Saturday, May 7, 2016

My Intercultural Love: Garry & Pattie

This lovely Punjabi-American couple had an arranged marriage! Read their fascinating story of love and luck!

I'm Pattie, We live in Sacramento California currently, but I am from Neenah, Wisconsin. My husband Garry is from Punjab, India. We have one daughter Katie-Jasleen who is 4 yrs old, a cat Babu and a husky Loki. I am part German, Irish and French-Canadian Indian.

Three words that describe you
Happy, loving, Compassionate.

Favorite childhood memory
Camping every summer with my family.

Where/how do you feel most inspired?
I'm really not sure right now, my life has changed so much the last three years since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I have not felt too inspired.

Where/how did you meet your spouse?
My step-dad (my Mom has since divorced him) is from Punjab. After I divorced my first husband, he made it his mission to find me a new husband. He asked his family in India if there was anyone single and looking to marry. Turned out his niece's brother in law was single, so he tried to set us up. I told him no way, that am I not marrying a crazy Indian, I'm not going to India. He talked to Garry in India and Garry said that he was not interested in moving to the US, and that he didn't want to talk to me. My step-dad was very persistent and would not take no for an answer from either of us. He then tricked us into talking on the phone! Garry has such a sweet gentle voice - I was curious about what he looked like so I agreed to exchange email addresses and pictures with him. We traded emails and photos and started talking on the phone everyday. One month later he asked me to marry him, and I said yes. After we were married, he told me that when he heard me laugh the first time on the phone - when we were tricked into talking - he knew that I was the one.

How long have you been together?
In November, it will be 6 years that we met and in January, it will be 6 years since we have married.

What qualities do you admire in your spouse?
He is such a sweet, honest man, a great father and respectful of our cultural differences. He loves his mother so much and takes care of her and treats my mother like his own.

Favorite memory together as a couple
It's so hard to pick one, I think it would have to be when we spent the day together at an amusement park in India. We had been married for about a month, he was so funny and sweet. We had such a good time together. I was sick while I was there and he took very good care of me. We didn't know I was having tummy troubles due to the fact I was pregnant!

What did you know about your spouse's culture prior to your relationship?
My first husband was also from Punjab, so I knew all about it (that's why I said I'm not marrying an Indian!)

How did you tell your friends/family about your intercultural relationship?
I posted on Facebook that I was living in California. My family was all in Wisconsin, so I just made a general announcement for them. I got a lot of negative comments asking if I was sure because of what I went through with my first husband. I still have family that wants nothing to do with Garry and they talk bad about him because he is not white.

How has your relationship enlightened your life? How has it changed you & your outlook on life?
I never knew that marriage could be like this. Garry treats me like I am the most important person in his life. He is sensitive and has cried with me when things have been hard for me with my health. He has made me see there are good people who will do anything for the people they love. As well as shown me that true love does exist. I had given up on true love and thought it was something I would never have...Garry has shown me it is real.

Who proposed and how?
Garry did, he had called me and was acting kinda odd and nervous while we were talking. I finally said, "What's wrong?" He then asked me to come to India and be my wife forever.

Describe your wedding
It was long and huge! We had a traditional Sikh temple wedding and reception. There were about 300 people there, complete with a bagpipe and drum band, and a confetti canon when we cut the cake. It was like a dream - he planned everything right down to making appointments for me at a beauty parlor the night before and the morning of our wedding. 

What does being married mean to you?
It means being with the other half of your heart no matter what life throws at you. Being honest, and taking care of your spouse. Sharing the good and bad with each other. Doing what you can to make both of your lives happier and complete.

What are your dreams for your future together as a married couple?
We want to buy a semi and start a trucking company, and then buy a home. We want to run the company together.

What's the best marital advice that you received from elder family/friends?
Never go to bed mad, and when he pisses me off bite my tongue till I calm down so we can talk things out calmly.

What positive cultural values do you bring to your relationship?
My family has a strong love for each other and God. Garry loves that and he said it makes him a better person and feels a strong bond with us.

What do you do to keep your relationship alive? What kinds of things do you do to connect with your spouse?
We go on dates a couple times a month. We make time for it - no matter what is going on around us. We also talk on the phone everyday when he is on the road, telling each other about what we did and saw that day.

In what ways have you adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
I go to the temple with him, celebrate his holidays and have learned to cook Punjabi food. He has done the same so we are a true blended family.

Has your family adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
My family loves going to the temple, and eating Indian cooking as well as the different holidays.

What aspects of your spouse's culture do you find difficult to embrace?
He is still old-school about how I dress which makes me crazy and that is one thing we do argue about. I might be married to a Indian, but I am American and that will never change. I will dress as I please...unless we are going to see Indian people!

Name some cultural faux-pas that you have unknowingly committed.
Where do I begin?!?! I brought cookies with me once to India - not thinking that they were made with eggs and served them to his whole family. He told me not to say anything it - was not going to kill them, but we had to keep it between us!

What was the most challenging time in your intercultural relationship?
When he first came to the US, he thought I should act and live as an Indian wife (yeah right...!) in time he gave and lives as an American himself now.

What's the best and the worst part of being in an intercultural relationship?
Best: I have seen and learned to much more then I ever thought I would. I have a huge loving family in India. I come from a small family, so it's so wonderful having them.
Worst: We don't always understand each other and why we think the way we act. It is hard sometimes getting on the same page.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that people have about intercultural relationships?
I'm not sure. I guess from the questions I have been asked by people, it would have to be people thinking I am a slave to my husband because that must be how Indian men treat their wives.

What are the biggest misconceptions about American women?
I hate that some Indian people think American women are all whores, drink, smoke and do drugs.

Have you come across people who disapprove of your intercultural union? Describe the experience. If so, how do you deal with them?
My best friend since I was 16. She said, "Oh, you married one of them". I was taken aback, and I said that yes, I married a wonderful loving man, and he is one of them. She has since dropped out of my life. It hurts, but that was her choice. All I can do is bless her and move on.

Take-away advice for other intercultural couples.
Live your live for you and your husband. People judge and most of the time they will not even try to see what your relationship really is or what it's about. I think it is easier to judge people and look down on what they do not understand. I found there is no point in arguing, fussing and fighting - they will not change. As hard at is it sometimes, you need to grow and move on without some people in your life.



  1. Aww what a sweet story, may the gods bless you & your family.
    ** Hugs **

  2. What a lovely family!
    So sorry to hear of your MS diagnosis, that must be really hard to deal with.
    "As hard at is it sometimes, you need to grow and move on without some people in your life."
    Words to live by!
    I'm originally from Sonoma - not too far from Sacramento, so nice to meet you.


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