Y’all. My parents never talked to me about dating in my life. They didn’t give me the dating talk, but I do remember once in high school when my Facebook profile picture was with a boy, and my dad said, “What is this? Put a nice picture of yourself instead.” That was the extent of our dating talk. They also didn’t give me the sex talk. One time my mom said to me, “There are some things in life that you should wait for.” LOL, that’s it.
If there was a “talk” about something, it’s safe to say they didn’t give it to me. In fact, they called Hank my “special friend” up until he put a ring on it. That was THREE full years into dating. It’s probably a more thing that is cultural to open up about these things.
Was the difference in race ever an issue between the two of you?
The time that is only has been an issue is when either of us has felt like we didn’t fit in and the other person wasn’t empathetic in the moment of discomfort. This has obviously happened to me more than him, but Hank felt this way when we went to India for the first time. He didn’t mind people coming up to him and shaking his hand because that wasn’t creepy, but he was SO OVER the secret selfies, constant stares, and very loud whispers.
I’ve had more than one breakdown about never feeling like I fit in because people automatically put me in a box when they see me because of my skin color, or they don’t acknowledge that massive side of me. But he has been there through those moments, holding me close and reminding me that the kingdom of heaven will be as colorful as they come and that Jesus acknowledges me as Indian because he designed me that way.
When was the right time to bring up the topic of marriage?
So, we brought up the topic of marriage on our first date. WHAT. Haha, keep reading. My husband and I did not want to date each other just for the sake of dating. On the first date, we told each other that then to let the other know if one of us didn’t see this potentially ending in marriage one day. We dated for four years y’all, but we didn’t want to waste our time or heart if our goal wasn’t the same.
After we dated for a couple of years, we chatted through realistically a good time for marriage. The way he respected my family by asking for their permission is something I am so thankful for. It’s not this archaic notion of asking to marry the girl like she’s property. It was asking two of the most influential people in my life, my parents, if he could join our family and if I could join his: different races and cultures, the same incredible value on family.
How do you react to people who say the reason you married a white guy is that you don’t like your own race?
This only happened once to me. Do you know what I did? I paid them no attention because it was such a thing that is foolish say. I love being Indian. I love being brown. I love being Shruthi. My culture is so important to me, and my husband embraces it with open arms like he’s dancing to bhangra. If I didn’t like my own race, why the actual heck would my husband embrace it then? Byeee Felicia.
Did you have any Hindu rituals at the wedding?
The thing about Hinduism is that culture and religion are so intertwined. I don’t eat meat, step on books, wear shoes in the house, and I always fall at the feet of my elders, etc — all part of my cultural upbringing. Because of my background and respect for my parents, I included a few meaningful Hindu wedding that is cultural that were not directly tied to a Hindu God. We worked with our Hindu Priest and Christian Priest to create a custom wedding since we are a custom couple. For example: Like how most couples have wedding rings, we incorporated the mangal sutra (necklace for the bride). We also included the seven rounds around the fire (each one a sacred promise between the couple), placed garlands on each other (to display we prayed to Jesus that we have agreed to be together for our whole lives), received blessings from our elders, and prayed to remove obstacles except instead of praying to Ganesha.
We discerned to the best of our ability with guidance from our elders and other couples what was religious vs cultural. And even with the part that is christian of wedding, we did not include every Christian ritual. My two cents? Wedding ceremonies should be tailored to the couple getting married. I mean, they’re the ones who are promising each other they’ll be faithful for their lives that are whole!