Times are changing. Interracial couples are now a common sight. What used to be taboo is now acceptable and discussed in the open. Because of the growing number of interracial couples, discussions on how to maintain an interracial relationship have come to the fore. In addition to the assortment of ordinary difficulties in a dating or marital relationship is the clash between the cultures of two persons. If you are in an interracial relationship and you want to keep your partner, here are a few tips for a smooth-sailing relationship with that special person:
- Expectations. Expect some form of objection to your relationship coming from your family, friends or even total strangers. This could be rooted in bad experiences or ignorance. Try to be diplomatic with such persons and keep communication lines open.
- Effort. Exert reasonable effort to get to know the family, culture, religious beliefs, and country of your partner. Knowledge is indeed very empowering. Knowing the differences between his side of the fence and yours will help you avoid possible conflicts with him and his family. Showing respect for his culture will gain you more love from your partner and is a start in earning his family’s acceptance of your relationship.
- Get to know each other. Encourage your partner to get to know your family, culture, and all those things that make you different from his. Love is a two-way street. It will not work with only one partner understanding the other partner while the other is intolerant. Knowing each other’s cultural differences and being comfortable with them will help others to understand, too.
- Compromise on problematic areas. Talk to your partner and find a way to meet halfway. Take for instance the story of interracial couple where one is a Bedouin Muslim while the other was Jewish. The couple managed to stay together by not discussing political issues with each other and not compelling one another to convert to the other’s religion just to gain acceptance from their families. Such middle grounds, however, differ among couples so use your good judgment. Negotiate any areas that cause problems. If there is a type of food that you cannot eat, make arrangements to cook for yourself the day your partner wants his special dish. If there are household habits that differ, such as not wearing shoes in the house, discuss one or two areas that might be exempt from the rule. The key is patience, open-mindedness and flexibility. For instance, why not try to join your Muslim partner in observing the fasting period before Ramadan in the house?
- Conflict areas. Learn about areas that are often the source of conflict among interracial couples like differences in conversational style, attitudes toward rearing children and towards extended family members. For instance, interjecting during verbal argument is acceptable to some cultures while objectionable to others. Some cultures can be liberal while others are conservative. Some cultures see marriage as a union not only of individuals but also of families while others view it differently.
- Ask help from a support community. There is a vibrant online community of interracial couples like you. They can give you tips based on their own experiences. You can also seek help from experts, books and other forms of media.
No matter what culture or religion one belongs to, there is enough common ground for everyone to agree on – after all, people share a common humanity. There is no fail-safe solution to keep two people together but by learning how to maintain an interracial relationship is a good start.