I Stand By My Man, And Yes, He’s Chinese

Two rings on a wooden surface
(photo by Johanna Ljungblom)

When you’re facing hard times as a couple, people say all kinds of things. “Hope it gets better.” “Stay strong.” “You’ll be okay.”

And then, there’s what my so-call friend told me back in December, after I told her about the discrimination against John, and how I supported him.

“So you’re standing by him? Wow, you’re so loyal.”

You’re so rude, I wanted to tell her. I also wanted to slap her across the table, but it was a holiday party and that sort of thing doesn’t go well with gingerbread and hot apple cider.

“Why wouldn’t I be? He’s my husband and I love him,” I finally said as I glowered at her.

From her perspective, “for better or for worse” just didn’t apply to us. She might as well have said, “You should have married a white man,” because that’s exactly what I heard hidden within her words — that when a white woman chooses to marry someone outside her race, in my case a Chinese man, she should throw in the towel when she faces something she’d never face with a white husband.


Maybe my marriage meant I’d know different hardships than the average white woman with a white husband. But I never sat around calculating these things like a cold statistician, or treating marriage like a business deal. So what if John is Chinese, and that exposes him to discrimination? Love just happened with John, and it’s a love that means more to me than anything in the world, a love that sustains me in the face of our challenges.

Then again, maybe she was just jealous to see that hardship wouldn’t break us apart. After all, she already divorced her first white husband, and was now on white husband number two. Too bad I didn’t tell her this: “I guess marrying white is no guarantee.”

Have people ever suggested you shouldn’t have gone into an interracial and/or cross-cultural marriage?

58 Replies to “I Stand By My Man, And Yes, He’s Chinese”

  1. ““So you’re standing by him? Wow, you’re so loyal.””
    [State] is certainly speaking! And everytime you talk about affirmative action, many whites claim there is no discrimination and no one sees color these days. May be not in Hawaii, but definitely plenty of discrimination in [State] and definitely the US South.
    “Then again, maybe she was just jealous to see that hardship wouldn’t break us apart. After all, she already divorced her first white husband, and was now on white husband number two.”
    She will probably vote for Newt Gingrich too…after all he did the same thing! May be she is even an evangelical!

  2. I remember singing a slightly-tipsy and off-key version of ‘Stand by Your Man’ when I married my Taiwanese husband. Don’t know exactly what kind of discrimination your husband went through, but be strong. There is still a lot of ignorance out there but I a sure you will triumph.

    I met my husband during the peak of the anti-Asian sentiment in Australia fueled by Pauline Hansen’s ‘One Nation’ party. At one stage, his family got a hate call in the middle of the night. Someone claiming to be from the Federal Police told them that their visas had expired and they had to leave the country (the whole family were Australian citizens). The irony of all this was that a few years later my husband ended up became a Federal Police officer. So weird but so true!

  3. I loved this post! I have yet to meet this situation. I am a black woman completely and utterly in love with a Chinese man. The feeling is happily reciprocated. Recently, I had a little misunderstanding with him. My very good Chinese girl friend said to me, before you go back to talk to him, talk to God so He can give you the right words to say! I am so grateful for friends like her. I was only concocting all the things I would say that I thought would prick his heart…but they may have pricked his pride as well and drive him further away. Needless to say, I took her advice and within minutes of speaking, we made up and it is now a forgotten matter. Please follow me on wordpress: celestereille

  4. Wow, you’re so loyal? Um, hello? Marriage vows? I hate what this woman was implying and I commend you for not throwing hot cider over her. I love my husband the man who happens Taiwanese. Him being Taiwanese is wonderful and all but he’s my husband first and race doesn’t modify that one tiny little bit – I know you feel the same way about you and John.

    Sorry you ran into this on top of the discrimination against John. I’ve found that these sort of stupid narrow minded comments are far more common than I’d like to think they would be in 2012, but hey. Hugs!

  5. @Jocelyn, you are right. That friend was more than rude. What was she implying? That you shouldn’t have married a Chinese man? That a person is a lesser being because of his/her race? What utter contempt for a human being. What utter small-mindedness. You have done right. Just stand by your man. Don’t worry. Have the last laugh.

  6. “That friend was more than rude. What was she implying? That you shouldn’t have married a Chinese man?”

    She was certainly rude, but I’m not sure it’s a racial thing. It could be — I wasn’t at the dinner party so I don’t know the context — but I’ve heard the same question in all-white contexts. My stepfather asked the same question to my mother when she told him about the rough business patch my father went through in the 1980s. I was horrified. (As a bit of background, my father, mother, and stepfather are all white. My parents remained married until the day he died — but OTOH, this is my stepfather’s third marriage.)

