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Interracial And Interfaith Marriage, Help Needed To Confront/convince My Parents

Discussion in 'Love & Marriage' started by InnerDarbar, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. InnerDarbar

    InnerDarbar Netherlands
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    Hello everyone,

    I'm in love with a Korean girl and we've been dating for over a year now. My parents don't know about any of this, both me and the girl wish to marry after finishing our studies. I'm not sure how to confront my parents about this, what I do know for sure is that they are completely against the idea of interracial/interfaith marriage.

    I'm worried that if I go through with the marriage, without their consent, that they might disown me and that I might disappoint them.

    I'm a very philosophical person, my girl not so much. However we both don't really consider ourselves religious, we both believe in whatever makes sense to us.

    My mother is also a philosophical person, we often have philosophical talk and debates. She "could" accept my girlfriend, but she would never openly tell me that she stands behind me on this one, it's like her hands are also bound by the cultural/family pressure. My dad on the other hand is hardly religious, he is more like religious just by name but he is strongly against interracial/interfaith marriage and wants me to marry to a Punjabi girl.

    I don't know what to do anymore. I believe a lot of people here will know what I am talking about, and most of you are also older than me. I was hoping that someone here could give me some advice.
     
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    #1 InnerDarbar, Aug 16, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
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  3. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    can you define 'love' for me?

    how about her parents? do they know about you? do you get on with them?
    fear of the unknown, but grounded in perceived common sense

    disappoint? if it were only disappointment you could probably live with that, you will devastate them is more likely,
    that is quite subjective, and quite insular, just because something makes sense does not automatically follow that it is correct.

    For them your marriage is much much more than simple love, its not a correct stance, but it makes sense to them.

    Maybe 10 years ago, I would have written something different, but 20 years ago, I was you!

    All I will do is give you the following facts as I see them

    Marriage is hard enough these days without the added pressure of non acceptance
    You cannot love someone within a year, you hardly know them, it takes a good 5 or 6 years for deep meaningful love to develop, in my opinion.
    Your parents are your parents, that will never change, I now have three ex wives, but I still have my parents, be careful where you put your loyalties, people change, parents don't
     
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  4. InnerDarbar

    InnerDarbar Netherlands
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    Sat sri akal Harry ji,

    I completely agree that it's too early for both of us to get married even after having finished the university, it will take some time for both of us to be able to stand on our own feet. Both our parents are wealthy(ish), and we both decided a long time ago, that we wish to build up our lives on our own.

    Her parents are currently residing in Korea and they are coming back the next year. She is positive that her parents will accept me, she also said that interracial/interfaith marriage would not be an issue for her parents. Of course I will never really know this, until I introduce myself to her parents, which is what I'm planning to do when they return from Korea.

    I don't think love can be defined in words, but I will give it a try. We both love each other a lot, and care about each other a lot, when she is hurt my heart cries for her, and when I cry, she is in tears too. We both try to put each other's happiness above that of our own. We love each other for who we really are, of course there is also physical attraction, but that never has been the reason for our love, our love is beyond that.

    Not so long ago, I played a game of Truth with her, and asked her if she could convert for me to Sikhism(I never want her to do this, was just curious for her response). Her response was that's she wouldn't do it, because that would mean that I put religion above her. I mean she is completely right there, asking her to change to my religion would be selfish, and would mean that I can't accept her the way she is now.

    Harry ji, I do agree that my parents won't change, I also do believe that my girlfriend won't change either. For me it's not who's side I pick, it's that by picking a side, I will end up breaking someone's heart, be it my parent's or my girlfriend's unless miracles do exist, and my parents accept her in open arms.
     
    #3 InnerDarbar, Aug 16, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  5. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Hmmm These questions are near and dear to my heart because, being a caucasian westerner who converted to Sikhi, if I didn't find a family who was open to interracial marriage, I dont think I would be married at all. I am so happy that they openly welcomed me to the family! I was worried because of the fact that most Punjabi Sikh families want their sons to marry a Punjabi girl. It was a huge worry for me! But in our case I follow Sikhi, and I also took Amrit. My husbands family are all Amritdhari and follow rehet maryada. We do rehras sahib together as a family every night.

    Maybe if you got your girlfriend interested in Sikhi and your parents saw she was genuinely interested in learning??

    But don't discount that interracial marriages can work and can work VERY WELL! I love my whole in laws family! My Mother in law, I call her Mummy Ji, and she is more like a second Mom to me, and my nieces (husband brothers daughters) and I bonded very closely. So I am so fortunate. It can happen... just tread carefully and show your parents that she is genuinely interested in your culture and religion.
     
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  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I strongly disagree with Sikhism being foisted on someone that does not wish to have it foisted on them purely for the carrot that is marriage and love. She has made it quite clear that converting is not an option, so we now have a situation where someone who does not wish to be a Sikh is being coerced into being a Sikh in order to appease someone that looks like a Sikh but does not practice Sikhism.
     
