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Are Mixed Marriages Likely to Fail?

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Are Mixed Marriages Likely to Fail?


Every little girl dreams about her wedding day. As a kid, I remember telling my friends that I wanted to get married at 22, have a kid by 24, and have a fabulous career. I thought I had it all planned. But I never really placed a face on the guy standing next to me at the alter. My husband-to-be changed according to whoever my crush was at the time. But let’s face it- we don’t know exactly who or when we’ll marry, until it’s time.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is white and I’m black. I didn’t foresee marrying outside of my race. I just met a great guy-who happened to be white. We fell in love, got hitched, and had a beautiful daughter. Now it seems like there are a lot more interracial couples exchanging vows.

According to a Daily News article written by the Associated Press, the number of integrated marriages has reached 4.8 million. The Pew Research Center claims that marriages across racial and ethnic lines have more than doubled in the past three decades.

It’s pretty refreshing to read that people are becoming more open minded about finding a partner outside his or her race. I’ve always been a firm believer that one shouldn’t marry a person based on skin color or ethnicity. But when I read that divorce rates are higher for interracial couples it made me question why mixed couples choose to join hands in holy matrimony. According to the Associated Press,

"One study conducted a decade ago determined that mixed-race couples had a 41 percent chance of separation or divorce, compared to a 31 percent chance for those who married within their race.

Another analysis found divorce rates among mixed-race couples to be more dependent on the specific race combination, with white women who married outside their race more likely to divorce. Mixed marriages involving blacks and whites also were considered least stable, followed by Hispanic-white couples."


While this study seems to imply that people are getting divorced because they are in a mixed-race marriage, I question whether or not the rise in interracial couples tying the knot is such a huge accomplishment. If the rise in interracial marriage indicates that race relations have improved- according to Cornell University Professor Daniel Lichter- then divorce rates among mixed marriages may cancel out that theory. Don’t you think?

I can’t speak for all multicultural couples. But as a black woman married to a white man, I do agree that there are racial differences. I don’t expect my husband to fully understand my black struggles, but he is sensitive to them. He’ll never be able to relate to many racial experiences I’ve had, but he listens. He’s able to sympathize with whatever it is I’m going through. In general, I think all marriages have ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll have to make sacrifices, but that’s true for all marriages. As long as there’s love, communication, and understanding that all that matters. I would love to sit down with these integrated couples and find out why they decided to sign those divorce papers. I think the implication of marriages ending because of race seems quite bizarre.

My hubby and I have been married for 7 years and still going strong!

Are Mixed Marriages Likely to Fail?

Weather Anchor Mama



55 Comments:

At February 17, 2012 at 12:58 AM , Blogger Chantilly Patiño said...

This is a great topic. I think it's a bit ridiculous that these types of studies are often the main focus on mixed families...FAILURE. Too much research is set up to point out the differences and challenges, while very few point out our successes. I think this calls for a post about successes from our community! ;)

Totally agree with you...I don't think that race or ethnicity is really as big an issue with mixed couples as racial hostility from in-laws and friends. In-laws were the only real factor that ruffled my husband's or my feathers and it's the biggest source of disdain for most of the couples we know. I think this plays into the divorce numbers and also debunks the supposed "success" of racial equality. An increase in interracial marriage doesn't quite equal an increase in "tolerance"...it just looks that way to outsiders. <3

Thanks for this thought provoking piece. <3

 
At February 17, 2012 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Honeysmoke said...

No. I'd argue such unions are stronger because the couples are mature enough to do something different and know society may not always accept the union. That said, marriage is tough. Marriages fail for many reasons, and the most common reasons have nothing to do with race.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 9:19 AM , Blogger Jason said...

I agree with Honeysmoke. Marriages fail for many reasons and none of them ever have to do with race. Once you guys love each other, then that's all that matters.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Thanks so much for commenting Chantilly! I thought maybe I was over thinking it at first. But, I read the articles again and thought it was so bogus. It impies that the reasons for failed interracial marriage are based strictly on race. I just don't think it's fair, unless the divorce paper has an option that states- "Our marriage failed because he/she is a different race." Many people will read those same articles and assume it's true. It just doesn't seem right.

