My husband and I celebrated 9 years of marriage last week. Although we are just shy of hitting those much celebrated double digits, it still felt extremely monumental.
We kept it simple and sweet with a kid-free date night that involved great food and a long, romantic walk. We had great conversation about many, many things, but one topic that didn’t come up is the fact that I’m black and he is white.
That’s not to say that we never talk about this. It’s an aspect of our relationship that we re-visit as we discuss news, politics and raising our girls. But it is one aspect of our relationship, not the defining factor, and reflecting on the last 9 years has led me to want to share why I really married my white husband.
The first version of this piece was originally published on meghanjoyyancy.com.
“If you go back to California and marry a white man, I know it will be for his money!!”
Whoa. Full stop.
As my friend got lost in her own uproarious laughter, I struggled to force out a chuckle behind my now fake smile. As we talked about what the future held, this was the last thing I expected to come out of her mouth.
I wanted to be married. As single ladies, we both did. As far as race, I was always open to whomever that person would one day be. It never occurred to me that if he were white, my motives (and his) might be questioned in that way.
Whether meant to be a joke or not, what this friend said to me nearly 15 years ago sticks. It sticks because I’ve encountered individuals who believe this and other lies to be true.
Growing up in a predominately Asian and white suburb of California, I quickly became accustomed to being the token black girl in all of my classes, before I had any real knowledge of what this would mean.
My first elementary school crush had blonde hair and blue eyes and I didn’t think this was strange or abnormal. No one around me told me it was.
I went on to develop an interest in the biracial boy whose mom was Mexican and dad was white, then the young man whose rich chocolate skin was quite a few shades darker than my own. None of these childhood attractions were particularly newsworthy but I was aware when something changed.
I admit that I was naive to quite a few things, but I wasn’t stupid. I knew in the 7th grade that race in a relationship would matter to a number of people after coming home heartbroken for being ignored at a silly school dance. Sure, it was junior high where hormones are high and hearts break every other day, but it was then that my wise mother told me this:
You are a chocolate chip in a sea of vanilla, and yes, to some, that makes a difference. It does now and it will later, more than you know…
Fast forward to college and I elected to move across the country to attend a prestigious HBCU. It took me way out of my comfort zone in location as well as demographics, but it was an incredible experience that I will never forget. This was the first time I’d known what it felt like to be in the majority, and culture shock was an understatement.
There I was, in the midst of the best and brightest African American women and men, and I was quite certain I’d get my degree and find the love of my life among one of these most eligible bachelors.
Well, this is not how that particular story would end, and I came to realize there were those who thought it was their business to take offense.
I guess your own kind isn’t good enough for you, huh?
What, did you just get tired of black men?
You are SUCH a white girl.
And of course,
If you go back to California and marry a white man, I know it will be for his money.
None. Of. The. Above.
Perhaps this was part of the thought process behind my friend who made that off-putting comment. I’ll never know, but I did return to California from Alabama still open to whomever the Lord would lead me to.
My life would transform many times and in many ways before I met my husband. We met at a predominately African American church where he was the minority. This was nothing out of the ordinary for him.
His upbringing was nearly the polar opposite of mine, with he and his siblings growing up in a primarily black and Latinx community. They were, quite literally, the “fairest of them all” in their classes and neighborhood.
In talking looks alone, a curvy black woman is exactly who he prayed he’d marry one day and well, God came through. Haha. But our love is so much deeper than that.
And while the notion that I’d end up with a man whose ethnic origin was different than mine wasn’t far-fetched (and for some, maybe expected), it’s not for any of the following reasons:
I didn’t get tired of black men.
I don’t think I’m better than black men.
I don’t hate black men.
I did not marry my husband for his money. *insert side eye roll*
Likewise, let me debunk these other myths:
I’m no less of a black woman because I married a white man.
My husband did not marry me to fulfill some fantasy.
As a white man he CAN “handle” his black wife. (What does that even mean??? What human being wants to be handled??).
As difficult as I am at times (yep babe, you’ve got that on record), I don’t run him over with snapping fingers and hard neck rolls.
He doesn’t hate his mother or white women.
So the million dollar question is this:
Why did I marry my white husband?
I married him because he’s a man after God’s own heart.
He encourages and challenges me in all the areas I need it.
He is the epitome of a servant leader.
He is kind, full of integrity and has a huge heart.
He’s a total stud (of course).
He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.
He never tries to make me fit a mold or be something or someone I’m not.
He fully loves, cherishes, appreciates, and embraces me for me, while helping me shine brighter in my #blackgirlmagic.
The list goes on…
And while he asked the question, my husband and I said yes to each other. We said yes to our different skin tones, the different ways we were raised and whatever the future would hold in our multi-racial, multi-faceted family.
We said yes to embracing each others cultural influences and raising our daughters to be confident in the beautiful, God-given skin they’re in.
More than anything we said yes to being an example of Christ’s love to the world, regardless of what people think, while we do our best to honor the sacred covenant of marriage.
And that’s why I married my white husband.