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Chinese and Hispanic mixed marriage

Names have been changed.

Meg is a South American girl with Chinese parents,  Carlos is a Hispanic-American.  
This is our story as told by Carlos.



When we first started dating,  Meg felt that she had to keep our relationship secret due to me not being Chinese.  I was also her first boyfriend.  She was 21,  I was 25.   It was difficult for her to introduce the idea that she might be interested in non-Chinese guys.  I remember her having a lot of fear to talking about such things with her mother.  She kept me a secret for the first 2-3 months.  When she told her mom about me, her mother was not happy,  but I did meet her mother for the first time during Meg's college graduation.  Her mother was courteous but I knew that she had objections. Also, we couldn't communicate due to my not knowing how to speak Chinese and her not knowing English.  At the time, her mother thought that we were not going to become serious, so there was not as much resistance as we would encounter later.  

As time passed there were some contentious moments such as when I tried to give their family a gift for Christmas.   I had been to their house before and noticed that their plates were worn.  I brought them new ones but her mother rejected the gift outright because I didn't get a bowl for their father (he was nearly always away and who I had not yet been allowed to meet and to whom I was still a secret after nearly a year of being together - it simply didn't occur to me), apparently I did not meet cultural expectations. During this time things were getting tense but not as much as when I finally proposed to Meg.  I guess by this time I had known for a while that she was the one.  It was a couple weeks until Meg told her mother about our engagement.  When we became engaged her mother was in effect, forced to take us seriously, and this made things very confrontational. When Meg told her mother,  she became enraged,  and forced Meg to remove the ring that I had bought her. Meg was not allowed to put it on again.  Meg's mother began to give her permanent silent treatment during this time, causing  her brothers to be  brought into the situation - and then they didn't approve of us either.  It was around this time that I was no longer allowed to visit their house.   Looking back,  I think they were young and just wanted to have peace in the house,  but at the time, this made things very hard for us.  

When I had proposed I wanted to get married quickly because I knew there would be a standoff and I wanted it to end quickly,  but things soon changed when Meg's grandmother passed away that year.  Meg's mother threatened that if she married the same year of her grandmother's passing that she would disown Meg.  Meg pleaded with me to postpone our wedding.  I felt very manipulated by Meg's mom,  but I tried my best to support Meg.  Later that year,  her mother went to a fortune teller.  After recounting our birthdays and timing of our births to the fortune teller, he told her that our relationship was doomed to fail and that we would inevitably be divorced.  This was one of several attempts used to try to get us to break up and/or delay our marriage plans.  Other attempts included bargaining with Meg to get x education or x job before we got married,  and enforcing for me to pay a dowry.  Her mother also feared that because my parents were divorced that we too, would end in divorce.  We ended up agreeing to delay our wedding another year.  I regret to say that during these times I found myself having a lot of trouble being as supportive as I wish I could have been.  From my point of view I had a fiancé who didn't wear our engagement ring, to who's father I was still a secret, and who allowed her mother to control our plans to be married and who delayed them at will.  I was pretty certain this could go on forever.  Furthermore, we were very afraid about how her father would react to the news of our engagement: we were scared he could become violent.  Finally, her mother threatened that she would not attend our wedding and during that year Meg suffered 2 nervous breakdowns.  I was badly affected as well.

Later that year the silent treatment had became the norm.  Meg and her mother simply didn't speak anymore.  After reading horror stories of other couples who had delayed their wedding for decades due to their parents wishes and getting a lot of support from members of Mixtogether,  I think Meg decided that she had to take more control.  A couple of months after this,  Meg's father came home for a few days.  This time,  Meg told him the news of our engagement.  Things finally took a turn for the better when he agreed to meet me.  We had a nice dinner at an authentic Chinese restaurant and he asked me many questions about myself.  It was such a relief!  We had feared his reaction a lot,  but in fact,  telling him was the catalyst to getting Meg's mom to talk to her and myself again.  After all this time, and having been delayed several times over,  our wedding was near again.  Knowing this and after talking with Dad, I suppose Mom realized that we were serious.  She went to a fortune teller again,  this time returning to enforce a new date for our marriage.  She chose a date some months after the last one we had planned. Her mother promised Meg that if we obey this 'final' date that she would accept us and let us do as we wish,  so we accepted.  When the date approached, her parents had me over for dinner and had a chat with me; Meg translated.  It had been over a year since I had been to their house,  they told me how they wanted me to behave as a husband,  and reiterated their request for a dowry.  Meg and I had agreed beforehand that I would agree to a dowry.  I suppose at this point I didn't care as much if things made sense, I just wanted them to work.  However, before I left they called me their son and gave us their blessing.  This meant a lot to Meg and I (and certainly signaled huge progress).

They never did attend our wedding;  citing customary reasons of not being able to invite their friends.  But Meg's youngest brother did come.  The red envelope that Meg's parents had given her for our wedding contained the dowry I had paid.  Her mother being poor, maybe felt she needed a way to save face and give something to her daughter for her wedding, and had insisted on a dowry to be able to give a worthy gift.  I make it a point to take Meg home whenever she wants to go see her family and ever since our marriage we have always been warmly welcomed each time.  Meg's brothers and I have definitely grown closer and I consider them my brothers.  Despite everything, I can definitely say that things have vastly improved,  and I am happy to say that I can see them continuing to improve too in the future.

If I look  back I can feel a little bit sad about the idea that our engagement was one of the most difficult and hurtful years of our lives when ideally it could have been a very happy time for a couple and their families, but I am happy to say that after a lot of work: I wouldn't trade anything for the great marriage we have now.

 

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