In the Fall of 2013, unbeknownst to me, I sat next to my future husband. Our professor started off with pleasantries and broke down the syllabus. It was orientation as usual until, out of nowhere, she had a prophetic warning, “Oh! And it isn’t uncommon for my students to end up marrying each other. I’ve already had two couples get married and I even officiated one of their weddings. You never know who you are sitting next to.” I scanned the room and uncomfortably made eye contact with a few of my classmates. I inspected the kid sitting next to me and thought to myself, “Ya, right.”
But as fate would have it, that kid struck up a conversation with me and our relationship grew. We peer reviewed each others work and bonded over the day-to-day grind of being New Yorkers. We learned that we both believed and valued the same things and were pleasantly surprised when we ran into each other at our school’s Christian fellowship. One day he shot it to me straight. He said, “I like you.” and I surprised myself when I replied, “I like you too.”
Fast forward to 2019 and we’ve been married for almost one year. Life is sweet and it has been since the day I met him. However, something you may not realize from reading the introduction to this blog post is that we are an interracial couple and I want to talk about this.
It’s not even a stereotype, rather a fact that millennials are more likely than any other generation to be accepting of interracial relationships — something I think we all should be extremely proud of. I’ve linked Pew Research data if you want to read more.
I will not lie and say race was never an issue in our relationship. Actually, some of my first thoughts were of worry and concern regarding whether his family would accept me or not. I was serious about him but I couldn’t imagine a future that included a strained relationship with my in-laws. I knew that Indian-Americans were highly unlikely to marry Non-Indian-Americans and I told him that if our relationship were to progress, he would have to tell his family about me.
And of course he did, and they loved me. My family loved him too! In hindsight I see that our families value things like character over the color of one’s skin. Unfortunately, I know that this isn’t always the case for others.
Over the years, being in an interracial relationship has revealed many things to me but what stands out the most is that it shows me who can’t seem to look past our differences. These are some of the questions and comments that often catch me off guard:
“Your kids are going to be so pretty.” I want to respond, “Thank you, but do you say that to same-race couples too? Having a baby isn’t a science experiment for us. It’s having a baby just like it is for any other couple.”
“Did you have an American wedding?” I wish to reply, “Yes? I think so? By American do you mean a Christian wedding in a chapel? Because my family and my husband’s family are all Americans.”
“Would you mentor me on interracial dating?” I ought to say, “Flattering but confusing. Mentor? Um. Sure. I don’t exactly know what you mean, but I’ll try.”
“Amy (not her real name) and I were talking the other night about how you are a ‘unique’ couple and were wondering what drew you to each other. Like how did you become a thing?” I was stunned. I wondered what exactly they meant by “unique.” I should have asked them.
These commentators aren’t malicious by any means. Actually they are often kind-hearted friends of ours that are spewing out a stream of consciousness. I’m glad they feel comfortable enough around us to share their thoughts. It’s just revealing. I can see how for many, it’s still hard to look past the exterior of our relationship.
I can’t speak for everyone but I know our relationship is not a fetish or an experiment. We are two people that love each other for the human beings that we are. We’ll patiently and graciously wait until all of our friends and community see us that way too.
Thanks for reading.
I’ll talk to you again soon!