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A relationship with a non-sikh: any advice

Discussion in 'Love & Marriage' started by chris, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. chris

    chris
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    Hi.

    I am a caucasian man in his mid-twenties. I am a doctor and I would call myself spiritual but non-religious. My problem is that I am in a long term relationship with a Sikh girl whom I love very much.

    She is also in her mid-twenties and a doctor. She is a sikh but does not practice regularly. She is however religious on a more personal level and sikhism is very important to her.

    We both come from middle class families, we both have similar likes and dislikes, we are both in the same profession, we get on extremely well and love each other very much.

    The only obstacle to us being together is her family. She has met my family and I have met her brothers and sisters and we all get along very well. Her parents have no idea about me, and would rather her marry a Sikh, preferably of the same caste.

    I understand the reasons behind parents wanting their children to marry people of similar upbringing - it makes perfect sense. It means people have less differences around important matters such as religion, and can continue to live their lives as they are used to.

    For us, as we have discussed all these things. I am happy with her to practice as she sees fit. I am happy to educate our children in both cultures and allow them to decide what and how they want to practice when they are old enough. I am happy to continue to learn, as I am already, about Sikhism. I would not convert as it would be patronising to pretend I am something when I am not. I am however happy to learn Punjabi so as to help talk to her relatives.

    I am not sure this is enough however, and the reason I feel is pride. The simple fact is, that if she marries me her family will be known as the one where the girl went off a white man. This would be a source of a great deal of arguments, wounded pride and possibly a family rift.

    I came on this forum to ask for advice and help. I cannot change my background, but I want do to make myself more acceptable to her parents, so that if and when I meet them it will be less problematic.

    Is there anything I can do?
     
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  3. semicharmed

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    hmmm well it's promising that you've met her siblings...it means that she intends to introduce you to her parents at some point, so thats a good sign. The thing is that, for myself anyway, being the 1st children of immigrant parents we have this fear of disappointing them, since they gave up so much so we could have and maintain the lifestyles we currently have. Yes her family will be upset when she tells them she's dating whitey, BUT they will get over it. She's educated, so are you, she's not dependant on them if anything she can go on with her relationship with you while her folks figure out how they will handle it. DOn't stress about your faults in this, she knew what she was getting into, and it's just the initial reaction that she's probably gonna have to deal with that is the major hurdle. At the end of the day, she's with someone respectable and that matters more to them than some white guy, with no education or interest in the culture. It will be fine, shes' not the 1st Indian girl to marry whitey:)

    Semi:)
     
  4. Sherab

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    I just became Sikh, converting from Buddhism - My girlfriend's cousin and I are learning's Gurmukhi and Punjabi together, and her cousin will be taking me to Gurdwara.

    Just be open, and also be reasonable.

    PS. I too am white
     
  5. harpreetsingh

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    Hi Chris,

    I do undertsnd your predicament. Yes, it is true, atleast in India , that parents do like sikh boys for their daughters. Times are changing as well.If the parents of your friend are settled for a long time out there the chances of accptance becomes better.

    The chances , ofcourse, improve if one knows Punjabi and follows sikh ethics in formal manner. One may have to visit Gurudwara after marriage with the counterpart. The lady may not like to reciprocate. One will have to maintain a delicate balance between the relatives of the girl's side and the relatives of your own.You may also have to think as to how the girl will be taken care of by relatives of your side. Kindly be careful as the matter is fairly delicate and it is not always possible to give blanket advice without having detailed information.

    I have stated my reaction as a neutral observer.

    Best of luck.
     
  6. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    In-laws are human too.
    Coming straight to the point:

    There’s no question that in-laws can break up a relationship . Toxic in-laws fall into five categories, according to Susan Forward in the book “Toxic In-Laws” (Quill).

    Critics: They know best, they’re older, they’ve been there, they know how to do it and you don’t—and you can’t do anything right around them. You’re not investing your money right, you’re not raising your children correctly, you’re living wrong, and so on.

    Engulfers: “Our child is obligated to spend as much time with us as we see fit. We’ll decide on what we’ll do on birthdays and holidays.” They peddle a lot of guilt and obligation.

    Controllers: They’re insecure people who use intimidation and other heavy-duty tactics. They want their way and they’ll do a lot to get it. Some of their tactics are mean or scary. “If you don’t do what we say, you’ll never see us again, and we’ll write you out of the will.”

