Interracial relationship is when two people of different race, culture, ethnicities fall in love with each other, date and eventually start a family together.
I’m an Indonesian Chinese and my husband is a Tagalog Filipino. Even though we are both from a South-east Asian countries, we certainly did have different culture and in the way we were brought up. And it’s true that we gave each other culture shock before!
One of them is certainly language. In Indonesia, our mother tongue language is Bahasa Indonesia and in Philippine, their mother tongue language is Tagalog. It’s just so happen that I grew up in another English-speaking country and he learns and practice English since he was young. So language did not become a problem to us.
Another one is like, Filipino are very chill kind of people. They are so chill that during the Holy week, they will shut down the whole mall. Not the small mall that is in your nearby neighborhood but also the big well-known ones! One of the reason is so that their employees can go home and celebrate Holy week with their family. It is safe to say that you only have fast-food chain stores to eat at that time.
In Indonesia, we do have very special holidays too like Hari Raya, or for my ethnic, it’s Chinese New Year, but even then, we don’t go as far as closing the whole mall in the city just because we are celebrating a special day.
So with all the culture shock and some other differences, here are 5 Tips on how we make our interracial relationship work:
1) Respect Each Other’s Culture!
The most important key to making interracial relationship work is of course respecting each other’s culture. You shouldn’t bash at something just because it’s something different from the way you grow up.
For example, it is normal for Filipino to use their hand to eat with their hand, even if its rice. And in gathering, sometimes they don’t even use plate but lay the food on a big banana leaf and people share them around.
Instead of bashing my husband like he is dirty from eating his with hand and putting food on banana leaf, I respect him still and instead I find it really cool that they are sharing food like this. Because it makes everyone become closer and you can’t play with your phone while eating. Thus, you’ll actually spend quality time with the person in front of you.
2) Learn your partner’s culture
When you’re in an interracial relationship, you have to adapt yourself in some of your partner’s culture. This doesn’t mean that you have to totally change yourself and live like the way he or she is. But it will be nice if you also learn some of their culture like language.
It will show your partner lots of love and feeling touched that you are making effort to learn his culture and language. It is like you’re accepting another part of him.
3) Be open-minded and accept that not only your way is right
When your partner has different point of view from you, it doesn’t mean that your way is always right. Right or wrong is sometimes depend on how the person perceive it.
For instance, when you and your partner got into a disagreement like for Filipinos, family are everything. They will sacrifice their all to help the family members in need. Sometimes it’s not just to help parents or close siblings, it can even extend to helping their neighbor relative.
Personally from the way I was raised and taught, when you want to help someone, you should help the person from your limit and don’t sacrifice for someone who would probably leave you when you’re in need of help. Because, if you give your all for someone else and ended up having nothing in hand, what will you do if they come for help again when you have nothing to give them now?
This is the situation where I have to learn to adapt and find a balance for it. Instead of running away, together we find solution to find the middle ground.
4) Be proud of who you are!
Regardless of the different cultures that you have. No matter in what circumstances, you should be proud of who you are.
Yes there are some part of your culture that you think it’s wrong. For example, for me, I don’t like how my fellow countrymen think it’s alright to simply throw rubbish to the road or drains and river.
But there’s also part of Indonesia that I am proud of like we may still be a developing country, but we still have many green trees and we are the ones who created the wonderful batik!
Your culture may have flaws but it is also one of the factor that makes you who you are. So don’t let your partner’s culture and way of living let you be inferior of him or her. It is important that you are comfortable with each other!
Lastly, you have to communicate with your partner, tell him or her what’s your culture is like, how were you raised, the environment you grow up with so that they will understand you better.
Like for example eating rice and food with hand is uncomfortable for you, then tell your partner that you’re not used to this and would prefer to use spoon.
Don’t just assume that he or she will automatically know things magically without you having to tell them.
Ask him or her to teach you like the language, traditional dance and learn what’s okay and not okay for your partner’s tradition.
All in all…
It is important that you have to learn to adjust yourself in an interracial relationship, be open and able to accept your new surrounding from each other.
When the two of you can cope with each of your own indifference, the two of you will grow a really strong relationship.
Give respect to each other, be open-minded, learn and accept your partner’s culture while still be proud of who you are. Remember to communicate, tell each other what you are comfortable with and ask them to teach you about your culture so you can understand each other better!
I hope this post helps you and drop by at the comment if there is anything that you would like to ask me, I will gladly reply and help you in the ways I can.