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• Be realistic about your expectations. Before you even get married, take stock of your friends and family and think about their reactions and feelings toward your interracial relationship. If your closest friends and family have problems with your interracial relationship, then you might want to prepare yourself to receive the same (or worse) from people you don’t know. You cannot force people to change but you can make up your mind to not let their negative attitudes poison your marriage.
• Don’t get angry or defensive. Many people fear what they do not understand or they get nervous about things that are different. If someone has a negative reaction about your interracial marriage, don’t jump down their throat – give them a chance to talk through the situation and look for an opportunity to educate them about the issue or to at least dispel some of their ignorance. Again, you can’t expect to change people or control their reactions but you can control how you respond to them.
• Keep your families involved. Even if your families are having a hard time accepting your interracial marriage, it is important to avoid cutting them off. Having the support of your family is important for the success of any marriage, especially if there are children in the picture. When you are preparing for marriage, spend as much time as possible with each other’s family and try to keep the connections strong as you move forward in your lives together.
• Be respectful of one another. In many cases, race is not the only major difference on the table with an interracial marriage. There are often differences in terms of religion, heritage, family values, financial habits, and more (this is true with any marriage, not just an interracial one). If you want your marriage to succeed you need to be able to understand where your spouse is coming from on key issues which means learning about their background and respecting the things that are important to them.
• Be mindful of your own judgments and prejudices. As much as we might like to think otherwise, we all have certain perceptions and prejudices about races other than our own. It has to do with how we are raised and it is also shaped by our own experiences with other races. In order to make your interracial marriage work you need to be aware of these things (not just the prejudices of other people) and address them openly and honestly with your spouse.
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