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  7. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove United Kingdom
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    I would disagree with the parents part. My parents have been pretty awful parents, i wont go into the ins and outs but I strongly believe that No one is really there for anyone else, I have lived and experienced this gyan first hand. We go alone and we come alone- that within itself is evidence of this.

    To the OP, if you love this girl and want to marry her then do it, don't look for approval from others, listen to your heart. We are all free to do and live as we choose.

    Love is beautiful and the world needs more of it. Nothing lasts and things can change at any moment, so don't get too attached, but respect honour and love her.

    In marrying or openly being with this woman, you will teach these b*llshit culture bound people freedom have the opportunity to speak and act against rigid racist ideals and beliefs.

    I went against brown culture as a child, refusing to cook and clean for my sexist family and hence teaching them equality of women and men. They now regularly cook their own food, I went against many of their other cultural ideals and am much happier for it.
     
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  8. InnerDarbar

    InnerDarbar Netherlands
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    I feel like many Punjabi parents are selfish, at least that's what I feel about mines, and my other relatives aren't any beter. I know that they want the best for me, but I don't understand how wanting me to marry to a Punjabi girl isn't selfish, after all it's me who will be stuck with that person the rest of my life, not them. I perhaps could understand it, if I was born and raised in Punjab, since then a Punjabi girl could perhaps understand me beter. I've been raised in an environment were there are hardly any Punjabis, also there are not many Indians here, sure there are Indians, but they are rare in my every day life.

    It's not that I don't love my religion, Sikhism is a wonderful religion, I've learned reading Gurmukhi/Punjabi on my own at a very young age, I still don't know the Punjabi alphabet, but I can read Punjabi texts completly fine, makes no sense right? :p
    Also I've been vegetarian since the age of 4, first I did this out of religion, but later it became due to my love towards animals. I love my religion, but I dislike certain things about the Punjabi culture/traditions, the taboo of interracial and interfaith marriage is one of them.
     
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    #7 InnerDarbar, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  9. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Harry Ji I was not suggesting that Sikhi be forced upon anyone. What I said was that if she shows interest in Sikhi and their culture, that might be encouraging to his parents. There is a difference between wanting to learn more, and respecting someone's culture and religion, and converting to it! They can live quite well respecting both cultures and religions... (so long as he never takes Amrit). Her showing a genuine interest and respect towards the culture and Sikhi, would go a LONG way. She doesn't have to convert!
     
  10. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Harkiranji

    Many thanks for your clarification, why so long as he never takes Amrit?
     
  11. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove United Kingdom
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    Good post. Sikhi doesn't say you have to become vegetarian, but I know how you feel about Punjabi 'brown' culture'. The older generation and even our generation are so rigid in their beliefs and practices that they have began to even confuse them as being Sikh.

    So many girls I know aroun 25-35 have been beaten by their husbands, boyfriends or male family members and it's seen to be acceptable which is ridiculous. They get screamed at if they're not home in time to make dinner even if the women have also been working all day.

    The older generation say 'it's ok, husbands and brothers hit women sometimes, it ok and its normal. But it isn't. This mentality needs to change and I believe it all comes hand in hand, when you embrace one bulls*hit aspect of brown culture, you make yourself susceptible to believing the rest of the rubbish.

    When you realise and accept as our Gurus taught that there is no caste or anyone being better than another, you can go against the entire world grounded in the truth.

    Inner Darbar, marry who you want, don't be of a racist mindset and live free.
     
  12. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Because if he takes Amrit he will be bound by code of conduct which states he can only marry another Amritdhari Sikh.
     
  13. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    from a purely inquisitive context, as I always thought otherwise, could you quote this code of conduct?
     
  14. Harkiran Kaur

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    Sikh Rehet Maryada Article XVIII - anand Sanskar

    b. A Sikh’s daughter must be married to a Sikh.
    (and by extension, a Sikh's son also - the only reason its worded this way - and this was explained by SGPC - is that usually in mixed marriages, it's the girl who ends up having to give up her faith to follow her husband's - for the simple reason that until recently, it was the girl who left her parent's home to move to her in-laws. But the rule applies to both. A Sikh must be married to a Sikh.)

    c. A Sikh’s marriage should be solemnized by Anand marriage rites.
    (Anand Karaj, can only be done between two Sikhs.

    k. Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj. ceremony.

    Some go as far as to say, that originally, it was Amritdhari only who could be married by anand karaj. The tradition was that they would be married by other means, and once they took amrit, they would then be married via anand karaj. This has since been relaxed to include non-Amritdharis, however they still require both parties to be Sikh. Akal Takht issued an edict in 2007 stating that a convert actually has to change their name to Kaur / Singh to show they are serious, before a Gurdwara will marry them by this method. We know that many Gurdwaras don't follow this though... but that is what the rules are. That a Sikh must marry a Sikh, and that a Sikh's marriage is not considered valid / solemnized unless they do anand karaj.)

