In the late 1950s, it was illegal for couples to marry people outside of their race in the US; interracial couples were arrested. It was only in 1967 that the Supreme Court declared marriage “across all racial lines” legal. In that year, only about 3% of all married couples were interracial.
In 2015, 1 in 6 newlyweds were married to people outside their race. Another survey carried out in 2010 found that 39% of newlyweds were married to people of different religions.
Despite interracial dating/marriages being a lot more common today than they were in the past, interracial couples continue to deal with certain problems that same-race couples don’t.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
Differences in Values
Something that catches interracial couples off guard is the differences in values they have with their partner.
Consider a marriage between an Australian man and an Asian woman. Australians typically are laidback individuals who like to take some time out to do the things they love and relax. On the other hand, Asians are taught to work hard, be ambitious and value wealth creation.
The differences in values are something all interracial couples have to overcome. They’ll need to find a way to respect one another, compromise and come to an agreement that works for both of them.
Shying Away From Talking About Racism
As much as we’d like to think that racism is a thing of the past, the sad reality is that racism still exists in every corner of the world. Interracial couples may be able to look past each other’s colors, oftentimes their families don’t.
Instead of talking about problematic statements and misconceptions family members may have about their partner, interracial couples tend to ignore. But turning a blind eye to these issues doesn’t make them go away; they need to be addressed upfront.
Choosing to ignore racist remarks and derogatory statements cause a breakdown of communication and will cause a buildup of resentment.
Allowing Others to Affect Their Wellbeing
Most people would like for their families and friends to continue to be a part of their lives after marriage, however, not all family members and friends are going to be supportive of interracial partners.
In such cases, the couple will have to make an honest effort to change the opinions of family and friends. If they fail, it’s best to distance themselves from such people. The problem arises when the toxicity from others begins to seep into the relationship.
If you’re in an interracial relationship, consider seeing a relationship counselor. They can give you the tools to communicate openly with your partner and loved ones so you can enjoy a healthy and happy relationship.
Azizeh Rezaiyan is a relationship counselor at Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling based in Palo Alto in the Bay Area. She specializes in couple’s counseling, family meditation, anxiety treatments, and other psychotherapy treatments.
Call (650) 206-9973 to book an appointment.
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