Royal Wedding Special | Celebrating Multicultural Love & Marriage – Part One

It was this tweet that absolutely warmed my heart last year and inspired this post.

 

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?

Andrea: We met as students, working at a cinema in Manchester, where Aaron fell head over heels (literally!) when he saw me for the first time! Granted, he was coming off the escalator and tripped on his own feet, but my version of the story is more romantic! 😉
Aaron: Our first date was one of long conversations and jokes. Towards the evening Andrea dropped the bombshell that she was arranged to be married! Continuing the conversation for another hour in a state of shock and confusion, I asked for details about the person she was marrying – who he was, if she had met him, and so on – only to be told that it was all a joke. Aaron was smitten from this point. (Nu Bride: Andrea that’s CRUEL! LOL!) Andrea: Yeah, that was a bit cruel on my part. But it got the attention of the man of my dreams! 😀 
Getting swept away
Andrea: Our dating time was short-lived: we dated a mere four months before Aaron asked me to marry him. We just knew we were going to be together forever. We married nine months later in a beautiful and understated church ceremony. We did discuss incorporating both elements of our different cultures into our wedding day, but decided instead to focus on bringing our wide-spread friends and family together and making it a memorable day for them without fussing over the visual details of it all.
Aaron: Being married to Andrea initially meant getting used to subtle differences between different generations. Calling all her parents friends uncle or auntie was quite odd to begin with, as was every single extended family member asking Andrea if I was ‘ok with spicy food’. This question continued for about 10 years. (Nu Bride: LOL!)
Overcoming Prejudice
Aaron: Living in such a multi cultural city as Manchester we have to say that we haven’t experienced much in the way of negative attitudes towards us. Sure, we’ve had the odd stare but we are so lucky to live in a time where our marriage is accepted and celebrated. Others in the past have not been so lucky, and they have risked so much to be together.
Andrea: I believe certainly being one half of an interracial couple has had its ups and downs. We don’t always ‘fit’ into either community, but having said that, our children get to experience both sides of the family and are growing up to be naturally far more accepting of people of different colours, accents, traditions and faiths. And Aaron and I love the diversity this brings into all our lives!
Our tips to making marriage work
Aaron: Communication is key to any successful marriage. However in a multicultural one you need to double down on this. Everything you do or say can initially be analysed and interpreted not as you intended by the different families, so plenty of sensitivity and understanding is needed from all sides, and we’ve both certainly had to be open to learning constantly about the other’s family ways.
Andrea: Absolutely. Appreciation has been a big thing for us too. From the big things that have been a struggle with cultural differences, to the small things like putting up with each others quirks, embracing, accepting and wholeheartedly appreciating our individual-ness has certainly been an integral part of making our marriage work at its best.

 

Gary and Gubs

Photo: Lens Monkey

Say hello to Gary and Gubs

Cultural blends

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

Don’t let the negative comments/phrases/words/actions that others display through ignorance at best, or prejudice and racism at worst, seep into your psyche. Choose the battles to fight and let go of the ones that take up too much energy as it will be you that ultimately pays the price. The ones displaying the prejudice won’t lose any sleep over their actions. Kill the hatred with love and humour and in the immortal words of ‘Queen Michelle of the Obama’ – as they go low, you go high! 😉. It’s not always easy but you’ve got the best support system in the person you’ve married.

Our tips to making marriage work

Don’t put pressure on yourselves to be perfect. It’s fine to argue and fall out – the important thing is how you negotiate the rocky journey back to happiness. Take a break from the argument, feel what you need to feel and talk about it when the fire of the upset is diminished enough to be able to talk rationally.  It’s usually the smallest comment or the most innocuous action that began the argument, so keep it in perspective.

Assumpta and Hoira

 

Cultural Blend

British-Nigerian, Romanian

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

Meet Karen (PR guru at Tippett PR) and Pearse (TV Producer)
Cultural Blends
African-American and Irish
How did you meet?
Karen says: We met at ITV Studios, I showed up for a planning meeting to pitch client locations for a daytime TV show travel segment on which Pearse was the producer…he came out of the lift and it was over as they say. I’d never really believed “you know when you know”…but I did. We went on to become friends, only starting to date after 5 years. Once we did, having unofficially courted for those years, we married within 10 months. We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on 25th April 2018. (Nu Bride: Congratulations!!!)
Overcoming prejudice
Our zero tolerance of any prejudice in the sphere of our lives we control means that we don’t have anyone in our inner circle that would find our relationship notable on the grounds of race or culture.  In the wider world, we’re kids of the 70s. As a mixed race child in the UK I experienced frequent prejudice from both communities, and Pearse on visits to the UK experienced prejudice during the height of the IRA campaign.  We are both thus aware of micro and macro aggressions, but got together at a time where it was very common to date interracially. We’re just one of the many iterations of a blended family.
Our tips to making marriage work

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

Meet Nicola and aka founders of Love has No Borders and Soul Photography in Dubai

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.

Namaste.

My couples are absolutely golden! Join us on Friday for more love stories in part two!

Header image: via Professor John Struthers

, , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Please feel free to leave your nice and friendly opinion here. I promise your email address will be kept private.