    IME, those who believe the Disney notion that true love is effortless tend to get gone when the going gets rough. Since you’re Western, she probably thought you had the same values.

  7. Wow, so rude…. how dumb can one be to say something like that! Or she’s just clearly jealous :)))) Stay strong Jocelyn ^^

  8. Even though I’m not married yet, but I know what you’re talking about Jocelyn. Quite a many Chinese people and some of them I used to call friends, have told me that my Chinese boyfriend isn’t good enough for me. It’s not about the race for them, but about education, money, English skills etc.

    But then there are a few Western men that have told me online how my Chinese boyfriend isn’t good enough for me, I think in this case it has a lot to do with the race.

  9. “But then there are a few Western men that have told me online how my Chinese boyfriend isn’t good enough for me, I think in this case it has a lot to do with the race.”

    My boss’s white ex-boss who is married to an Asian multimillionaire with two academically gifted daughters hears that all the time from uneducated white people (of both gender) and some educated white people too. Of course some in the extended Asian family are very disappointed that he did not marry into a millionaire family, Asian or white!

  10. So, is she implying you shouldn’t stand by your husband when times get rough and he gets discriminated against? Wow, here I thought marriages were “for better or for worst”.

    Maybe I should reconsider my relationship to my Chinese boyfriend too because the same thing may happen to us when we do get married and especially because he is currently working on opening his own business and it may not be all positive and bright some days. Please. With an mindset like that, no wonder many marriages don’t last.

    Jocelyn, I admire you for your strength and the love between you and John. You are building a life together. This is what marriage is all about. Hang in there; us readers are behind you and are supporting you!

    To end: It’s ridiculous how some women, such as this so-called friend of yours, wouldn’t stand by their man just because he’s not white. Good luck to her with her second marriage, she’ll need it with this attitude of hers.

  11. I can write one thousand comments here and most of you will never understand the meaning of sacrifice, marriage,” for better or for worse”, “in sickness and in health” !!!!!! How can I make it easier for all those knuckle heads( applies to men and women) out there in the world to understand???? As a man, will I take a real bullet for my wife? There’s no doubt that I will take that bullet for her. That discrimination incident will subside little by little by your love for your husband or wife will never subside or go away if you have a very healthy, strong marriage. We will go to the end of the earth for our wife/husband. This discrimination case is NOTHING but a peanut !

  12. That sounds very selfish of your friend. In the past my mom discouraged me from dating Asian men but now she’s okay with it and just wants me to find someone who’ll treat me right. Marriage, no matter race or gender, should mean to stick to one person through thick and thin no matter the circumstances, isn’t that the definition? You and John keep strong Jocelyn!

  13. @Jocelyn,
    your friend was more than just being rude. When she said those things to you, she showed that she lacked ‘culture’ and at the same time revealed herself to be of ill bred.
    Stay calm and stay strong. It’s what you do that truly matters.

  14. Honey.. you know I had to say something…hehehe… As a Black woman… I have dealt and constant deal with discrimination every day of my life… However, when I married my Chinese husband… I heard a totally different kind of discrimination. And I was more than pissed and had to … as we say…”show my ass” in a gas station. People some times say things… and really dont realize that what they say is rude. But your “friend” and I say that loosely… probably didnt even realize what she said was wrong. I have noticed that people’s prejudices come out .. even when they dont know it. I will give you some advice that I learned alone the way in dealing with discrimination…. ahheemmm…. When someone does something or says something discriminating… turn the other cheek…. look at the rock that is on the ground… pick it up and hit them with it….heheheh…. it works for me…. Girl .. Protect your man… just like he protects you … when he takes you to China… tell the Haters to kiss your arse.

  15. I am nodding while reading the comments. I can relate, Jocelyn. I admire people who share their experiences like this. I am not ready to share mine but (hug) 🙂

  16. I guess that friend has different value system. A selfish person can be incomprehensible for the phrase of “for better and worse” and “till death do us apart”. Naturally, it would be her and her alone as the center of the universe. She would be the first “run for yourself” when thing gets rough … Still, I am shocked to hear someone would be so insensitive to make such statement.


  17. I’m so sorry you had to deal with this. After everything you’ve been through, this is the last thing you needed. And at a holiday party on top of that! Aiya.

    I hope you can find support in the people who are real friends, not someone who wants to put a wedge between you and your husband.