I totally agree with you about the in-laws. Luckily, I'm fortunate to have great ones. Holidays seem to be the toughest. There's never any beef. But my hubby and I try to split our time with our families equally. Sometimes it is hard though.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

I totally agree with you Honeysmoke. I would think people get divorce for things like cheating or lack of communication.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 10:53 AM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Me too Jason! Besides if there is an issue with race, I don't even think you'd make it to the alter, much less go through a divorce.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM , Blogger Anne35 said...

Something's not right about that study. Last year I read an article that delved deeper into the divorce rates of interracial marriages and it specifically stated that divorce rates between black women and white men are the lowest of all pairings. In any case, I agree with what has been said by the other commentators. Specifically, if race was an issue there's a good chance the couple wouldn't have made it down the aisle in the first place. More likely, the breakdown in the marriage was a result of something much less exciting like finances or trust issues.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM , Blogger (Tamie Taylor)Creating Art Trough Photography said...

interesting" the breakdown of a marriage first begins with the breakdown of communicatio then followed by finances and other poor choices. A as a result, the couples starts the finger pointing, and the marriag falls apart,
and couples go their separate ways. I had no idea that the color of your skin was included. How blind I was to not see the obvious? I think research got it all wrong! Marriages don't fail because they're interatial. They fail because of poor choices,conflict, finance and other things such as infidelity and abuse of some kind. Whether physical,verbal or substance abuse. Bottom line. I don't think because two people have different skin tone matter. Where there's love,communion and respect. Any marriag can surpass anything. Love this topic.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Exactly! Now I'm really beginning to wonder where and how these studies are conducted. Something ain't right!

 
At February 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Absolutely! Thanks Tammie!

 
At February 17, 2012 at 7:40 PM , Blogger Chantilly Patiño said...

True...just splitting up the holidays is enough to kill you...LOL! I miss the holidays with our families since we've moved out of state, but I don't miss the arguments about where to go, when and what to bring...LOL. ;)

 
At February 17, 2012 at 8:17 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

I can imagine how difficult that is. When my hubby and I first got married, we'd go to both sides in one day on holidays. I've always worked crazy hours (including weekends and holidays). I sacrificed to keep the peace. But now that we have Princess, we have to make some changes. We usually alternate families on different holidays. Some holidays were spent at our home. I wanted Princess's first Thanksgiving and Christmas to be at her home. It gets hard when there's children involved.

 
At February 22, 2012 at 9:17 AM , Blogger Faith said...

and who decided to point this out? kinda ridiculous if you ask me. many marriages fail and for many, many reasons. when did being in an interracial marriage increase your chances for divorce? i think it is a ridiculous study. people divorce because they married too quickly, didn't know each other enough, didn't choose to love each other when things got hard, didn't communicate, weren't honest with each other, i can go on and on. i have never heard someone say they got divorced because they were different races because if that was the case they wouldn't have got married in the first place!

 
At February 24, 2012 at 2:23 PM , Blogger {swank}mama said...

I don't think race has any handle on whether a relationship will fail - at least in my point of view. It takes two people to keep a relationship going strong and if both are willing to make it work despite what circumstance(s) may come between them, I'm sure the relationship will last.

 
At February 24, 2012 at 5:47 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

My sentiments exactly Faith!

 
At April 15, 2012 at 7:07 AM , Blogger HB said...

Wooow this is a nice topic to read. I am thinking same with you about that: Race has nothing to do about a relationship fail.

 
At May 8, 2012 at 5:31 PM , Blogger LogAllot.com said...

I am in a mixed relationship myself. Being on the west coast seems easier for me because I see so much of it quite honestly. It's not to say there aren't idiots out here, but I don't concentrate on that. My man is the love of my life and if it wasn't him, I don't think race would be an issue. You still have to contend with people still thinking like the 50's, but it is what it is. Most times ignorant people say things behind your back and not to your face.

Marriages will fail no matter what the color of someone's skin is, but I will say, if you allow others outside of your relationship to come in between your marriage, it's doomed to fail regardless. My focus on my life, being healthy, loving our girls and living a productive life.

 
At May 8, 2012 at 5:36 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Absolutely. You are so right!

 
At May 20, 2012 at 1:51 AM , Blogger Mpirefilms said...

I think I know why you all get along.. race isn't real. You belong to the same race, the human race. Black and White is some Jim Crow, divide and conquer BS. We look different because our ancestors had to survive different terrains across the globe. What matters is a shared value system to survive the day to day operations of the management of marriage. Please discard this idea of race. It is an imposition by outside forces, on an otherwise very genetically unified RACE of humans.

