4 Things I've Learned From Being In an Interracial, Interfaith Relationship

During our vacation at Sugarloaf Rock in Western Australia

During our vacation at Sugarloaf Rock in Western Australia

Come on, it's 2014. Being with someone of a different race or religion is not unordinary. Yet even in the multi-cultural country I live in--Singapore--the topics of interracial and interfaith dating are not largely discussed. Truth be told, it is still regarded as "sensitive." Somehow, never-ending assumptions and stereotypes on how things won't work out abound. But I have never been the kind to look at my partner based on his race or belief system: love just happens, and I have been in my current relationship for 8 years. Despite the negativity surrounding this topic, here are four positive things I've learned from my experience:

1. Understanding is Key
To make things work, understanding plays a vital role. It shapes you into becoming more tolerant and accepting to what you previously thought was "different" from your own norms. Basically, it is the root and the foundation for the relationship to grow. 

2. Little things go a long way
I celebrate Eid while my partner celebrates Chinese New Year. It's definitely fun when we both put in effort to celebrate these two events in one year together with our families.  Before Eid, I fast for Ramadhan. My partner, being the thoughtful person he is, always asks me if there are any errands he can do for me as he knows I'll be quite tired and lethargic at the end of the day. He also tries hard not to eat or drink in front of me while I'm fasting. For me, these are little things that go a long way and make me appreciate him that much more.

3. Openness

There will be times when you both find it hard to agree with each other because of your beliefs. Having differing views is fine. In fact, I feel that having healthy conversations help to elevate your mind to a new scale and remain open to new ideas. It helps to broaden our perspectives and it cultivates a sense of understanding when you are discussing difficult topics. 

4. Acceptance
Accept your partner for the person they are. At the end of the day, it is more than just having a different race or faith. It is really about two human beings falling in love like anyone else. It is what you see in the person, and what they see in you. Viewing things through such a myopic lens has caused us to forget that, and forget the reasons people fall in love in the first place. 

To this I say: love forever and nothing can stop you.