  18. Jocelyn, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I admire the strength that you have to not only pull through this situation, but also share about it with your online community. I think your “friend’s” comment says a lot not just about her ignorance, but her view of marriage. You don’t pick and choose when to stand by your partner, and you definitely don’t pick and choose based on his race. Every married couple has problems, and a lot of them have nothing to do with whether or not the marriage is intercultural. I’m so glad that you’ve come out of this with an even stronger love for John and bond with him. It’s situations like these that test your relationship, and it’s an inspiration to see you sticking by your husband during this time =)

  19. When it comes to African Americans some white Americans (or do I say many?) say look at the model minority, why cant you be like them. However, it seems like when it comes to dating and marriage, to use the South Asian word, the model minority is as “untouchable” as the African Americans and Hispanics as far as whites are concerned. Although never heard of any church which banned Asian-white couples, I am certain there are some, particularly in the Deep South and Idaho.

  20. I guess that in a few last decades life became much easier in many parts of the world, so some couples give up when they have to face a serious problem. I’m not married yet but while I was watching my parent’s marriage I’ve learned that life is not tea party, no matter if the couple is interracial or not. My parents started dating when they were both 16 and now they are in their sixties, so they’ve spent most of their lifes together. My mom didn’t turn away from dad when she was questioned by the communist police because of his family’s problems, my father was always with mom when she was struggling with illness… I also know many young couples. Some of them decide to get divorced just because they are too lazy to solve their problems or are not able to sacrifice anything for their partner. There’s no point in getting married then. Right?

  21. Last weekend I was visiting my parents and had a talk about age and marriage with my mother. She told me that she got married at the age of 22..So I asked when will she let me to get married (She doesn’t know I’m already married to my Chinese husband)

    The answer was: “When you meet a nice, Finnish engineer/business man/insert-high-income-profession here.”

    She doesn’t really hate my Chinese “boyfriend” but she always tells these “jokes” when we are talking about my partnership. First I just took it as a joke for a long time but it has lasted already for about 3 years..When am I supposed to tell her I have been married for almost 1 year now??

  22. Every marriage will go through some kind of test period ( tough times). Maybe one of you will have a deadly disease ( cancer, Hep B,C , stroke etc) . Should you stick together or just run away? If a friend says ” you still stay with him even though he has the disease?” Within these 5 yrs, I ‘ve seen 3 men demonstrated love and took their marriage serious when their wives had CANCER. Their wives died already but they still loved their wives. These three men are Chinese . You don’t see me run like hell when I take my wife to the doctor ! Every person will have some kind of illness. Are your friends going to visit you at the hospital everyday or your husband/wife ?? I’ve seen a woman that we know who always liked to jump to another relationship once she saw a better opportunity. After 5 relationships , she’s still single w/ a daughter. Only stupid men would want her. She’s going to jump soon 🙂 lol. My secret is to ignore what friends, families and co workers have to say. Only you understand your marriage/relationship. Not even your parents understand your marriage/relationship. Ignore everything and you will be fine.

  23. Let me remind another marriage vow ” for richer or poorer” 🙂 :). Remember now? Imagine you made $250k five yrs ago with good economy but now 2012 you only made $25k. If your wife says “I’m leaving you because you don’t make much money anymore” . vow huh?

  24. Could be your friend is envious of you. I also think it is possible she was unaware of what she said. Foot in mouth syndrome maybe? Hopefully, people will just leave well enough alone.

  25. What an absurd comment! Good on ya, Jocelyn, for handling it the way you did. Not all of us have that level of patience or self control.

    You and John have my support, too.

  26. Hi Jocelyn,

    I know it may have sounded like she was deeming your marriage as disposable because your husband is Chinese because you were already discussing an emotion-filled situation where he was being discriminated against because of his background. But to me, it sounds more like she may deem all marriages as disposable. She, herself, has had two marriages already fail and I am assuming she’s around your age and not anywhere near middle age yet. That says a lot in itself.

    Secondly, she doesn’t have the tact to hold her tongue. Friend or no friend, there is always a way to be polite when delicate conversation comes up. As a friend, I would try to be supportive of my friends and hope that they return the favor. The world brings in too many negatives on its own so there’s no need to ask for more from “friends.” She sounds like a “fair-weather” type to me.

    Hopefully, you don’t spend too much time dwelling on this. It’s been my experience that when people judge, they often do so under the idea that others are doing things in the same mindset that they have. Example: I had a boyfriend hound me about being unfaithful to him (when I wasn’t doing anything of the sort) because he himself was being unfaithful (as I found out later on). I don’t think she was thinking with you in mind, but rather projecting how she might behave in that situation and surprised that you were being so loyal. It’s loyalty that she clearly doesn’t have.

