You can check out yesterday's post for more details on Loving Day and the first couples in this series.
Meet the Bacon-Lius
I am a biracial woman married to a Chinese-American man. One thing I've learned in the five years we've been together is that our different backgrounds have made our marriage stronger.
We have been able to learn so much from each other, and I've gained valuable perspectives from my husband. We don't believe in being "colorblind" when it comes to our relationship. Instead, we celebrate our heritages and are intentional about respecting each other's traditions and values.
There are times when our cross-cultural relationship has caused tension and miscommunication. But at the end of the day, we are still two married people trying to make it work like everyone else! Now that we have a son together, it is even more important that we instill pride in his rich cultural background.
The family I grew up in and the family I'm creating with my husband would not be possible without the courage of the Lovings! I'm so grateful for my family, and I owe the Lovings so much for how they paved the way for families that look like mine!
Connect with Alyssa: Blog | Twitter
Meet Michelle & Gerber
I'm from California, but I met Gerber while volunteering in Guatemala. He was working as our translator. We started dating and pretty comfortably moved between English and Spanish. We visited each other's families and began to dream about our life together. He proposed on the floor of my tiny apartment and then six months later, we repeated our vows behind the huge stone walls of Antigua, Guatemala.
I'm pretty sure all marriages have to unpack expectations. I just think intercultural marriages have a few extra things to sort through. The starting point is often so different.
It's like doing a complete home remodel with one set of plans in feet and the other in meters. Both sets of plans take accurate measurements, both sets of plans work, but they require a whole new way of communicating and thinking. In our experience, usually someone ends up converting their inches into centimeters or vise versa.
You also may decide that some rooms just can't be converted or explained, they just are. And usually, one person feels more comfortable initially moving between different systems. But hopefully, in the building process, you both learn and you both adapt. And if you're lucky, you begin to move seamlessly between the two worlds and cultures. You begin to have compassion, empathy, and a deep understanding for a whole new system.
And before you know it, you'll start talking about buying 6 inch-square tiles that are going in your 2 by 3 meter bathroom. Intercultural marriage, like any marriage, involves sacrifice, but it also offers the single greatest insight into understanding a culture different from the one you grew up in. I know I will most likely always feel more comfortable talking about inches and feet, but because of my insightful, dark-skinned, Guatemalan husband, I have learned a thing or two about meters and a whole new way to measure.
Connect with Michelle: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Meet Rachel & Ebuka
My name is Rachel. I am from the United States. My husband is Ebuka. He is from Nigeria, but grew up in Mozambique. We have four languages heard regularly in our home: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Igbo. We are the first in both our families to be a cross-cultural couple.
It has definitely had its challenges, but many more gifts. I am learning to cook like a "good Nigerian wife" (a joke we regularly make) and my husband has learned how to landscape and fix things in order to work side-by-side with my father and brothers.
My favorite thing has been learning something new every day. I love learning my husband's language. I love getting to know my in-laws (who refuse to even allow me to call them in-laws because "we're family and that's that"). I love that are children are surrounded by different languages, food, clothing, and traditions.
The best marriage advice we received was from my mentor, a Guatemalan married to a U.S. citizen. Give 100% to him and his culture, as well as teaching him 100% about yours. Together, you will create a beautiful culture that is unique from those you grew up with.
We met our first year in college, and we have been together ever since. We are now looking at moving abroad to work in international development.
Meet Victor & Lydia
I'm Lydia, a 27-year old American married to a 28-year old Mexican named Victor. We met in 2012 while working in a restaurant together. Our friends thought we were an odd couple at first because I didn't speak any Spanish, and Victor was limited with his English. But we just took our Spanglish and never looked back!
We have been married for two years now. He is my perfect person. Our relationship mostly consists of us laughing at our differences, both language and culture. We have a one-year old daughter named Charlotte Graciela, and we speak English and Spanish equally to her.
It can be a challenge getting accustomed to doing everything differently: food, household chores, child rearing. But for me, the most difficult challenge is Christmas. My husband's family stays up late and parties all night, but my family likes to have a nice, early Christmas morning.
But the best thing is the laughing and learning. It's not easy learning a new language and culture, but when you have a partner that's equally invested and interested in your language and culture, it's so wonderful!
Connect with Lydia: Facebook | Instagram
Meet Sarah & Vaughn
Vaughn and I met in college during our freshman orientation weekend. We were friends for years - 11 years to be exact. I loved his sense of humor and quick smile. Life took us in different directions for awhile, and then it lead us back together.
I teach students English for a living, and I have loved traveling all my life. That love led me to Spanish and teaching newcomers as they transition to their lives in the U.S. One of my assignments for my first graders is to write a "how to" essay. So we picked something new to most of us - how to make a snowball.
Then, I showed them my friend Vaughn's picture. I explained about our first snowball fight and how Vaughn had lost to a... gasp... girl! The boys couldn't stand for that. So they'd write him with advice on how to pack the snow or to buy a snowball throwing machine. That year, he took extra offense when I asked for his address to mail the letters to him. The rest is history!
A quick 12 years later, we married, and life has never been the same. He's the best thing that ever happened to me. It's not always been easy - the distance when we started dating, applying for a fiance visa, Indiana's arctic winter, etc.
Through it all, marrying each other has made us both better people. I am thankful that I am allowed to marry my best friend. It has made my life so much richer, and I look forward to sharing the rest of life together.
Connect with Sarah: Email
It's been such a joy to share these stories of love and diversity and compromise and laughter. Shout out to the Lovings for their hard-earned verdict and the legalization of interracial marriages. We're so grateful!