It was this tweet that absolutely warmed my heart last year and inspired this post.
I thought I would share..
We’ve had disapproving looks, ‘we are full’, ‘is that your wife’ and many more actions questioning our relationship over the last 40+yrs
We haven’t wavered!
— Prof. John Struthers (@jjstruthersuk) 26 December 2017
Whether you’re a Royal or not. There is no denying that the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan will be marking a poignant and important moment in history. There was a time when people were forbidden, physically abused, stoned and dehumanised for being in an interracial relationship. There was a time when, it was strictly forbidden to marry outside of your race in the British Monarchy. This is an important moment in British history and a strident step forward for many multicultural couples. Their union and response to hate is also a poignant reminder that the freedom of simply displaying our love for each other is something we cannot take for granted, but a firm reminder that love will ALWAYS win.
We are celebrating the Royal Wedding this week by celebrating YOU and some of your gorgeous love stories. In this two-part series, we’ll be sharing the joys of being in multi-cultural relationships, some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome and some of your top tips for making your love work for you!
These love stories are positively gorgeous. I defy you NOT to smile!
Andrea and Aaron
Photo: Lawson Photography
Meet Andrea and Aaron, cinematographers at Reel Weddings
Cultural blend – British and Indian
Andrea: We will have been (mostly!) happily married for 12 years this summer. In fact, I can’t believe it’s been that long! Marriage to this man has been such an adventure! 🙂
Aaron: Well, I do like to keep you on your toes! For the info for the reader, I am white British born and have lived here all my life. Andrea’s background is Indian, although she’s been in England since she was 12, so has pretty much grown up here and became used to both sets of cultures and ways of doing life.
How did you meet?
Gary and Gubs
Photo: Lens Monkey
Say hello to Gary and Gubs
British, Punjabi (Sikh)
How did you meet?
We met at our local pub on New Years Eve – Gary was consoling my sister who had just split from her boyfriend and we got chatting!
What you’ve learned from marriage?
I’ve learnt to let things go and to not take things too personal – it’s hard and I’m learning to do it constantly but you have to be aware of it and keep your focus on it or you start getting trapped in the negative vortex which can feel like you’re never getting out of it. Thankfully it’s been few and far between but it can consume you if you let it
Marriage is a marathon not a sprint. You constantly have to work at it and keep the training up in order to enjoy the race – and you want it to be a long race! Learn how to communicate and talk to each other as this also needs constant training.
On Overcoming prejudice
Our tips to making marriage work
Assumpta and Hoira
How did you meet?
We met on dating site OK Cupid! I think it was love at first sight for him and not me LOL! Although I quickly realised during our first date that he was a very special man.
Being in a mixed relationship isn’t always easy. Strangers stare from time and time and people regularly assume we aren’t in a relationship when we are in shops or restaurants – the surprise is always very evident when the penny drops.
When I travelled to Romania to meet my husband’s parents for the first time, one of his family members told me they were “worried” about him initially [because I am black] and as a result they researched my whole family to see what sort of people we were. After telling me what she discovered and sounding impressed, she welcomed me into the family and doted on me the rest of the afternoon.
Once my friends realised I was in a mixed relationship, some them would ask “what do your parents think” as they believed their parents would not be happy. However, both of our parents were very accepting and happy that we were happy.
On Overcoming Prejudice
Keep an open mind.
People who take exception to our relationship can carry that burden themselves – it is not ours to shoulder. If I had reacted negatively to my husband’s relative who was weary of our relationship due to my race, I would not have the wonderful connection with the person in question that we share now. I tried to understand where they were coming from; a small city with little to no diversity – they were simply afraid (and somewhat ignorant) of the unknown. Any friends who questioned my choices, I either educated or ignored.
Karen and Pearse
1. Talk. Always talk. About everything. Through exciting times, disappointing times, frightening times, confusing times and changing times. We made a rule from the get go – we talk. By making this our default setting, we’ve not had to learn how to better communicate during challenging times, as we’re already in the habit. We have recently walked through a very difficult time with my Father’s terminal illness, and navigated it together, because we talk.
2. Listen. As individuals we have different highs and lows at different times, this is the ebb and flow of life and sharing ours together. Listen to walk a mile in the other’s shoes, not necessarily to fix or to explain, but to understand.
3. Champion – Know what really matters to each other – personal and professional. Support, encourage and cheer. We insist upon loud cheering from the sidelines. We are both braver for it.
Nicola and Nabin
How did you meet?
We met in 2011 whilst I was on an adventure with a good friend exploring the jungle of Nepal, specifically Chitwan National Park. There were no fireworks or love at first sight but there was a certain spark, I’d say our souls connected and I loved his positive energy. We stayed in touch for six months and then I took a chance and went to meet him in Kathmandu for a long weekend. Fast forward seven years, three weddings and two daughters later we are happy living in Dubai.
Our story is often referred to by friends as a real life “Eat, Pray, Love”. We met when we both least expected it in the jungle of Nepal and despite our extremely different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicity we’ve always focused on the similarities, our common values and beliefs, in order to overcome cultural challenges.
On overcoming prejudice:
Our approach to overcoming prejudice has been to encourage people to judge not on appearance but on their character. We should always give people a chance and see the best in them. In terms of our approach to cultural differences our rule is to listen to the other, learn from them and to both be open to ‘compromise’, depending on how important something is to the other. It’s all about picking your battles and letting the little things go.
Our tips to a happy marriage:
We embrace all our cultures and religions; Buddhist, Hindu and Christian and will ensure our daughters experience them all in order to make their informed choice about what path they wish to follow. Our advice for a happy marriage is open and honest communication always, along with ultimate respect for the other. Never allow yourself to take them for granted. They are your team-mate, your wingman, your best friend, your rock in life.
Our biggest advice in life is BE PRESENT. We constantly take time out to step back and look at the bigger picture of our lives and to appreciate who and what we have in it.
My couples are absolutely golden! Join us on Friday for more love stories in part two!
Header image: via Professor John Struthers