    I think it’s wise to steer clear of her and surround yourself with people that are supportive. You have that in this forum, with your families, and with select friends.

  27. “When am I supposed to tell her I have been married for almost 1 year now??”
    I guess you are not facing the same dilemma as a middle aged Afrikaans white lady from South Africa who lives in Singapore. She has been married for twenty five years and has two grown daughters doing well in life. But, her parents back in SA still dont know she is married. If they find out that she married a Chinese, she will never get out of South Africa alive (she visits the country once in three years). The parents, cousins, uncles and aunts have never left Africa. She is the only child and the parents are disappointed that she remains unmarried and dont have anyone to continue their pure lineage.

    “But to me, it sounds more like she may deem all marriages as disposable.”

    Following the example of some of our political leaders.

  28. This is my perfect time to say this to you all. Most Chinese parents still think right now that Western women will never stand by their sons ( always think about running away when tough times come ). Unless you prove to them wrong that you will stand by your man always. If I drive a Ferrari today my wife will stand by me. If I drive an old truck tomorrow , my wife will stand by me!! Doesn’t matter what happen to me or us, she will always stand by me. If your man has to go to different state or county to work while time is tough , you as a woman (housewife) should go with your husband. ” if you marry a pig, follow the pig. if you marry a rooster , followthe rooster” <——- translates to Mandarin/ Cantonese. We have many wise readers here. don't fail me 🙂 lol.

  29. I think if most Chinese parents are thinking that, then Jocelyn is a perfect proof that they are wrong. But if the tables are turned and you’re talking about Western family members and friends having the same concerns about their own…then what on Earth does that say about the faith they have in themselves? It’s disturbing. It’s normal to question what you don’t know, but what about when you’re questioning what you’re supposed to know like the back of your hand? The vows you take bind couples together for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer…until death do us part. I know that there are still people who respect the vows they take. I wish I knew more about what the vows/promises are when Chinese couples get married.

  30. What your friend said was stupid but I don’t think it’s racist and honestly you seem to be overreacting a little, especially with the jealousy remark. How can she be jealous while she herself is currently married ? and jealous of something you were complaining to her about ?!

    I will never understand how women think and why they’re always attacking each other !

  31. I think you and John are great role models not just for intercultural couples but all relationships in modern society. Be strong and carry on.

  32. Thank you so much for sharing your stories Jocelyn as I am chinese born in Hong Kong but also brought up in America and currently have a local chinese boyfriend. I find your blog very inspiring! Keep up the good blogs!


  33. Hey David
    ” Most Chinese parents still think right now that Western women will never stand by their sons ( always think about running away when tough times come ). Unless you prove to them wrong that you will stand by your man always.”

    Is this true! I beleive Western women who fall in love with Asiam men will marry them regardless of what they have or do not have . I am also told that (some) Asian men won’t go against family and beleifs ;meaning that even if they have a Western girlfriend they (may) in the end still marry a Chinese girl – so this shows’s that the man isn’t prepared to stand and fight for the relationship.

  34. Mina,

    I have to say that in my case is what happened. My boyfriend was Chinese and I say was because now we are not together. Before he decided to return to China for ever, we were talking about us and the possibilities of me moving there. He said he loved me but he couldn’t fight for our love.

  35. Fighting for love is a 24/7 job! Whoever lasts until the end will be blessed with longlasting ,fulfilling relationship. Your confidence level will be out of this world.

  36. Lauren and Mina – There is a profound effect of Tiger mother. The pros are tight family, the cons are too much influence from the family. Single child situation compounds that effect. Your man will fight for you only when his love for you is greater than the love for his family…
    However, the families of ABCs are more open minded than families in China.

  37. This was the case of my ex-boyfriend. He is an only child and only grandson. Though at the beginning of our relationship he wanted to tell his parents he was having a relationship with a westerner girl, everything changed when he failed his dissertation. By that time, I was visiting my family and we contacted through messages, emails, etc. But one day he stopped emailing me. Another day passed and I didn’t receive any news from him. I thought he had lots of pressure and I left him to contact me. One month passed and I did not receive news. During that time, I phoned him and he didn’t pick the phone. I kept emailing him. But one day one of his friends contacted me and said he had failed his dissertation. How I wish he had told me what had happened. I would have supported him in everything. These were not the only news. For my surprise, I discovered he planned to go back to China as he didn’t see any opportunities of job in Europe. We had planned to be together and I told him I didn’t mind to go to China if only I could stay with him. My chance came and I took the first plane to see him. Thanks to that common friend I could meet him again. He said to me almost crying (big effort for him) that we couldn’t be together. It was better for us to be appart since it would have been too much complicated: I don’t speak Chinese and he cannot communicate with my family either. To that fact, we have to add that his grandmother doesn’t want him to marry a foreigner. I was starting to learn Chinese because I became fascinated with this culture. Two months have passed and I’m wondering if things would have been different if he had not failed his dissertation. However, though he said he couldn’t fight for our love I have just received an email from him updating me about his life and his new plans.

