Last night, I saw the movie Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. I expected a relaxing evening with some of my favorite actors of all time — Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier — but ended up with more than I bargained. Especially when I heard these words from Monsignor Ryan:
I’ve known a good many cases of marriages between the races in my time, and strangely enough, they usually work out quite well. I don’t know why. Maybe because it requires some special quality of effort, more consideration and compassion than most marriages seem to generate these days, could that be it?
I just wanted to hug the Monsignor after he said this, and couldn’t help but agree with the character Christina Drayton, that they were “beautiful thoughts.”
But the more I thought about this, the more I was reminded of an e-mail I received in January, which read:
I’m an Caucasian woman married to a Chinese immigrant. We will be celebrating our 36th anniversary. We were married before it was “acceptable” to marry another race, and have endured a lot of flack because of this. To be very honest, it hasn’t been easy and I wouldn’t recommend it to the faint of heart. Unless a woman has a strong sense of self, don’t go there.
Her words echoed much of Monsignor Ryan’s, the idea that a marriage like mine might involve more effort, consideration, compassion — minus the beautiful feeling. Still, I had to give this woman and her husband credit, because they’ve stayed through it, all 36 years of it.
If some interracial and intercultural/cross-cultural marriages really demand more out of a couple, and they get through it together, does that make it all worth it? Is it the beautiful adventure the Monsignor described? Or more like a gut-busting theme park ride that comes with a warning?
When I thought about it, my recent experiences with John sure felt like riding a roller coaster sometimes. We’ve both had to stand up to a lot. But I’d never ask for a refund, and never discourage anyone from lining up for the ride.
Maybe I’m too much of a “love conquers all” kind of a gal (not much of a shocker since I watched Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, eh?). But who can blame me? My love with John conquered my heart entirely, and it’s been worth every effort.
What do you think?