our engagement, and we are still actively trying to build a relationship. Unfortunately, they are not as receptive as we had envisioned.

 How Did You Or Are You Overcoming These Obstacles

We are overcoming this challenge by cultivating strong relationships and building a community of love. Phyl’s family has been extraordinarily welcoming, and Chinnu’s extended family has been more than supportive and loving to both of us.

Provide Any Engagement Or Wedding Tips You Wish You Knew Beforehand

From an engagement standpoint, we would advise couples to embrace the moment and make it your own. Often times, when you get engaged, people in your circle tend to make the moment about them and try to take the focus off of your relationship. We would encourage you to share the moment with each other and focus on the joy of the surprise and embrace the momentum that will lead to your wedding. 

For our wedding, we decided to take a bit of the advice mentioned above and sheltered ourselves from any external factors. Thereby we decided to have a ten-person destination wedding off of the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  And then we had a beautiful Blindian (Black and Indian) wedding reception when we returned for our friends and family that supported our union. At this reception, we had Indian food and dancers to represent Chinnu’s culture. We also invited our guests to dress in garb and celebrate both of our cultures with hip hop music and southern cuisine. The reception was a cultural experience for us and all of our guests.

Share With Us Your Top Tips To An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage 

  • Openness, understanding, and curiosity are qualities needed to succeed in an interracial relationship.
  • It’s also important to be confident in knowing that both of you will be different and have cultural expressions that may not resonate with each other. Therefore have the patience to explain and to welcome your partner into aspects of your life that might be foreign to them. 

What Do You Love About Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage

We love how we are breaking boundaries, and hopefully inspiring others to take a chance on this one life, we have to be happy. Arranged marriage was a significant cultural challenge that Chinnu faced in her community, and for her to take a chance on love was a tremendous risk. We love that our experience will slowly break barriers and cause both communities to embrace change. Every day is not easy, but we love the journey.

What Are You Still Learning From Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage

Being interracial marriage forces you to be conscious about the other culture and go out of your way to make your partner feel welcomed. We actively talk about our childhood, and we try to infuse our lifestyle with each other’s culture. Chinnu actively goes out of her way to speak Malayalam as we do activities around the house. Or she will decorate our Christmas tree with Indian trinkets to bring our home to life. We also take the time to share our food and spices with each other. It’s great to be able to continually learn from each other. 

Anything Else You Want To Add To Help Others Reading This

Trust in each other, and hopefully, you will know early on that this struggle will be worth it in the future. Living an interracial/intercultural life is not easy, and it will be challenging at times. Communication is crucial, and it is essential to keep yourself grounded. We are hoping to share our story to find more couples like us to help make this journey a little easier. Right now, the hardest part for us is trying to find more Indian communities to belong to. But we are confident that our love will persevere, and we will remain together. 

 

What did you think of Chinnu and Phyl’s free-spoken, gripping, and heartfelt love story? Thank you both for sharing your love story to inspire others!

Have a question for us? Write to us at growingupgupta@gmail.com.  Are you following us yet? Find us on Twitter @growingupgupta, on Facebook @growingupguptablog, and on Pinterest and Instagram @growingupguptas.

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