At the end of this week I will have been married for 17 years. Over that time I have come to believe that one key to a successful marriage is to simply choose the right partner- which I did.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of my marriage being ruled legal in the United States. Had I been born a generation earlier, “the right person” would have been illegal. I think it is important to know that these laws written to protect and uphold the sanctity of whiteness were racist in the most standard and traditional sense. There is not now, and never has been, a non-racist defense of those laws.
But that was then.
When my wife and I chose each other we knew what we were doing. We did not ignore nor were we ignorant of the racial ramifications of being together. Racial identity, self defined or otherwise, plays a role in who any of us become and we loved who we were. We still do.
These 50 years later, or 17 in my case, race in marriage still matters. It matters in my wife and I understanding each other, in how others react to us, and in how we as a whole do or do-not support others moving forward.
We do not advocate ignoring race but rather advocate for understanding it. In marriage, just like any life long decision, there are thing you should know- and some things you simply can’t prepare for. But you have to try.