Interracial Marriage Series: Newly Weds
“It doesn’t matter what blood or race or creed or color. Love is love and it breaks all boundaries and you just see it right away”~ Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson said it best. When one is in love, blood, race, creed, or color should not matter. Read more about how this newlywed couple’s journey of overcoming their struggles of being accepted as a Hmong-White Interracial couple.
1. How did you guys meet? How old were you when you got married? How long have you been married?
We both met each other at my previous workplace. We were friends for 6 months, then dated for 2 years. We are Hmong married for a year now and held our American wedding this year. He is 28 and I am 27 years old.
2.What were the initial feelings your family had about you dating and marrying outside of the Hmong Community/Marrying into the Hmong community? What are their feelings now?
My father is a well known Elder in our family clan and is very traditional. Therefore, some of my family members were not supportive of us talking at first. Many relatives did not like the fact that he was “Meka”. They felt he would never love me like a Hmong husband would. We went through a lot of people talking behind our backs and lectures from elders about why I wasn’t dating a Hmong guy. It wasn’t until my husband proposed to me, that they realize I was not going to waver to their demands of abandoning him. They started to notice that he was adapting to some of our Hmong customs with being a future Vauv. He was a very giving “Meka”. He was kind and patient. So, now they are supportive, understanding, and accepting of my marriage.
My husband’s family did not care and it was up to him to choose who is going to love. He is happy that they felt that way about our relationship.
3. How did you feel about that?
Her: Half of my family was not supportive of the relationship. I was sad at first, but I learned to accept it and move on (I am not be able to make everyone happy). I just told myself that the world is changing and that it’s ok to be different. I was truly happy and confident with my spouse, because he was open minded about my Hmong culture background.
4. Did you have an American wedding or traditional Hmong wedding? Or both?
We had both. We held our Hmong Wedding first and waited about a year to have our American wedding.
5. What did your family think about each ceremony?
My family definitely enjoyed it and got to see it in a different view on how the American wedding was. (It was harder for my us because I have a really big family and for American wedding you need a RVSP/ get your guest qty for food/seats- so we limited it to immediate family and friends). Our Hmong one was a modified version of American and Hmong, but it was open guest list and held at a venue. It was different, but my parents really wanted his family to see how Hmong weddings are.
My husband’s family thought the Hmong wedding was interesting/unique and they got to see a different culture. They noticed there were more rules, lots of talking, and lots of introducing to a lot of people. My in laws said there were a lot of good food. They thought that my family was very photogenic.
6. Did your spouse have to pay the dowry?
Yes he did.
7. Describe your relationship with your in laws?
When I was going to be introduced to my in laws, I was pretty nervous and worried because of the way my family treated my husband when they first met him. I was worried that his family would be the same way. I had many things that ran through my mind. “Were they going to be accepting of me? Am I too fat, too skinny to their liking? Will they like me?” But my in laws ended are pretty chill and relax. They are easy to talk to and very loving. They are interested and respect my culture. They know when to say something and when not to.
Him: It is a positive relationship and there is a language barrier and I am learning Hmong to help with that.
8. Describe your spouse’s relationship with your family?
My husband is very open and patient. He understands that there is a language barrier and is willing to learn Hmong to communicate with them. My parents do speak some English and he encourages them to speak and they do try.
Him: My wife has a good relationship with my family. They love and accept her.
9. Does your spouse participate in events within your Family and the Hmong community, for example, attend funerals, killing cows, attending the New Year, etc. What does he think about all of it?
Yes, he does attend. They have a lot of events on the weekends and feasts.
Funerals: He has been to quite a few funerals and understand the need for help and some reasoning behind the Hmong Customs.
Hmong New Year: Yes, we attend every year in our Hmong clothes.
Hmong Weddings: Yes, he has been to one only. It was more of a hand tying/blessing ceremony since the actual wedding was held overseas. He noticed there were a lot of people, hand tying, and money was involved.
10. What has been the best thing/worst thing about marrying outside of your race?
The best thing I would say I thought I would not be accepted by his family, but when I got to meet/ know them they were very loving. The only worst thing I would have to say that you can’t control what others say, think or feel about you dating another race. You just have to overcome and take the positive and ignore the negative.
Him: BEST: I get to see the different culture and learning it. WORST: It will take time to remember everyone’s name and their relationship to the family.
11. If you have children, how has that affected your relationship with family members? If you have children, are they treated differently from the other children? If you have children, do your children know how to speak Hmong? Is that important to you for them to speak Hmong?
No kids right now. When we do have kids we both agree to teach them Hmong and it is very important for them to learn.
12. Any advice to others out there who may be struggling to receive support from their families.
It was very difficult for me at first since I am Hmong and a woman. I would say that love is not the color of the skin, but the person that they love. If you truly believe in it and fight for it. Both of you have to meet each other halfway and be open to learn from each other’s background. Now that we are married, I feel like I’ve opened the door and conversation for other relatives who are going through what my husband and I went through. Hope my story helps those who need words of encouragement.
Him: If you love the person then you love the person. Do not let anything else get in the way.