I have been with the same man since 1997. In fact, we are coming up to the anniversary of our first meeting in a couple of months. Our relationship has seen days of great excitement and joy; we have also faced days that have tested our resolve to remain together. When we met, I suspect the last thing on either of our minds was a relationship, certainly not with each other, two people could not have been more different and neither of us were looking for anything permanent at the time.
Some of our differences are obvious to the naked eye –
- We are a mixed race couple
- What might not be obvious is he is from the Bahamas
- We have an age gap, I am older
- What might not be obvious is I am 19 years older
Most people bet against us, some still do. I think if you had asked me back when we married in 1999, I would have also. Some of the less obvious differences we have, those things that you read about in magazines and other tomes of wisdom —
- I now have a Masters, he stood by me while I studied nights and weekends ripping my hair out and weeping it was too hard.
- He was raised in a very religious home, brought up in church with a strong faith. I am at best an educated pragmatist.
- Finances and Career
- I had an established career at the time we married. It has seen some ups and downs over the years though and he has toughed it out with me.
We met when I was on vacation with a girlfriend. When we met, we had much to overcome, including my ongoing very nasty divorce, maintaining a long-distance relationship and of course the judgment of other people. People who look at us and think there are ulterior motives for our pairing, simply don’t realize the hurdles or the difficulties of our early days.
Two of those motives attributed to my husband by others were:
Socially we faced some uphill battles, I am certain many can guess the types and but not the magnitude of the mêlées, especially once we married. For most of our marriage, we have lived in Texas, though we did make a foray into Virginia for two years. Suffice to say society hasn’t always been welcoming; people have been quick to pass judgment. There are those who remain stuck in their archaic views regarding miscegenation, though I am of the opinion that we are of the same race since last I checked we are both human. There have been times bigotry has been openly on display, mostly in the small town where my parents retired to and we often visited. There are other times where small minded people have wrapped their prejudice in the blanket of their professed Christianity, trying to justify their bigotry with the Bible, I have been appalled and amused at the same time. I have received hate-mail, seen blog posts on the subject and even had comments directed at me over the years on several different social media sites. I try hard to be open minded about the ignorance on display, after all some people are not able to overcome their own witless and pedantic views.
There are some, even in my own family that are locked into the idea that he could not possibly want me for anything other than my riches and have gone so far as to insult him directly. If they only knew the battles we fought early in our marriage to keep our head above water, paying debt from my divorce and struggling through a year of my unemployment. Though we don’t talk about our arrangements, we keep our money separate; what is his is his and what is mine is mine. Of course I earn more because I have been in the workforce longer and he benefits from that, which is far different from the ‘Sugar Mama’ everyone seems to believe I am.
We will celebrate our thirteenth wedding anniversary this year. Has it been all hearts and flowers? Absolutely not! In fact, our cultural differences sometimes create gorges we have difficulty navigating. He comes from culture that tends to be more male dominated, more machismo; we butt heads frequently. We are not what we expected we would marry, not what we pictured we would have as a mate yet here we are. There are times we still struggle to find our footing with each other and within our marriage, yet here we are and I find I still like him a great deal most days. When people ask what drew me to him the only answer I can give besides his great smile is this; my husband is by far the most ethical man I know. Despite we are polar opposites on many levels we balance each other.
This past week my husband became a citizen of the United States of America. I wasn’t there, it wasn’t by design I wasn’t there and it wasn’t the first time I missed something important. We didn’t know he would go straight from the interview to his swearing in, I would have been there had we known. Still I wasn’t there; this is a common theme in our marriage. My work causes me to miss many important dates; birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day all of them have been missed more than once. He remembers each one I miss and reminds me. But more importantly my husband is now a Citizen after all these years, I wonder what the naysayers to our marriage will say now, I can hear them whispering in the corridors already.
He doesn’t need her any more, will he stay?