As discrimination and prejudice are often a part of our daily lives, it is not uncommon to run into challenges being a biracial couple. These might include both external and internal factors, such as the misconceptions and hostility that others may have about your marriage, and your own difficulties in trying to live harmoniously while protecting your own cultural values and ideals. We will explore various possible biracial marriage challenges and how you can overcome them and lead a successful and happy married life.
How common is Biracial Marriage?
The current percentage of biracial marriage in the United States is a staggering 17%, which is a substantial leap from its historical record 50 years ago. It used to be illegal to marry out of your own race. Yes, you heard that right. It was only until 1967 that the ban on interracial marriage was lifted with the case of Loving vs. Virginia. They spent time in jail for marrying another race and had to relocate to Washington. Today Loving Day is celebrated every year on 12 June to commemorate the day that the ban on biracial marriage was lifted.
Interestingly, Asians are the most likely to enter into a biracial marriage at 29%, as compared to 27% for Hispanics, 18% for African Americans and 11% for whites. Out of these biracial couples, approximately 41% ended in divorce after 10 years of marriage, which is 10% higher than that of homogenous couples.
External Biracial Marriage Challenges
As a biracial couple, you can find yourselves the target of biases and judgments from others, such as friends, families, and relatives, or even strangers. In these times of difficulties, the best person that you should turn to is unsurprisingly your other half. Discuss these problems openly so you can find comfort as well as handle these situations in the most amicable way.
Below are some of the challenges you may encounter, some of which might be a direct or indirect outcome of another:
- Uncalled-for hostility
- Discriminatory attitude and treatment
- Undermining comments, jeers and insults
- Public stares
- Cyber bullying
- Being disowned by family
- Estranged from former friends, families and relatives
- Feeling rejected and depressed overall
Problems with Children
You probably never anticipate the challenges that your offspring may face in the future when entering into a biracial marriage. As a mixed child, there will inevitably be moments of doubts and the probability of getting bullied in school. You need to frequently talk to your children and try to identify any issues they might be facing and resolve them timely. Bullying can be particularly traumatizing for younger children and it can leave emotional scars that are possibly carried to adulthood.
In addition, take extra steps to reinforce your children’s positive attitude and viewpoints towards both races and culture backgrounds. They need to feel proud of their mixed heritage and embrace it in order to grow into a confident and self-assured adult. Frequent educational sessions about your and your partner’s cultural origins and histories can be helpful to achieve this. You and your spouse need to sit down and discuss how you will decide on your parenting methods so that your child can benefit from your culture & racial differences instead of being handicapped by them.
Internal Biracial Marriage Challenges
Not pertaining only to issues with outsiders and onlookers, challenges can come from within your marriage. This means that you and your partner might have unresolved differences, some of which only surface after marriage. This happens mainly because people are usually smitten with their other half before getting married and believe that love and love alone can overcome any challenges. But once the initial sweet and honeymoon-ish stage of marriage is over, they are taken aback by how much of a challenge their different upbringings and cultural backgrounds can create.
These problems could revolve around cultural related aspects such as faith, religion, parenting methods, discipline, finance, diet, exercise, childbirth, habits, taboos and customs. In order to overcome these differences, you and your spouse need to openly discuss and together find a way to bridge the cultural gap stemming from the nature of your biracial marriage. Sometimes it is best to make some adjustments in your lifestyle to cater for the other’s cultural background and habits. Remember that in order for a marriage to work out, both parties need to make certain sacrifices and efforts. Celebrate your differences instead of pretending they never exist.
When all else fails, you may seek professional help from marriage or relationship counselors who might offer some insights into how you can overcome your differences and lead a healthy marriage life like other homogenous couples.