My marriage

I am in an interfaith, intercultural, interracial marriage, and it’s amazing.

I’m a white, American Christian born and raised in the suburbs of Texas and Oklahoma.  He’s a brown Pakistani Muslim born in Karachi, Pakistan who lived in London for years.

We met while I was in London for a summer course, and I happened to stay in the hotel where he was working at the time.  I’m one of those people who asks, “How are you?” and genuinely wants to hear how someone’s day has been.  So, when I asked the guy behind the check-in desk how his day had gone thus far, I was quite delighted that he responded earnestly.  I learned later that he’s the same way, and no matter what sorts of days we have, we both ask people how they are.

When I hurt my back, he traveled from London to York and helped me with everything.  The pain was such a shock and so horrible that I couldn’t change a lightbulb, take out the trash, or make my bed.  He helped with all that, and after about six months (during which he would make the train journeys to see me) I was improving steadily.  Then the pain flared up without any warning.  As amazing as the NHS was, the doctors didn’t know what to do about me, and the physical therapy sessions were 15 minutes long every several weeks.  I needed consistent medical care and a concrete plan, and at the time I thought perhaps my doctor in the U.S. would be able to guide me.

The day after Valentine’s Day in 2014, he officially proposed.  We’d talked about the possibility for over a year, and we both knew it was going to happen.  We had even gone to an interfaith marriage group meeting in London.  I knew that leaving my PhD program would impact my visa, and I would have only a few months to get my affairs sorted out.

We had our civil ceremony a month after he proposed, and our joint religious ceremonies were a month after that.  After we were settled in Minnesota, we had a white wedding here for our absent families and friends.

We are both employed in industries we love; I’m in education and he’s in banking.  We have a little house built in 1945, three cats, and a pagal dog.  (More on Pakistani slang later.)  He’s my partner in every way, and I’m so grateful for us.

I adore Bollywood films the likes of which he saw growing up.  He likes wearing flannel and going fishing.  I prefer a good curry to pizza any day, while he is a chocoholic (more than me!).  We don’t eat pork, and we find a balance between Western and South Asian customs and foods.  We’ve had all the tough discussions about potentially raising children, addressing others’ political and religious questions, and how we bridge the gaps in our customs and expectations.

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