Interracial and One in Christ
Interracial marriage is on the rise. A Pew Research Center poll released in February 2012 found that in 2010, 15 percent of all new marriages in the U.S. were between spouses of different races or ethnicities. That's compared to 6.7 percent in 1980.
In general, interracial marriage is no longer taboo—although some still find it objectionable. While 43 percent of Americans believe it is good for society, 11 percent believe the growth in interracial marriage is a change for the worse. Just last year, a church in Kentucky barred an interracial couple from worshipping together (that ban was eventually overturned due to widespread outrage). And with a quick search on the Web, I discovered many sites and articles arguing the viewpoint that interracial marriage is unbiblical.
Though this viewpoint exists, Evangelicals are not against interracial marriage. In fact, pastors have spoken out in favor of it. For example, John Piper not only advocates interracial marriage in his book Bloodlines; he has taken the time to preach about the topic.
That said, here's the truth: a decision to marry outside one's race or ethnicity should not be entered into lightly. Interracial couples must face struggles that others may not encounter. But the solutions are the same for everyone: humility, love, and the gospel.
My husband and I are different from each other in almost every way, including racially. We knew going into our marriage that we were different, but as most married couples know, you really don't know someone until you're married and living with them. We were in love, and that love led us to make a vow to be together, for better or for worse, until death. But at the beginning of our marriage we quickly discovered that we were strangers. We had work to do to get to know each other, and many of our confusions were rooted in the fact that we were so culturally different.
My husband and I joke that we are the reasons for the black and white stereotypes out there. He likes meat and potatoes and beer on occasion; listens to alternative rock and people like Nick Drake; and likes camping and hiking. I, on the other hand, can throw down on fried chicken, greens, and mashed potatoes; prefer gospel, jazz, hip-hop, or anything I can dance to; and would much rather workout indoors or run than be in the wilderness. Even our personalities are at two different extremes. He is reserved, speaking when necessary, and calm. I am charismatic, expressive, and enthusiastic. As we learned more about just how different we were, our differences began to put a strain on our marriage.
Trillia Newbell is the author of Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves and United: Captured by God's Vision for Diversity. Along with writing, she is pursuing her M.A. in biblical counseling from Southern Theological Seminary. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern, and they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell.