While we still face a fair amount of isolation, stares and discomfort being an interracial couple in a monocultural, rural, historically racist area (the last public lynching in America was 20 minutes from our home), I’m also keenly aware of the height of opposition that interracial couples before us have faced – legal prohibition, public opposition, even violence. When the stress of our locale heightens, I often find myself wondering exactly how couples before us fared in the midst of much more overt actions. I admire their courage yet am curious about their fear. Surely the opposition was hard on them.
A few things we do that help:
1. We ‘get out’. We can get to a city in an hour (though the current gas prices are making that more challenging!). It’s always surprising to me how much I relax when I see other interracial families. Living in an area where there are few sometimes I unconsciously start to think that our family is wrong – too complicated and too complex to be successful. Just seeing other people doing it gives me hope.
2. We talk. Stuffing our feelings doesn’t help, so there are times when we just vent to each other. Our ultimate goal still remains to love the people around us, but this doesn’t negate the fact that sometimes its hard to live with them. We also learned last fall that it helps to combine step 1 & 2 by getting out AND talking to others at a conference on Christianity and diversity. There, we are able to process some of our feelings in a safe environment with people who just ‘got it.’ It is incredibly refreshing to know you’re not alone.
3. We read. Blogging has been a helpful way for me to be reminded that their are others in this boat – to hear their stories, share their trimumphs and frustrations, and to glean from their wisdom. There’s also a whole pile of books that speak into our lives.
If you’re in a relationship that faces adversity – whether from family or society – how does it affect you? What are ways you deal with negative or uncomfortable reactions to your relationship? While some may have thick skin (ours is thickening), we do still feel and simply can’t always turn off our emotions.
4 thoughts on “Dealing with outside stressors in interracial marriage”
Conferences? I had no idea there were conferences for Christian couples of mixed-culture backgrounds. That does sound like it would be a soothing and supportive retreat. Which? Where? When?
So sorry to hear of your situation. Being in the area you are, things can be tough I would think. Being in an urban area isn’t always a cure either. I remember almost getting into a fight with some skinheads in London – two guys confornted me on why I was with a “white girl”… and I’m glad I listened to Shreemati and just walked away…
I’d probably side with you to react to a situation like that – it really gets under my skin! Good thing our spouses balance us out 🙂 Urban environments definitely still have issues – it just feels a little less intense than rural ones where its so small that everything is magnified anyway!