So-called 'whites' come from Africa too, so he's just a pale-skinned African. Don't let Gregor Mendel fool you into making Neapolitan Ice Cream out of the Homo Sapien species. He was a mad scientist, who wants to infect everyone else with his affliction.

 
At May 21, 2012 at 4:20 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

You are so right. When you look back into you gene pool, I'm sure everyone will find all kinds of mixtures. My mom tells me all the time that her grandmother was an Irish woman from Ireland. Looking at me, you probably wouldn't have know that.

 
At June 5, 2012 at 11:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A marriage is either going to succeed or fail regardless of race, religion, and so forth. It all comes down to the quality of the person whom you choose to be with. HAPPINESS is a choice,so choose wisely. Love is color-blind, but unfortunately no matter what, jealousy always sees too much.

Dwayne

 
At October 17, 2012 at 6:08 AM , OpenID joleneybean said...

What a powerful and thought-provoking post. I'm white and my husband is Hispanic. There are definitely cultural differences that I've come to understand better as we've been married (going on 7 years!). But I still tend to think that divorce rates - regardless of the mix of races, is more dependent upon individuals and their commitment to a promise. I think we live in a culture that says divorce is OK, it's no big deal. And society encourages us go for what we want, whenever we want instead of honoring our commitments. Now, I know this isn't true all of the time, but I know I've witnessed it personally in many marriages (mixed race and not).
Stopping by from SITS - Happy SITS Day! :)

 
At October 17, 2012 at 7:13 AM , Blogger Aspgriswold said...

Love is love...no matter who you marry. Congrats on defying those odds! Happy SITS day!!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 7:21 AM , Blogger doseofreality said...

What an interesting, well stated post. One of my very favorite TV shows is Parenthood, and I absolutely love the way they present the Crosby and Jasmine relationship. Reading about an actual interracial marriage is definitely better, so I appreciate your candidness in sharing this post. You and your hubby make a beautiful couple, by the way! :) Happy SITS day!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 8:56 AM , Anonymous Sarah said...

I'm in a mixed marriage as well. My husband is black and I am Egyptian. We have cultural difference but at the end of the day we share love each other, share the same faith and have a beautiful daughter together. We will be married 7 years this December. I almost feel like mixed couples try harder to beat the odds. You know? Great post! Love the blog!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 8:58 AM , Blogger The Solley Six said...

I love the plain and simple ease with which you tell us the story of falling in love. I think it's funny as girls in our culture how we plan our wedding details and spend less time considering what qualities we need in a mate but it's true what you say: we don't really know until we find 'the one'.
You have a lovely blog here!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 9:11 AM , Anonymous Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda} Marriage is hard. It takes lots of work and sacrifice -- no matter what the race combination. I think marriages succeed when both parties are willing to make that sacrifice and not give in to their own selfishness. You and your husband are adorable. I wish you many happy years together!

Happy SITS Day!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 9:15 AM , Anonymous Sheila Skilllingstead said...

I personally believe that sometimes a marriage that is made without family support will have a tougher time. I wonder if the dating couple stay together despite the family opposition just because they want to prove the family is wrong.

Romeo and Juliet were that type of couple and a lot too young.

Enjoy your marriage. Being aware of the possible difficulties, I believe will help you two make it all the way.

We were an interfaith couple and will be celebrating 40 years this December. Those types of marriages were rare at the time. Enjoy your SITS Day.

 
At October 17, 2012 at 9:19 AM , Blogger Hope Reid said...

Love your blog. Great topic. Often times the negative comments heard about interracial marriages are coming from people NOT in a mixed marriage. Love and communication trumps race any day. Happy SITS day!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 10:40 AM , Anonymous shari lynne @ Faith Filled Food for Moms said...

Happy SITS day Anchor Mama! I love this article. I'm white..but I was very fortunate to grow up in a family that never mentioned race in a negative way. I like to have the heart of God and although we are all made differently we are made in His image and likeness..so I say we marry whoever God gives to us as a gift!
Blessings to you!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 10:42 AM , Anonymous Classic NYer said...

I think the failure of mixed race marriages has less to do with the people actually being married and more to do with all the surrounding people. I'm in a mixed-race relationship myself. I'm black and my husband is white. Luckily, my family does not have a problem with this, as there are others in my family who have married outside of cultural and racial lines. My husband's family, however, is racist. If his parents were alive (they were dead before I ever met my husband) they would not approve of me, and this would probably cause a lot of tension in our marriage. I've been in a relationship where I was not approved by my partner's family (not for racial reasons though) and it is brutal.

