Sunday, January 25, 2009

Our Love Story: Opposite Family Reactions

On New Year's Day we had a perfect and clear view of the ferry building. We were in love and dating. My bliss turned to worry when I started to think about my Honey's family. My family had been so supportive of us and encouraged us to get together. Honey and I had known each other for a year and I hadn't met his family. Could they ever accept me as I was from a different culture and religion? And then I thought this was going to be very hard on his mother.
Can she ever except me and our relationship and how would we deal with our opposite parent reactions?

OK I needed to calm the female worry down. I had been happy and been in a new relationship for about five minutes and was now trying to sabotage it. I told myself that Honey and I had a lot going for us. We were both fighters in life, family and friends meant the world to us and we had both been through a lot in our lives. I felt that we could handle anything.

When parent's make the decision to move away from their motherland change is inevitable. I have also always told my father, that when they decided to move my family from Toronto to Newport Beach the expectations of how my life was going to turn out had also changed. It was unrealistic to think that I was going to still, one day, find and marry a Canadian man. The odds were that I was going to date boys from Orange County and probably learn to surf or cheerlead. Luckily my eyes were more open. From each move I learned the differences about the people around me.

I was no longer sheltered by one city.

My Honey seemed to be apart of two worlds. In one half of his life was his family, culture, tradition and commitments. The other half was his Western upbringing filled with friends, music and sports. Both parts made him into the person that he is today. It must be difficult when the time comes when you want to bring those two worlds together. You have changed, but has everyone else?

One couple that I really admired, had taught me a lot about parent's acceptance of relationships and being from different backgrounds. 'Brandon and Janine' had met in law school. He was a Persian Jew from Los Angeles and she was a Spanish Catholic from New York. Both parent's objected to their union. They were so in love and happy that they decided to move to a neutral city to encourage their relationship and chose San Francisco. In San Francisco, they lived together and were engaged and married after 4 years.

Brandon and Janine are wonderful people. They brought out the best in each other. Both sets of parents felt otherwise. Their wedding was very strained. It wasn't until they had a baby that the strain lessened. This conflict brought Brandon and Janine closer to one another. They had to fight together not against one another. They wanted to be happy and still have wonderful relationships with their parent's.

Honey and I were about to battle years of tradition, culture and acceptance. I wondered would we get stronger from this or would it ultimately break us apart. Tell me about your experiences with meeting your partner's family for the first time?


Debbie said...

Your story is very compelling. Thanks for sharing it with us.
My experiences were not very news worthy, which is probably a blessing.

Miss Anne said...

Thank you for sharing yourself and your story with me/us yet again...

It reasonated with me because we (J and I) come from non-traditional families and they will meet for the first time at our wedding... which is gay wedding mind you... my family is very accepting and so is J's... we're so thankful... and look forward to bringing them together.


Mary-Laure said...

It can be hard when there are cultural gaps - I speak from experience...

Susanna-Cole said...

If you're meant to be together, I think any struggles will only make your relationship stronger. :)

Thanks for your kind comment, by the way! ;)


Fancy Schmancy said...

Wow, I have nothing, really. Just compelled to keep reading your story and find out how it works out!

Laura said...

I am so glad that you all are touched and can relate. Breaking down barriers takes a lot of time and patience. As long as everyone involved just wants everyone to be happy it can work. I think that friction happens when happiness is not the only agenda.

Le laquet said...

My MIL is "a one!" Simon was collecting a bag from the car the first time we met - she opened the door, looked me up and down and said "yes?" Her first proper sentence to me was "so, are you over 18 and solvent?" It's a learning curve!!!

Girl Japan said...

Alright, a fella Kosher gal-- hi there!

I did not experience this, my husband being Japanese was never an issue for my family nor me his BUT I had experienced this with others-- the only advice that I can give, is the person who is seeking the acceptance, his parents, he must stand up to them, he is living for his happiness now and yours, not theirs, he loves them truly but love should not be a cultural divide.