Multicultural marriage is any marriage between two people with different backgrounds. I am a born and raised as white as can be American. Then one day, met my now husband, who was born in Honduras a Hispanic man. Though he was raised most of his life here in America he is still Hispanic. When we met and probably most of the time we dated it didn’t really phase me much of what that meant him being Hispanic except that the box he checked on interviews or other surveys that ask ethnicity was he would pick Hispanic. Now that is probably pretty naive of me. He speaks very good English, thank goodness, since I speak next to no Spanish. I started noticing some differences once we started hanging out with his family more and I saw how they are interacted with each other.
For one at family events they all speak Spanish, loud and fast. When we first started dating I would sit in the corner and think “geez oh Pete” there is a lot going on. Music playing loud, lots of food being cooked, kids running around all together, and lots of people. You ate on paper plates wherever you could find a chair. I come from a tiny family, my immediate family was all of ten people growing up and that is counting all my first cousins, so family events were calm we all usually ate a meal at a table together and then would play yard games altogether or card or board games when family events happened in the winter. To come to my husband’s family it was much different then what I thought was a family party. Same was for him when we would go to my families we would leave and he would look at me and say your family is so calm. It took some time for both of us to get acclimated to each other’s different family party styles. I think one of the biggest things that I have had to get used to is my family parties are usually on a weekend in the middle of the day usually around lunch. My husband’s family will say get there about 6 pm. But what that really means is no one will show up till about 8 pm and then the party will last until the wee hours of the morning. Well boy for someone who is used to going to bed at 9 pm party prep was definitely needed, meaning I now nap before I know we have a family gathering.
Another thing that took some getting used to and something I didn’t really think about before marriage was holidays. I grew up celebrating every holiday with family, Easter, Christmas, Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and so on. My husband did not celebrate Halloween. He told me as a Hispanic thing it was just not a holiday that he participated in. I have a daughter that at the time that my husband and I got married she was about six. I just knew that I could not give up dressing up and trick o’ treating with her. I asked him to just come to one of the family Halloween parties and when he did, he realized what we do is just dress up be silly and all be together. It isn’t about devil worship or satanic things at all for us. Just one more reason to be all together. He now participates in Halloween with gusto thinking in advance about what he wants his costume to be.
Thankfully we both practiced the same religion. Both of us are Christian, we just didn’t attend the same church. I was attending a big mega church in our area that I loved, you walked in worshiped, and in an hour you walked out. It was what I was raised going to and what I thought church was. My husband Christian as well went to a Hispanic church. Besides the obvious that it was entirely in Spanish when I first attended I thought how different could it be? His church had a congregation of about fifty people. Everyone knew everyone and they all hugged each other as though they are one big family. The closeness really is something extremely special. The worship is energetic and fun and singing praises in Spanish is beautiful. For me I was extremely used to one hour services, well at my husband’s church it’s not one hour service its two and a half to maybe three hour service. It takes getting used to but the church atmosphere is so powerful and special you can’t take that for granted.
My mother in law is one of the best cooks I have ever tasted. She cooks some meals that I have never even heard of but they are delicious. The food that my husband would like me to cook and food I do cook are two completely different things. He is used to his mother’s cooking who cooks a big meat dish, vegetables, rice, and tortillas for every supper. I do not enjoy cooking, nor by the time I get home from work do I rarely have the energy to then stand at the stove for hours to cook a giant meal. So my poor husband endures my easy pasta dishes, or my crockpot meals, or my quick thirty minutes or less meals. There is nothing wrong with these meals and he loves them and eats them (otherwise I guess he would starve). I cooked macaroni and cheese one night for supper and he said well what else are we having? My daughter and me just stared at him, why would we have anything else with macaroni and cheese? Must be a man thing but a meal doesn’t count as a meal unless it has meat. I have tried some new recipes for him and experimented with different things. And thankfully when there is a meal that he loves and wants he steps in and cooks it up for us. We have come up with a nice blended kitchen of meals that we both love whether its traditional Hispanic or traditional American, it’s just what we love.
My husband has lived in American since he was nine, so he grew up in our school system, knows English sometimes better than I do. There are still those moments when I will use a word and he just stares at me. The other day he took his shoes and socks off and I caught a glimpse of the bottom of his foot. I hollered, “Eww, look at all that toe jam you have!” Toe jam= the fuzz from your socks that collects in between your toes. Now I have grown up with calling this fuzz toe jam and though nothing of his confused look of what the heck is toe jam. And now who knows if anyone else knows that toe jam is or if it was just in my family. But it’s always funny when either of us will say something and just expect the other one to know exactly what we mean.
Another thing I wasn’t prepared to be so difficult was choosing baby names. Now I know anyone in any marriage may have trouble agreeing on names they like for their future children. In my mind I married a Hispanic guy so guess what I want the most Hispanic names possible to honor that heritage my children will have. Well nope not my husband, he wants the whitest names I have ever heard. So we laugh and go back and forth constantly of what’s not too Hispanic sounding but enough to satisfy each other. One of his main concerns on a too Hispanic name is he wants a name to be easily pronounced for both our families. Those names are out there so it is just a matter of time before one is agreed upon.
Though there were some things that we both had to get used to all in all its marriage. No matter whom you marry whether they are of the same background or not there are differences and things you will have to get used to the other person. I have learned a lot about Hispanic backgrounds and things my husband thinks as his traditions and I love that we get to mold our family into a part of him and a part of me to make it our normal.