    Now back to the issue... if he were to take Amrit, he would have to follow the above. If he does not take Amrit, then he is not bound to it. If he were amritdhari, then he would have to marry a Sikh, and marry according to anand karaj. If he is not amritdhari he can just marry in a civil court if he wants to.

    Further:

    q. A baptized Sikh ought to get his wife baptized. (or conversely if its the wife who is amritdhari, then she should get her husband baptized. This clause is in the case of two non amritdhari being married and then one takes Amrit, the other should also take Amrit so they are on the same path together. It would be very difficult for an Amrithdari Sikh to live according to code of conduct, if their spouse is not. For example, look up the clauses on 'jooth' - some scholars take it to mean that if one spouse takes Amrit and the other does not, then they can no longer have physical relations until the second also takes Amrit.)
     
    #13 Harkiran Kaur, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  15. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    thank you for the explanation,
     
  16. Original

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    Inner Darbar,

    You are far too young to be thinking about marriage. Relationship with Miss Beautiful ought to be regarded as part and parcel of student life and enjoyed without reservations. If anything, it should be about getting your priorities in order, with career at the top. The object of your focus should be completing your education. And indeed, if serious relationship happens to come your way then honour it true like all 21's do and savour the moments. Snap out of this marriage syndrome for now and enjoy being with her.

    Family set ups are equally important because marriages are to be guided rather strongly within very definite channels of class, income, education, racial and religious background. Falling in love is regulated and constrained by very powerful social factors, which in turn determine long-term relationship. Your parents are more likely to understand and attach value to your say once you've graduated. For now they'll dismiss it on account you being a young undergraduate and stupid boy for falling in love when you should've been rising in education.

    Be strong and believe in yourself. And, if it is true love then fight it, for its better to have tried and lost than to have never tried at all.

    God be with you !
     
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  17. Brother Onam

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    Sat Sri Akal,
    According to your description it seems none of the four people involved has any particular interest in Sikhi, so it's odd to be discussing this on a Sikh forum.
    Pops appears to have a posture of gut-bigotry and perhaps some inchoate desire to defend his understanding of Punjabi culture, while the rest are either guided by a general sense of what feels right, independent of Sikh dharma, or a leaning on 'philosophy'.
    Since no one seems to be especially guided by Guru, I say go ahead with it. Feelings will be hurt, but it's not a Sikh thing so you're in the realm of mainstream weddings and mainstream relationship issues. In other words, maybe Oprah or Dr. Phil may have more useful advice than the counsel of Sikhs.
     
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    #16 Brother Onam, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  18. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    People are guided by their Guru in different ways..., what this man needs from us is how to make the transition from where he is, to where he wants to be, given our understanding of Sikhism and Sikh culture. God is in everything, so everything is a Sikh thing!
     
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  19. InnerDarbar

    InnerDarbar Netherlands
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    If I recall correctly nothing in the SGGS ji states that it's wrong to have an interracial or interfaith marriage. About the SGPC and baptizing, I couldn't care less, sure baptizing might help people to live closer to the hukam of SGGS ji, but it certainly is not the only way to do so. Also if i'm right, this forum is about the Sikh Philosophy, which IIRC means more than seeing/living Sikhism in one specific way.

    Also IIRC the SGGS doesn't require you to bapitize, perhaps bapitize in your heart, but it doesn't tell one to join that specific committee, it does mention committees, but there are more than one committees. Living according the SGGS ji's hukam is not the easiest thing, but I try do as much as I can.
     
    #18 InnerDarbar, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  20. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    let us be succinct here though, this is not about Sikhism per se, this is about how do we make this happen given our understanding of Sikhi, you are in love, and that transcends everything else, I know, I was young once.
     
  21. InnerDarbar

    InnerDarbar Netherlands
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    I agree, from SGGS ji point of view the real Sikh view, nothing is against interracial or interfaith marriage. Since this forum has a lot of Punjabi people, I hoped that I could get there views on this matter as well, so I would perhaps start seeing things differently. As they say love really blinds people, this is very true for me, I don't see things as clear as I used to.

    My only hope to marry this girl is by convincing my parents somehow that Sikhism according to the SGGS ji is not against interracial/interfaith marriage and that they should start living according to SGGS ji and not the Punjabi culture/traditions.

    Also I know that I'm too young right now, it's just something I wish to talk about early as possible. Since inevitably there will come a day where I have to pick between my girlfriend and my parents. I thought/hoped that by talking about it now, I could see what would be the right thing to do and/or get as much different views on matter as possible.
     
    #20 InnerDarbar, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016

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