About seventy years ago interracial marriages were illegal in many US states. It is intriguing to see what is allowed today and accepted to a fair extent, was forbidden yesterday, and vice versa. However, marrying interracially is still not an easy decision for many due to the challenges it bears until today. As Professor Elizabeth Aura puts it “rates of interracial marriage remain much lower than would exist if race were irrelevant to partner choice”.
A Brief History
Interracial marriage was outlawed in states of the U.S.A until 1967. It was the year when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that race-based restrictions on marriages formed a violation of the United States Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause within it specifically. However, many states legalized interracial marriage in earlier dates.
An interracial marriage is the marital relationship that takes place outside a specific social group for the involved spouses belong to different races or ethnicities. In the past, the term “miscegenation” was used to express the merge of different racial groups through marriage, sexual relation, or procreation. Today, words like interracial and interethnic often replace miscegenation due to its historical use that implied disapproval.
Interracial marriages’ rate was 2% in 1970. And according to the Pew Research Center report in 2012, it increased from about 7% in 1980 to 15% in 2010. It occurs for various motives, sentimental as well as practical. Following, we present ten tips that could help couples to live a healthy interracial relationship.
1 Keep forging your strength
The fact that you decided to go into an interracial relationship reflects a great deal of openness and strength in your personality. Strength could be rendered in many ways; among them is certainly self-confidence and not letting what people say get into you as long as you are convinced with what you are doing. However the digital age and globalization made the world more open, people are still developing social and psychological barriers between each other; invisible walls of ignorance, misunderstanding, or heavy load of dark history prevent the clear vision of the other as s/he is. Therefore, couples of different races could encounter negative reactions that demand self-confidence, patience, and love to overcome.
2 Express yourself openly
However interracial marriage has been legal in the whole US for half a century, social barriers still exist. Interracially married couples could face difficulties within their families who might reject the relationship or at least not be comfortable with it which makes each partner feel unwelcomed in the other’s family. Rejection could come from the society too in different levels. Therefore, couples should be open to each other in expressing what bothers them. With confidence, patience, understanding, and time many issues fade away. The important thing is that they pass without getting into your relationship.
The good thing is that the social opposition towards interracial marriage has significantly decreased compared to the past. According to Pew report, the public acceptance of interracial marriages has risen. 63% of Americans accepted the possibility that a member of their family is to marry interracially.
3 What a chance to learn and expand
Life partners of different races probably have mutual values or shared interests that have attracted them to each other in the first place. However, you should also find the best way to cope with the differences. Almost every couple needs to do so; the differences could just be magnified when it comes to interracial relationships, for the partners mostly have ethics and values developed from their cultures and traditions. And what is better than taking this unique experience as a chance to learn and see things from other perspectives.
4 Be Truly open-minded, not just in love with the idea
In a world where people are born labeled one way or another, it’s not easy to free your mind from labels completely. Some think they are more open to differences and change than they genuinely are, mainly if one is raised up in a closed surrounding among conservative people. If that’s the case for you, to earn an open mindset, make sure to practice your mind and to live that way, not just have a romantic idea about how it is to be open-minded. You could enhance the muscle by educating yourself about other traditions and cultures, learn different languages, and interact with people of different races and backgrounds. If you still have issues that you can’t deal with on your own, psychotherapy is another solution.
5 Plan well for the future… Your children
Make sure when you decide to bring newcomer/s into this world that the surrounding environment they will grow up in is healthy. As grownups, you are probably strong enough to deal with the complications you might face, but children are too young to handle racial burdens and annoyances, starting from stares and whispers to negative comments in public and even intimidation and hostile actions. The bright side is that the areas of acceptance are expanding and that many people have passed the prejudgment of others. So, if you are not in such a place and among such people, plan to move into one.
6 Celebrate both the commons and differences
It’s an essential attitude that could greatly serve life partners generally and interracial couples specifically. Always appreciate what gathered you in the first place and learn to deal with the differences wisely along the way. Share the celebrations of your holidays and cultural events. It could be a great chance to refresh the way you have been spending them for years by personalizing the celebrations so that both of you feel it and enjoy. The more you understand, the deeper you accept your partner naturally. So, it’s a good idea to have discussions about your cultural differences which will enrich your knowledge, emphasize the connection between your minds and strengthen your relationship.
7 Invent your special celebrations
When the couples are more understanding of each other’s personality, traditions and culture, they could get more creative merging their practices and ways of life mindfully. They could come up with new celebrations or develop current ones to be meaningful to them both. It’s not so hard for beyond the layers of differences there is a unity that you could reach if you dug deep enough.
8 Learn about the history, but don’t stay in the past
Learning about the history could benefit the present as long as you don’t imprison yourselves there. For example, the grudges of the past between the white and black in America and the bitterness that still exists till today need to be acknowledged then put aside for an interracially married couple to live the present and build the future healthily.
9 Deal with the critical decisions as a team
Cultural and religious differences could lead to various patterns of thinking and perspectives of life. Therefore, an interracial married couple should emphasize the commons they have to be the earth they can stand on tall together. After that, the journey of exploring each other’s minds would be an enjoyable adventure. Doing this serves well when the life partners have to make vital decisions. Another thing that could help couples from different backgrounds is to learn the art of listening. During discussions, many of us tend to listen while our major attention is on how to respond and convince the other side of what we believe is right. True listening demands complete attention, and therefore understanding, to what is said.
10 Respect causes love to endure
Respect could reasonably be described as the supreme law that governs all healthy relationships. It’s the other face of love that allows it to thrive and endure. In case of interracial relationships, you need to appreciate the aspects of your partner that doesn’t make sense to you because they are part of the whole you love.
It’s not easy to initiate and maintain a healthy interracial relationship. So, make sure it’s what you want deeply, and then do your best honestly.