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Compatibility 101: Ethnic Differences Part 2


Susie Gamez

Here at Heart of Dating, we are continuing to talk about compatibility! After an incredible discussion on ethnicity with Abigail, Gareth and Gabriella a few weeks ago, we realized there was still SO MUCH to the conversation we wanted to add! So today, Kait brought Susie Gamez, a Korean-American woman (who grew up in Canada, who is married to a Mexican-American man to discuss her experiences being in an interracial relationship.

Could you tell us a little bit about your ethnic background AND a bit about your bi-racial marriage?

  • Susie talks about growing up in Canada and moving to the  west coast when she was 6 years old.
  • Susie’s talks about her testimony and how she came to know the Lord through her parents who then went into the ministry and worked as missionaries
  • By her 2nd year of college, she went to seminary and followed her parents’ footsteps by becoming active in the ministry.
  • Marcus, her husband, grew up on the border of Illinois and Indiana, a community that was predominately black and brown and saw the tension of those communities. 
  • She shares how her husband grew up with the clashes of the white, brown and black community and even experienced receiving death threats in High school. 
  • Marcus and Susie met at a Christian conference and were both a part of an intercultural studies program.
  • Through meeting, they were able to talk a lot about their own cultural heritage and how that played out in their relationship and marriage.

How do you deal with the things that come up and need to be discussed regarding ethnicity early on?

  • You have to first take pride in your ethnicity and be proud of who you are.
  • Susie addresses the idea that if you “don’t stick to your people” that you’re a sellout
  • “Just because we are followers of Jesus does not mean that we don’t have junk that we need to deal with”. 
  • Understanding each other’s family is important and there’s an aspect of you having to do the work and also understand your family’s cultural and ethnic background as well.
  • She shares how when she started dating her husband, he had a big heart for the black community, but the Asian community was actually the least familiar to him.
  • Marcus came into their relationship curious and ready to learn, which Susie said made all the difference when it came to challenging biases.
  • Susie talks about if you can be intentional about diversifying your friendship before diversifying your dating life, it’s a much safer place to ask your questions.

How does family play into interracial relationships?

  • Everybody’s story is very different and everybody's family is very different.
  • There is a spectrum when it comes to family. Statistically, asian women marry outside their race more than anybody else.
  • Susie briefly discusses the misinterpretations of Asian men and Asian women in miss media.
  • Personally, because Susie’s parents were missionaries to South America, they were a bit more familiar with Marcus’ hispanic culture.
  • If you are a believer, the strongholds of believing “white is better” or “white is more successful” in a family is something you have to bring to God and start to really dissolve those ideas through prayer and fasting and really go to God and come in agreement with Him about those ideas.
  • She shares about how the support of family is so important not only for their marriage but also for their children.

What are some challenges you may face being an interracial couple?

  • Susie discusses the power of community and how surrounding yourself with people in the same boat (even through social media) can help you walk through challenges entering an interracial relationship. 
  • Even if both people are humble and understand and have support, there will be moments where you mess up. We are human and at times we can still say things racially/culturally insensitive and it’s important to acknowledge there may be trials.
  • You are constantly learning. Give yourself, your partner, and your partners  the grace in knowing it’s going to be a lifelong journey. 
  • Seek out people you can feel understood by… and know that it's worth the fight!

What is your final nugget of dating advice?

  • Be open to new things and be a lifelong learner.
  • Your checklists and everything that needs to happen, may not be what you think you need in a relationship.
  • God has so much more in store that you don't know you can’t appreciate because you’ve never been exposed to it. 

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Susie Gamez

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Susie is Canadian by birth, Korean by heritage, Mexican by marriage and American by immigration. She is passionate about matters surrounding reconciliation, racial justice and the Gospel. Susie and her husband Marcos met at Fuller Theological Seminary while getting their M.A. in Intercultural Studies and now have 4 beautiful LatAsian children. After serving as a youth pastor and church planter in South Central L.A. for 14 years, Susie continues to teach and preach around the country and now lives in Long Beach, CA. 

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