“ang pag-ibig ko’y laging sa ‘yo
Kahit maputi na ang buhok ko”
“my love will always be with you even when my hair turns white”
These are in part the lyrics of a famous Pinoy song and what the song is about is how to make a relationship stick around until you and your spouse turn grey-headed.
An interracial relationship presents more humps than a quote-unquote “normal” relationship does.
In addition to having to deal with the contrast between masculine and feminine emotional makeup you have to deal with culture shock which, as I keep repeating in this blog, is not just an intellectual shock but it affects every aspect of your life from your finances, your level of privacy and intimacy with your spouse, language and communication issues and so forth.
What I have found out is that the only way you can make it through all these humps, twists and turns is by doing an inner work on yourself and developing an above ordinary ability to shift from frustration to fascination.
I am particularly in love with this concept. I heard it from Jim Rohn and I think this is one of the most important (if not the most important) skills to master in an interracial relationship where your Western model of the world is going to be constantly challenged and if you are not culturally and emotionally ready this is going to get you to live in a constant state of frustration.
What do I mean by shifting from frustration to fascination?
Well, let me give you an example: as I’ve said many times, Filipinos can get very emotional and chances are that your Filipino spouse is going to vent on you a good share of the time.
When someone lashes out our natural inclination is to get frustrated and, perhaps vent back.
When these situations occur I choose to get fascinated by getting curious about why Filipinos get so emotional, by exploring the underlying reasons (I’ve written a post about it) and this helps me to abide in understanding and empathy rather than frustration.
Getting frustrated makes you angry while getting curious and fascinated fosters empathy and understanding.
An old proverb says “never judge another person (getting frustrated is a form of judgement, you feel that the other person should behave differently and fit into your idea of reality and because she does not do so you feel entitled to get frustrated) unless you have walked a mile in her/his mocassins”.
Walking in you spouse’s shoes entails understanding and appreciating that if you were born and raised in her country you would be acting out the same patterns of behaviour as she does.
Instead of getting frustrated about the extended family you could get curious about it and do some research to trace back where this culture originated and what is positive about it like, for example, how, by being part of it you don’t run the risk of ending up old and alone like many elderly people in the West.
Frustration will make you bitter and will cause you to develop an antagonistic attitude that will slowly but surely eat away at your relationship.
So, because I have turned frustration into curiosity and fascination I am confident that I will be able to enjoy this relationship “kahit maputi ang buhok ko”.