    Masters of chaos: They become the helpless kids and expect you to parent them. They’re the alcoholics or the ones with financial troubles, or other major problems.

    Rejecters: You are not the one they wanted. They have totally closed their hearts and minds to you—and these are the darkest of the toxic in-laws.

    As much as you might wish it otherwise, Forward offers an in-law reality check:
    1.) Your in-laws aren’t required to love you, like you or approve of you. If they do, wonderful. But you’re not their child, and the bonds they have with you may never be more than tentative.
    2.) Your in-laws won’t change on their own. Tables don’t become chairs, and what you see is probably what you’ll get for a long time, or at least until you and your partner take some decisive steps to change the dynamics between all of you.
    3.) Your in-laws may never become the people you would like them to be, and your blended family may be close, comfortable or warm.
    So in short,
    Faith is an oasis in the heart
    which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking.
    It is better to believe than to disbelieve;
    in so doing, you bring everything
    to the realm of possibility.
    ~ Albert Einstein ~
    More later from begum.
     
  7. TGill

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    Hi Chris,

    I think if you love that lady, just marry her and don't worry about any religious stupidities or the family. Is she really loves you, she will remain with you otherwise you are just wasting your time loving her.

    Be it sikhism or be it christianity or judaism, it is all falsity.... Only love is the truth...

    Why should you become a sikh, why can't she convert to you religion ?

    -But yes, If you could do that for her love then it is perfect, otherwise you are just going to remove one false garb and wear another false one....

    Take care buddy
     
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  8. KulwantK

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    This is a situation which is becoming more common by the day. A big difficulty is that no one has written a guideline on how to deal with it! We can all read books by Miss Manners on how to write the perfect thank you letter, and other items dealing with good manners, but no one has codified how to deal with situations like yours! What to do?
    What do you and she wish to do together? Firstly, you all have to get that one absolutely clear. If you do not wish to become a Sikh, then that is that. She obviously wishes to remain one. That is that.
    The future in-laws? They may be wonderful to be around, or it could be very hard to be around them. If you marry her, bear in mind you two may need to be very firm in standing your ground if they wish to put up a fuss.
    Proceed carefully in all that you do in this matter.
    Please keep us posted- we all wish the best for you!
    Cheers and Blessings,
    Kulwant
     
  9. Simmi

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    Dear T Gill,

    I strongly support your views. True Love is something that happens only once in lifetime, which is beyond religion. If you succed in getting your true love you will be the happiest person on this earth. Love means respecting all religions.

    No religion preaches hatry. All religions say there is only one God The Almighty.
     
  10. Huck_Finn

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    simmi ji

    what a quote


    <<[​IMG] Love is a tender touch, a warm embrace.
    Its something that leaves on everlasting trace.[​IMG]>>


    :cool:
     
  11. pk70

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    All religions say there is only one God The Almighty.

    So stick to the Almighty than sticking to religions !
     
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  12. Huck_Finn

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    pk70 ji

    best answer of the day:happy:
     
  13. Sagefrakrobatik

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    THere is a similar discussion in a catholic forum. Its a Catholic girl dating a Muslim boy. The majority of the post seem to be against the furtherance of this relationship. SOme of them feel that the Muslim man might suddenly convert and become more observant than he is and try to force his wife to convert to Islam. I met another guy who converted to Judaism so he could marry his wife. Despite what some may think I believe interfaith marriages are possible. Last month I was invited to a multi rellgious event hosted by a Husband and Wife. The Husband was Muslim and the WIfe was Hare Krishna. Yes there are contradictories between religions but their is also contradictions within religion. yet we seem to gloss over those. Anyway as long as one culture doesnt take precedence over the other...as long as the children are familiar with both cultures and religious viewpoints then everything should be fine. Yes it might be hard but comprimise is needed. There might have to be some sacrfices. For instances if a Muslim might have to give up eating meat for his/her hindu spouse and a Hindu spouse would have to give up alchohol. I think it will help the children grow and learn to appreciate other cultures.

    Get to know the culture. It would probably knock your potential in-laws socks off if you were able to converse with them in Punjabi. You dont have to convert but just show an open mind to their religion and be humble. Try to draw similarities between your spirituality and their religion.
     
