I love being married, especially to my lovely French-Ivorian man. Our union was not the easiest. In fact it may have been harder than child birth! The mental stamina from both parties was needed. I can boldly say with confidence that my husband is the bravest man I know. Even after marriage the cultural differences try to create collisions but we have learnt to overcome it. Bengali people don’t usually mix. It’s common for my people to marry within the village or even a cousin so the bloodline can continue to be ‘pure’. I however don’t believe in the false concept of keeping blood pure. I very much encourage interracial marriage. Love is not limited by countries, colour or culture.
We had our first child last year and will be married for 5 years in April. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come. We didn’t allow our cultural differences to create strife but instead we learned everyday and respect each other. We understood early in our relationship that marriage came with sacrifices. Sacrifice has a negative connotation but within marriage it’s a beautiful selfless act. We sacrificed the point scoring and judgemental behaviour of customs that one another were not used to. Some might find it hard to identity with these kind of behaviours because they are so accustomed to doing it all the time. I had a tendency of bottling my feelings and then exploding with all the things that my husband did to annoy me. My record keeping of his wrongs was one of the behaviours I needed to get rid of. It was so hard because it made me feel superior to have scores. But once I learnt that we are on the same team and his happiness actually makes me happy, I was able to stop.
My husband encourages me to cook my traditional food and wear saris for any occasion. I also try to imbed his culture, food and language in our family. For example I play French cartoons for my baby that my husband used to watch as a child. I cook plantain and buy Supermalt, that I was only introduced to once I met him. It’s absolutely delicious, everyone really needs to try it once in their lives.
Perhaps some may feel that it’s too much effort for a relationship. Maybe even what’s the point of going through all the differences and hardships of an interracial marriage? Life is so colourful and spending it in a dry dead relationship is torture. Anything worth having is hard work. But marriage is a special union that needs all your strength to work. It’s one of the sweetest relationships that if nurtured properly everyone wins. I challenge all the people who are married or in a relationship to step out and sacrifice one thing and watch your relationship thrive. It’s time to take a paint brush and splash new colours into your relationship.