A lot has been written and said about interracial marriage. Good reports and bad ones alike. Reports from those who have tried interracial relationships and those that have never ventured into a single interracial relationship. This article is coming from someone that is in the first group; someone that is in an interracial marriage. It is based on my personal experience of interracial marriage and what I have learnt in handling arguments.
Marriage is hard. Everyone admits it. But it can also be loving, exciting, fulfilling, liberating, fun and much more besides. When I first got married myself and my spouse used to argue a lot, I did not really understand what was going on. I thought our differences were interracial and cultural, and in some ways this made them larger than life, almost insurmountable at times. But after speaking with our friends and families on both sides about their relationships I came to realise that what we were experiencing was not interracial at all, but something completely normal that all married couples go through. Of course when you share your life with someone so intensely it can be hard. They will have annoying habits like squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle, flooding the bathroom with water whenever they shower, leaving their clothes all around the room on the floor, piling dishes in the sink until they are overflowing and falling out and smashing on the floor that you will need to get used to. You too will have habits that you never even knew about that will annoy them. At other times, after a hard day's work when all you want to do is curl up on the sofa they will want to spend time with you, and when you are happy and carefree and want to share your joy with your partner they might want to rest or get stuck in a book, or do whatever they like to do to relax on their own. And somehow through all these little differences we need to find compromise and acceptance.
When we argue most of the time I do not even remember afterwards what the argument was about. I just remember how awful I feel afterwards. I may have got the problem off my chest but at the same time I have upset the person I love most in the world. Whatever the problem had initially been at these times it never seems worth the upset. I found that I needed to find new ways of communicating my thoughts without causing us both upset. I have found that general marriage advice for men and women has been really helpful to me in understanding more about the ways we communicate together, and finding out our arguments are not interracial but normal disputes between two people that live so closely together has been a help. The problems are not insurmountable; they are normal everyday problems that any and every marriage will face.
I have learnt that for me, forgiveness and patience are important in marriage, on both sides. I have learnt there is always going to be another day, another chance to make things right between us. No matter how big the argument seemed at the time, later on it will seem like nothing. For me then, forgiveness and patience are the two most important qualities that we must work towards in marriage, and with these we can find resolution.
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Dotun Ola is in an interracial marriage. To share and discuss interracial relationships issues, join him and thousands of people in interracial relationships at the Interracial Relationships Forum
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