  14. Canuck Singh

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    I believe you honest answers have already built a foundation upon which you can continue forward. You must present yourself as honorably and honestly as you can. Whatever answers you don't have right now, expect them to come when they are needed. Develop a strong connection to your intuition to discover the correct path in this situation. It is not a matter of if it is meant to happen it will happen, it is a matter of if you make the correct environment for all the positives to shine through about the situation, then you will attract to the situation the positive in all those who you seek approval of. Make a plan and act rationally and intelligently (which you already are no doubt) about the correct course of action to take.
     
  15. Archived_member7

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    Hi
    well its good that you have given a thought to your girlfirend's family and thier religious beliefs ..Well i dont know if this might be good for you ..but i have a thought ..now in this situation ..well u could be the best judge ,..ask yorself are you religious ? a regular at sunday masses ? does the philosophy in you say ..there can be someone different existing on this earth and should be allowed to exist

    Well see the beginning is all good..but as things go as the fantasy calms down ..things turn straight ..and its not a nice nice situation its like a feeling as if what hit you ..and u regain consciousness...

    It quite thoughtful of you to say the children can be brought up in both the cultures and they can choose ..good...but brother give it a thought ..all these things can only happen if you arent too religious yorself ...and if the eastern of part of the world is as good as the western one ...for you ..


    my best wishes
    raj
     
  16. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Nice thinking .But you people should realise that realities of life are very different
     
  17. Randip Singh

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    Like or not she will be always the one who went off with that "Gora". You will be known as that Gora, because we as Punjabi people are extremely racist.

    The only counter to this racism in Punjab has been Sikhism.

    I say this as someone who married out of caste yet both are Sikh. We had enough problems, and the problems you will encounter will be ten fold. Your children will also encounter tremendous prejudice.

    My wife's distant relative went off with a half caste man and she tries to attend family events but usually ends up upset and usually her children are ridiculed. Her partner had your same intention I will learn Punjabi and the culture etc etc but not become a Sikh. Now he says he wished he had become a Sikh and brought his children up as Sikhs.

    There is another fellow I know who actually became Sikh (a white man), and teaches Punjabi, and he does not have this problem.

    I think people do not see you as apple or orange when they say we will teach them both values.

    I am sorry to write such a harsh post but these have been my observations, and I am not necessarily agreeing with societies reaction. People say that society is coming together, and you can melt into the background, but the reality is people will always try and find a social group to move in.

    You have a stark choice, you take your wife away and bring your children up in your values, or you become a Sikh and bring them up in Sikh values. Don't make the mistake of mixing them. You may be the exception, but from what I have seen I have yet to see an exception.

    Best of luck
     
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  18. LifeWithSoul

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    Pride may be one thing. But there is also a real fear and concern about losing one's anchor or rudder in life for Sikhs. I think Sikhs feel that life is too precious to lose and is lost without the "right" values. At the end of the day, you will have to show a Sikh family what values you believe in, how strongly you hold them and how well you practice them and can pass them on to the next generation. Sincerely offered.
     
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  19. stacia

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    Go for it ..... Love, if it's the real dealn is rare and precious. As a white girl involved with a Sikh man, I totally GET what your issues are but, honestly I believe that it will all work out if you truly love each other and are willing to fight for it so ..... Hold onto the girl and rise out the storm. I'm told that "the family" will accept it quicker than you'd think ;)
     
  20. Randip Singh

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    Sorry to say this, but this sort of rash advice "Go For it!" has led to many problems.

    What you do not seem to understand is that for us Sikhs born here in the West we are children of two worlds and many of us like that.

    Her parents may accepts it, but then again they may disown her (something still very common), in rare cases some lunatics still kill their daughters.

    So let us not be rash in giving advice, as this IS a public forum.
     
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  21. Lee

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    Randip ji,

    Hahah thrice in one day that may be a personal record for me.
    What you speak of is a well known phanomonom. Always in every kind of cultural intergration I have seen through the years, the first generation stick mainly to their own cultural mores and lifstlye, the second generation have problems with their perants and move toward fuller intergration in their personal lives, and the thrid generation are more or less fully intergrated with what their grandparents may still see as a forign culture.

    Problems abound for each and every culture that moves away from their own lands.

    How do we counter this, how can we speed up such intergration so that these problems simply cease to be important? By rocking the boat, by offering what you would say is rash advice.

    In all cultures individual freedom of expression trumps anything else, or does it?
     

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