  38. Lauren – It is really a sad story. He failed his career, ran out of options, lost confidence, and acted immature and cut you off. Reminded me one of my fellow students back when I was in school. He ended his own life over something insignificant, leaving his family and his girlfriend in tears and pains. I kind of understand why your BF acted that way, given I was always pessimistic and afraid of worst outcome. Regardless, things do not always work out. I always remember my first love, the one I grew up with and the one who got away, but I moved on…

  39. I don’t think it was necessarily racially motivated. She might be one of those 50% of modern day youth who would bail out of a marriage at the slightest sign of trouble.

  40. Mina,

    You are a very smart person! Unlike business, marriage is not a god damn business deal! If you know this is going to be a business deal why do we get into it? It’s common sense. Why don’t we play around with those men/women and never ever married them and kick them to the curb right? Like I say some many times that you have to test a person on things like money, etc etc. You know something? There are women or even men out there who will seek out rich candidates so be careful! If I sit in front of you right now I can explain everything clearly . I’m good at communicating in person. Yes, it is true that we are total strangers but yet I’m so honest here. You don’t even know how I look like or what kind of job I do or vice versa yet we support each other here. I want Jocelyn to succeed with her blog and whatever she does or whatever discriminations/ problems she will encounter I will still stand by and support her. Anybody or any businesses in this world need support in order to overcome temporary obstacles right? My wife and I have gone through hard times too in the past but I’m still supporting her til now Feb 16,2012. Our marriage is just indestructible ( unbreakable)!! Running away from a problem is not the answer! Facing discrimination by yourself only is not easy so we need support from friends (true friends), relatives etc to attack it head on. I ‘ve talked alot of the subjects in life that people are facing right now. Even you guys don’t write in details , I understand because I know already.


  41. Next time if someone stares or makes some stupid comments tell them that Asian Male-White Female Households have the highest income in America, much higher than the white-white households!

  42. I stand my all Asian men (East Asian) in the west. Fight racial oppression in the dating circle. We must close the gap or we will be stuck in bondage and slavery forever. Give me liberty or give me death!

  43. I think you’re being a little sensitive and reading too much in to her comments.

    That comment tells more about her than you and wasn’t necessarily racist. It only shows how shallow she is and that she wouldn’t stand up to criticism of her own partner well because she’s too worried about what others think. Take it as a compliment because it shows you are far stronger than she could even imagine.

    Being in a cross cultural marriage you will face different hardships. But everyone has hardships nonetheless and all are meaningful. There are plenty of good people that mean well but have grown up in a different era or an environment far less tolerant than our own. Rather than be angry better to pity their ignorance.

    The next generation is far more accepting and intolerance the vast minority. It will sort itself out. Focus on more important things in life. She’s not worth your energy.

  44. I am engaged to a Chinese man right now, and am facing a lot of pressure from my family to not go through with this relationship. My mother and aunts keep pressuring me about the negative “physical” aspects of the relationship (and believe me, it gets weird), and thinking that we can never be happy. They have also been very awkwardly suggesting that our children in the future will be the subjects of discrimination because of their mixed heritage.

    I have been to China twice now, and met his family. They are not all that happy that he is going to really “marry one of THEM”, and have been harsh toward me in an attempt to make me say something “racist” or something to make my fiance see what he is “getting in to”.

    I love him dearly, and am staying with him. We are having two weddings: one in Minnesota USA where I am from, and one in Hong Kong, PRC where he is from. While both weddings are going to be a little cross-cultural, the one in America will be mostly Western, and the one in China mostly Eastern.

    I am struggling to reconcile my love for my family with my love for Kevin, and hope that I can be strong to face a new reality when I move to Hong Kong with him in the coming year!

    XOXO Love you all! <3

    1. Wow Jocelynn, that is a super-tough situation. I think it’s fantastic you’re staying with Kevin, it sounds like he is also incredibly committed to you. Stay strong and, with any luck things will improve with both of your families over time.

  45. Oh my GOD I just realized that we have almost the Exact Same Name!!!! I’ve never met someone else that spells it with a “c” before! 😀

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