Interracial and interfaith relationships

I grew up in a very racially homogenous country. I remember learning about other races in school but have not really seen a person of a different race up close until I went abroad when I was 14. Croatia is not homogenous only in terms of skin color of its population, but also in terms of religion. Despite that, I was always taught, both in school and at home, that humans are humans no matter the color of their skin, their origin, language, religion, education, social class…

When I went to US to study I never head a doubt in my mind that I should treat everyone with the same respect. I never chose people I hung out with by the way they look, but by their personality. And frankly, I don’t think I made any mistakes. One of my best friends is African (hello Alphonsine!), and I am married to an Asian. I am aware, though, of the fact that interracial and interfaith relationships, and even more so marriages, are a tabu in most societies. It’s easy to see a reason for something like that, ranging anywhere from different cultures, values, genes, and so on, but with the world becoming smaller by the day, and societies increasingly becoming racially heterogenous, it’s difficult to think of those reasons as valid ones any longer. I feel like the only reasons people have for not accepting those types of relationships are narrow-mindedness and ignorance.

Recently, I came across an article in The Economist discussing interracial and interfaith marriages stating that today, in the US 45% of all marriages are interfaith marriages. I wonder what that percentage would be for interracial marriages? And what it would be for European countries? What the article in The Economist states further is that the reason for such a high percentage of interfaith marriages lies in the fact that people get married later, after they have experienced an autonomous life, during which they fell out of family traditions. However, the bad news is that half of those kinds of marriages in US fall apart. It’s a worrying trend I believe. It seems like, when times get tough in a marriage, people turn to their religion for comfort, and the gap between the couple becomes even wider at that point.

At this particular moment in my marriage, I do not find race or religion to be an obstacle. I cannot claim it won’t become one in the future, but I always like to believe that with enough honesty and conversation, Mr.B. and I would be able to overcome it. I have not fooled myself into thinking that our marriage will be easy or simple, but at the same time I desperately hold on to what I have been taught my whole life – it’s what the inside that matters. I try to be respectful of his religion, culture, and traditions, and expect him to do the same in return, but would never consider trying to convert him, unless he specifically decides on that himself. I suppose problems in interfaith marriages could occur if one person would have too high expectations or would suddenly become too religious and would expect the other person to go along with it. Not agreeing to that could lead to a great abyss in values between the two, which in turn leads to decay of the relationship.

How do you feel about interfaith and interracial relationships? If you’re in one, what challenges are you faced with?

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6 thoughts on “Interracial and interfaith relationships

  1. Glad to have stumbled on your blog. You ask what the problems I’ve faced in an interracial relationship? I’ve got a whole blog on that! hehe. 🙂

  2. The main challenge so far is the nonacceptance of my dear by my family. We are writing about it on our blog as well. The blog sort works as a of log what’s happened so far and as a means of sharing our views to anyone facing similar situations so that they can provide us with their view as well. 🙂

    K

    • If you love each other and are determined to make it work, I am sure the family will eventually come around and accept it. That is usually the hardest thing in these kinds of relationships. I wish you all the luck.
      It’s good that you’re sharing your story with others – sometimes people don’t realize that they are not alone in their problems and that there are others who can help them with advice and support.

      • Thanks for your good wishes 🙂

        We are determined to make this work, no matter how long it takes for my family to come around.

        I’m really glad I took my dear’s advice and ventured into the world of blogging. As you said, it has really helped me understand that we are not alone in this and staying strong is the best way to win my family’s acceptance.

        Hope to read more of your words in the coming days. Going to finish the rest of your blog now. 🙂

        Best wishes to you too.

        K

  3. Hello!
    So glad i stumbled on your blog. I am in an interracial relationship (croatian/black) outside of Croatia. We are very happy together but his parents (croatians) refuse to accept anything to do with us. I was wondering what the perception of black people (Africans in particular) is like in Croatia. Are croatians (older generations) very traditionalists/nationalists in general?
    In general, I don’t think interracial relationships are more prone to disintegrating due to the fact that you come from different cultures. It could be a factor, yes. Willingness to work on your love and relationship together and acceptance of each other’s cultures are also factors.
    Great job on your blog. Wishing you and your husband a lot of joy and prosperity in the future

    • Hi! Very interesting questions you are asking. My personal opinion is that Croatians are generally very racist, even though they would never admit it. However, the resistance to letting foreigners in the country, and discrimination of minorities and LGBT community is a clear sign of how they feel. However, that being said, acceptance of interracial and interfaith marriages depends on an individual. I would assume that if your partner’s parents are living in a small town/village, they would generally be more concerned about what the neighbors will say, and will be less likely to approve your relationship. I would definitely say that, in general, older generations are nationalists, and in some ways scared of foreigners. Weird.

      I completely agree with you that interracial relationships, just like any other, will succeed if there is love, compassion, and compromise. Many times people don’t comment on same-race relationships falling apart, but when an interracial relationship falls apart, they tend to immediately blame differences in cultures. It might not necessarily be that way. I always say that it’s only important to love and respect each other. Skin color or set of genes have nothing to do with it.

      Good luck with your relationship. I really hope things work out for you guys!

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