You Have My Heart In Your Hands
Interracial And Intercultural Marriage: Gujarati Man and Haitian Woman
Meet Rinku & Sarah! Rinku is Indian (Gujarati), and his wife, Sarah, is Black (Haitian).
How They Met
Rinku and Sarah met while in college through a large gross human anatomy course. During cardiac week Rinku asked Sarah if she could tell him about the heart (which she had in her hands). The pop quiz didn’t go too well, so he thought it would be a good idea for them to study together, and she didn’t decline.
How Did They Know It Was Meant To Be
Simply put, the big things were easy for them. Rinku and Sarah possessed parallel visions of what they wanted for the future.
How Was Meeting Rinku’s Parents For The First Time
It was memorable for Sarah but not in the way one would hope. Earlier that day, she had her wisdom teeth pulled out and felt like a chipmunk. Despite hearing of all the ways that meeting Rinku’s parents could go wrong, his parents were very receptive to Sarah. In fact, Rinku’s parents started as a ‘love marriage’ across caste, so they valued their relationship despite the difference in background, which positively reinforced the possibility of a long-term relationship.
How Was Meeting Sarah’s Parents For The First Time
Sarah’s parents were extremely polite, easy-going, non-judgmental, and had a genuine curiosity about cultures outside of their own. Truth be told, Sarah’s uncle was in a “Blindian (Black and South Asian/Indian)” marriage, so some of the unknowns were familiar (before their relationship came into the picture).
What Challenges Have They Faced As A Couple
Despite having a non-traditional Indian upbringing, Rinku battled with the weight of a long-term interracial relationship. He seldom acknowledged his and Sarah’s differences since he let his feelings lead the way, but when he did face them against the backdrop of a lifetime together, Rinku struggled to figure out how to make the pieces work. Over time, Rinku realized what a life together would be for him and Sarah. It meant sharing your unique life and perspective with someone else and working to blend it all together.
On the other hand, Sarah had to confront the reality that many individuals in the Caribbean Black community emphasized that Indians don’t marry Blacks. A striking moment for her happened while she was a teenager watching a Bollywood movie at a Caribbean Indian friend’s home. Sarah shared her thoughts on how she, along with other family members, found the male hero handsome. Sarah’s friend’s father immediately told her that Indian men would not marry women darker-skinned than them. Being young and unaware, Sarah bought into this narrative. Even after she and Rinku started dating, Sarah let this bias fuel her skepticism about their future. It took a lot of reframing of their experiences together to value that their connection was much farther than skin deep.
Finally, Rinku and Sarah have had their share of instances in predominantly Indian or Haitian communities where they have received uncomfortable stares or service. One specific example was when Sarah was lehenga shopping for their Hindu wedding ceremony. Rinku, Sarah, and her mother-in-law walked into a store, and a female shop clerk refused to help them because Sarah was not Indian. Then and there, Rinku’s mom immediately corrected the shop clerk’s discrimination and told her that she didn’t deserve their business.
Rinku And Sarah’s Advice For Other Couples
Being in an interracial relationship forces you to confront your traditions and culture because it isn’t as simple as practicing two sets of everything. Instead, focus on what really matters to you as a couple. Practice communication with empathy which includes ‘checking in’ on your partner’s well-being and thoughts on a subject so that you grow together.
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