 
At October 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM , Blogger 2busy said...

I can't say as I'm not in a mixed race marriage. But, this does pose an interesting question. Sometimes it is hard enough trying to understand the differences between men and women and our differences in marriage, then you add in racial struggles. This adds just another component to the mix. I think if the couples really love each other, then it shouldn't have to be an issue. Don't listen to outside influences that tend to be negative. Congrats on your going strong at 7 years!!!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM , OpenID titlelessblog.com said...

Hmmm....I don't buy it. I married my Chilean husband right around the time that you wrote this post! I could see marriages that traverse socioeconomic boundaries failing at higher rates, but that would be regardless of race. We are now expecting a little girl in November :)

Congrats on your SITS day!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM , Blogger Michelle Clark (AKA Miss Banana Pants) said...

I love that you wrote about this topic. My marriage is not inter-racial, but we desperately want to adopt from other countries and inevidibly my family will be inter-racial of sorts. I know that there are pressures and judgements made about it all, but it's so good to see someone who is rising above all that. We are all the same inside. Thanks for this!!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 1:35 PM , Anonymous Teresa said...

Very interesting post! I am white and am married to an Asian man. I feel that the world in general is becoming more and more diverse and the number of mixed race marriages will only increase. Marriage can be a complicated thing regardless of race, so I personally don't think a mixed race marriage is any more likely to fail than any other marriage. Happy SITS Day!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 2:05 PM , Anonymous Heather said...

I agree with every one else. A marriage isn't going to fail because of race IMHO. Mine is interracial with me being white and my husband is Hispanic. We have had issues in public with the whole immigration issue and I've been told to go back to my own country when speaking in Spanish (we both speak both languages but use Spanish when talking about things such as Christmas gifts in front of the kids). But those issues don't divide us, they unite us.

Happy SITS day!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 2:27 PM , Blogger Rebecca Rider said...

Great post!! I think other factors probably come into play too, like socioeconomic status, education leek, and parental support. Congrats on 7 years - my hubby and I have been married 3 and I hope we get to 7 too!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM , Blogger Babes Mami said...

I think to say that race was why those couples chose to divorce is a little strange, same race couples split up for cheating/growing apart so why should we assume that mixed race couples split up because of race. My husband is half Hispanic, it would be interested to know the stats on that lol. Great post, great topic!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM , Anonymous Lydia said...

I think it just depends on the couple. If you love each other for REAL, then it shouldn't matter. Our society needs to get over themselves and realize that humans are marrying humans. Once we can get to that point, I think that the social STRESSES would lessen - maybe that's what makes it more difficult? I don't know. My first marriage ended in divorce, and we're both white. Great post. And happy SITS day!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM , OpenID bequoted said...

marriage has its ups and downs. period. congrats on your feature.

 
At October 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM , Blogger The Roving Retorter said...

There's a study, full of stats and percentages, about anything these days. I don't buy that race/color plays anything other than an incidental role in why the marriages dissolve.

 
At October 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM , Blogger katherine peas said...

great post, I'm a SITS-ter and also in a interracial marriage. I can't say if it's harder, it's the only one I've been in LOL

 
At October 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM , Blogger thatdesigngal said...

Interesting post, I would never think that the color of one's skin would determine whether you would get divorced or not. I would assume the big culprits would be communication and infidelity.

Thank you for sharing, happy SITS day!
Mary

 
At October 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM , Anonymous Mo @ The Baby is Fine said...

That is a bizarre study - I find it hard to believe that a marriage would end because of race. If race was an issue for a couple, it seems like the marriage wouldn't have happened in the first place! It's not like you wake up one day 10 years down the road and THEN figure out what race your spouse is...

(not that it should matter in the first place - my point is just that if it didn't matter before hand, why would it later cause the divorce?)

I definitely think that race is becoming less of an issue with each generation, and rightly so (at least here in the USA, can't comment on other countries). I am sure we will continue to see a rise in interracial marriages, and that is great!

happy SITS day! :)

 
At October 17, 2012 at 5:38 PM , Anonymous Nicole said...

Glad to hear you found someone who supports you regardless of whether you have both undergone similar life experiences, I think finding the right person makes a huge difference in ANY relationship :)

 
At October 17, 2012 at 7:13 PM , Anonymous Christy @ My Invisible Crown said...

