Do you fantasize true love as romantic and passionate with little or no conflict?
Do you fear fights and dread flaws?
Do you flinch from differences that could bring you discomfort?
My father once tried to make me promise him that I wouldn’t date American boys just before I left for America at age 16. He feared that I would marry a man who’s foreign, unfamiliar with or disrespectful of Chinese values. His concept of an ideal marriage is between people of the “same sound and style.” (同声同 气).
Little did he know decades later, I would marry a Caucasian (Swiss-German) guy from Long Island who was studying Chinese years before we had met. Ken had also traveled extensively to Asia including India, Japan, Hong Kong and different parts of China. He also speaks French and Russian.
Our world in the 21st century is witnessing more interracial marriages between people of different color, creed and culture because that is who we have become. We have become open to a variety of backgrounds and experiences. We have embraced a global trend of multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-national interactions empowered by curiosity, technology and travel.
We have learned to see and to convert one another’s differences into asset and advantages to help us grow. We have discovered the folly of preserving and clinging tightly to what we already know.
As real people, we all have flaws and fears. That’s what being human means.
After decades of dating men of different racial groups and ethnic backgrounds, I have discovered that in my own marriage, true love is not conflict-free.
True love enables conflict to surface. True love tempers conflict with mutual understanding. True love corrects and forgets wrongdoing.
My husband and I have fought but we don’t keep scores.
We have lost our temper with each other but we always find a way to reconnect.
We face our differences with honesty and respect.
We don’t flee from or hide our flaws, we laugh about them.
We catch each other when either of us falls.
When my father first met Ken in Hong Kong shortly after we got married, our drastically different looks initially stumped him. But he got over the first shock in no time and began speaking to Ken in English. Why? Ken first spoke to dad in Chinese. In love, there is no East or West, black or white. It is colorless – like water, like oxygen, it is what the world needs now.