Have Challenges in Mixed Marriages been Overcome Today

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The theme of Virginia's state motto is that it is a lovers' paradise. A pair was expelled from Virginia more than fifty years ago for falling in love "the wrong way" (Maillard 15). Engaging in a mixed marriage, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, the latter a black woman and the former a man of European ancestry, were imprisoned for breaking the law after they agreed to marry each other in defiance of Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws, which prohibited mixed-race marriages. Determined to preserve their marriage, the two ultimately left Virginia, suing the commonwealth over the imposition of those limits (Maillard 15). Later in 1967, America’s supreme court abolished anti-miscegenation laws in the judgment that paved way for present-day mixed marriages. Mixed marriage refers to marriage between people of different religious groups, ethnicities, or races, for instance black and white people (Maillard 16). Such marriages have been found out to have several challenges in the society today. Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to find out what challenges exist regarding mixed marriages and whether they have been overcome by the society and the couples themselves in the contemporary world.

Negative Views of Mixed Marriages

The society has often held negative perspectives about mixed marriages, making people in such unions feel uncomfortable and hindering intermarriages from growing (Litcher 359). However, as time goes by, the society has advanced to embrace these type of unions.

High Divorce Rates

The high rate of broken relationships recorded by mixed marriages made them to be viewed in a negative manner (Litcher 361). In the U.S, more than 40 percent of marriages currently end up in a divorce; intermarriages record only a slightly higher number, showing a significant improvement (Litcher 361). This fact has made the number of mixed marriages to increase. Those who held bad perceptions against couples from distinct ethnic groups have realized that divorce cuts across the board. As at 2015, “more than 600000 newly-weds had married someone from outside their race or ethnicity” (Livingston and Brown 5). The increase in number of intermarriages alone is a factor that has erased the negative views the society and intermarried couples held against such unions.

In-house Strangers

Dating someone from a different race is at times viewed as strange. Members of one’s family often hold the point of view that they have brought a stranger in the house. For example, due to the history between blacks and whites, it was uncommon for the two races to intermarry (Litcher 383). Due to this they both considered such marriages as strange, unfamiliar and unethical. Blacks were condemned by their fellow family members for marrying outside their race before the mixed marriages became common. However, today Pew Research Centre finds out that attitudes concerning intermarriages have changed significantly (Livingston and Brown 4). In only 7 years (between 2010 and 2017), “the number of adults claiming that marrying someone from a different ethnicity is good for the well-being and development of the society has risen to 39% from 24%” (Livingston and Brown 4). 63% of adults outside the black population claimed they would not marry from the black community in 1990; “the number has since reduced to 14%” in a scenario that depicts how the society is embracing intermarriages with time (Livingston and Brown 6). Most people in the mixed race marriages are in the unions because of love and not material benefit, making such unions to be strong. Despite the fact that a number of people still hold negative views towards intermarriages, the unions attract more positive perspectives as time goes by.

Language Barrier

Marrying someone from a different ethnic background can at times pose a challenge to the couple. Understanding a totally new language does not come easy during adulthood. A number of couples give up learning each others’ language and prefer a common language through which they can understand each other. On the other hand, because of love, some couples go to the extent of learning their spouse’s language. Language barrier makes the couple’s families have a bad perception about the relationship. They cannot imagine their family marrying someone whose family language they will not be able to understand. This, according to them, would mean no family reunion parties of get-togethers since there would be no fun. A number of adults also shy away from intermarriages despite the fact that they love someone due to language barrier. Such perspectives have been overcome in the contemporary world.

Agreeing to engage in a relationship with someone from a totally distinct ethnicity shows true love which goes far beyond words. It is a deeper connection beyond language barrier and most often leads to the couple learning each other’s language for love. As such, with the advent of information technology where one can learn an array of languages online, the language barrier negative perspective has been overcome as pointed out by Sheskin and Hartman (152). Today, couples and their families can converse verbally or through online chats which translate the sender’s language as directed by the user (Sheskin and Hartman, 153). The views and morale of couples in such unions have hence been boosted as they view their relationships more positively. Moreover, more couples are excited by the idea of engaging in a mixed marriage because it offers one the chance to learn a new language (Sheskin and Hartman, 154). In the 21st Century, being conversant with more than one language exhibits numerous benefits. Attitudes about mixed race marriages are thus continuing to improve with time.

The Cultural Issue

Sheskin and Hartman observe that couples normally have a particular idea on how they would want to raise children (155).For instance, a Christian couple would want their children to grow up with Christian virtues and learn a lot about the Bible. Mixed marriages pose a challenge when it comes to how to raise children. As such, many people avoid marrying someone from a different religion due to the perspective that their value s will clash, especially with respect to raising children. This perspective has been thwarted by mutual understanding between couples in intermarriages. The first step they normally take is to find out what values their religions share (Sheskin and Hartman 156).They then instill the common beliefs in their children. At times, one couple comes down to embrace the religion of another, especially in religions where one cannot be allowed to raise children with varying values. Not only has this created interreligious coexistence but the aspect has also improved the society’s views on mixed marriages.

Couples face the idea of how to bring up their children with respect to the language facet (Sheskin and Hartman, 161).

In the past, societies have discouraged their own from getting married ‘outside’ due to the fact that they may bring up ‘strange’ children who observe totally unfamiliar values and traditions. One of the contentious factors for instance, is what language the children should adopt (Stojanova, 280). This conflict has often led to each parent speaking to the child in their own language. Children with mixed ethnicities were viewed as a taboo in some communities in the past. However, mixed marriages proved that such children possess multiple skills and as such, the general perspective of the society has changed regarding intermarriage unions and related factors.


Due to the fact that mixed marriages were not common in the past, the society and potential mixed marriage candidates viewed the unions from a negative perspective. However, with Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter marking the onset of intermarriage, the growth in number of mixed marriages is one of the factors that has altered people’s views about them, while considering the fact that the unions actually last. Later on, divorce rates from mixed marriages would become rampant; the society embraced the unions even more when it opened its eyes to the fact that other marriages almost equally depicted similar divorce rates. Language barrier, cultural issues and the differential raising of children, all factors viewed negatively, have now been embraced when the society and concerned couples realized the advantages the aspects pose, such as the motivation to learn a new language. As such, challenges in mixed marriages, though not totally curbed, are being overcome with time.

Works Cited

Lichter, Daniel T. "Integration or fragmentation? Racial diversity and the American future." Demography 50.2 (2013): 359-391.

Livingston, Gretchen, and Anna Brown. "Intermarriage in the US 50 years after Loving v. Virginia." Report, Pew Research Center, May 18 (2017): 3-12.

Maillard, Kevin Noble. "Miscegenation: An American Leviathan." Human Rights (2009): 15-17.

Sheskin, Ira M., and Harriet Hartman. "The facts about intermarriage." Journal of Jewish Identities 8.1 (2015): 149-178.

Stojanova, Meri. "Intermarriages–Crossing Political and Social Borders." Poznańskie Studia Slawistyczne 4 (2013): 277-291.

October 19, 2022

Family Sociology World


Identity United States

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Marriage Woman Virginia

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