I think maybe that your theory of the ratio of interracial couples increasing being relative to the number of divorces is absolutely correct. It makes so much sense! We all struggle no matter what color our skin is. Great post!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 7:40 PM , Blogger Myna Kay said...

What a great post! All marriages struggle at some point, whether they are interracial or not. I glad that you and your husband are happy and I hope that you have a life time of love!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 9:58 PM , Blogger The UDG said...

As the product of a biracial marriage from the 70s, I think mixed marriages have every chance that any other marriage has. My parents have been married forty-two years; I worry more about imparting the Latin part of my culture to my future babies rather than the color of their (very white and very handsome)father's skin.

 
At October 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM , OpenID pregoandtheloon said...

Staring at my keyboard... so many thoughts are racing through my head I'm not really sure what to put down, but I know I want to say something. I'm definitely not an expert on the matter, and if you read a bit of my blog you'll have a better understanding why. I do believe that any marriage has the likely-hood of failure whatever the color may be. In my magical world of fairytales and sunshine I'd like to think if you pour equal amounts of love and affection into the perfect stew a happy marriage will result. Unfortunately sometimes life takes a turn that wasn't listed on your little road map... I do believe if you found Mr. Right color shouldn't be an issue! I wish you and your husband many years filled with joy and happiness!!

 
At October 18, 2012 at 2:07 AM , Blogger Masala Chica said...

No - mixed in values fail. Not mixed in color, religion or personality. If the guy does not believe in equality for a woman's right to choose, it's unlikely at this point that I am going to be the one making him choose.

 
At October 20, 2012 at 10:53 AM , Blogger Monicas Mom Musings said...

I was interested in reading this when I saw it featured on SITS because I thought to myself I wonder if inlaws have anything to do with it. I'm a white woman married to a white man and our relationship has been a struggle large in part due to our families. Now we have been married for 12 1/2 years, together for 14, have 4 children together, and we're still going strong. But looking back on a lot of our arguments over the years it has stemmed from issues from our family not approving of our relationship. Now we have overcome that and have both taken a huge step away from our families, but I couldn't help but think if we were in an interracial relationship those problems from family could in some cases be ten fold because there's always someone who's just not going to approve and someone who's going to be whispering in your ear that he doesn't get you or vice versa. Sure would be interesting to see what kind of role the families do play. Of course it does no good pointing fingers about who's fault it is for the breakup, but inlaws are tough and not for nothing no matter how much my parents might think I made a wrong choice in marrying my husband I think they would have a lot more to say if he were black. I don't really consider my parents racists either, but I think it's more of they had this certain idea in their head of who I would marry. I would like to think they could see past color, but they haven't been able to see past the age difference (7 years) and my husband's tattoos so who knows. Fourteen years is a long time for them to be holding out hope of a split.

 
At October 22, 2012 at 3:38 PM , Blogger Kimberly Gauthier, The Fur Mom said...

Your post made me want to cry. Not because it was sad, but because I'm in a mixed relationship and my boyfriend's family hates me. His son loves me, which I appreciate and they both support me. But this weekend we had a huge blow up after a years worth of nasty emails, text messages, and Facebook posts. I've blocked each of his family members from my online world and now may have to get a no contact order, because his mother came over to our home to attack my character and then me. Fortunately for her and me my boyfriend stepped between us, but we're both still a bit shell shocked and I'm wondering where we go from here.

I think interracial relationships can work, but when they don't work I have to wonder how much of the break down has to do with external forces pulling the couple apart.

Visiting from SITS

 
At October 22, 2012 at 6:49 PM , Blogger DJrelAt7 said...

I think that it definitely has to do with how others see your relationship, not how you or your husband see it. However this is true for any marriage regardless of each persons background. I think that external forces will always be there, even its a complete stranger. As long as you keep your bond strong and work at your marriage, you can make it for the long haul. In general divorce is on a rise period, its too easy to access.

Visiting from SITS

 
At October 22, 2012 at 6:50 PM , Blogger DJrelAt7 said...

Kimberly I am sending you a hug and praying for peace of mind with you and your love.

 
At October 23, 2012 at 12:04 AM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the conflict with your boyfriend's family. He did the right thing by getting in between you both and diffusing the situation. Any chance of him smoothing things over with his family? I find that it could be easier when there is a middle man. Sometimes it's easier to reach a common ground.

 

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