You did it. You put a ring on it – or you are at least thinking about it… maybe. Congratulations! If you are reading this you have probably figured out – or someone has told you – that you have no idea what you have just done. I mean, you might have some idea, but it is highly unlikely that you had all of the information you will need to make this work.
When you have decided to date or marry a Caribbean woman, there are things about her that are just part of her being of Caribbean descent and can vary from island to island. The sayings she’s grown up hearing, the pressure she’s managed to flourish under – all of that has shaped the woman that you have decided to love. She is worth the trouble. Trust me. So let me share a few things with you that could help you navigate the relationship a little better.
This is not an exhaustive list, and I am not a marriage counselor. Far be it from me to take the fun out of this for you – there are plenty of things that you’ll find out discover along the way that will make you glad you decided to go on this adventure with your Caribbean queen.
1. Cooking chicken will take forever. Chicken has to be cleaned, scrubbed, washed, limed, and salted, AND THEN it has to be stewed, browned, jerked, or curried. It is a process. Don’t interrupt, complain about, or disparage the process. Trust the process. It is necessary and worth it.
Related: Lime and Salt: Cleaning Chicken Caribbean Style
2. Family is everything, even if it seems like it isn’t. She may not have seen her cousins, uncles, aunties, or any sort of family in decades, but they are no less important to her than the family members that you see and talk to on an almost daily basis. She might not even like them. But you better not say a bad word about them. She can talk about them to her heart’s content. You better not repeat it anywhere. When she runs up and hugs Auntie so and so, and calls her “her favorite auntie” you BETTA not even whisper, “I thought you couldn’t stand Auntie so and so…” Don’t bring it up in the car, not at dinner, never.
3. Her family will adore you… until they don’t. It’s always going to be her over you if her family has to choose. There may be a rare instance when a family member seems to be on your side. Don’t trust that person. Run. They are plotting on you and yours.
4. She picks on you because she loves you. You may not have grown up in a home where those you love pick out your most unappealing attribute, or biggest insecurity, and incorporate it into as many conversations, jokes, and stories that they can. They may even give you a nickname based on that attribute or insecurity. Your mate may have picked up that habit. Don’t take it personally. Oh, and if she explains this to you and you say, “well, none of your family members do this to me.” She will laugh at you. Trust me, the family has given you a nickname… and has probably roasted you with you in the room, and you had no idea because it was in patois. You may have even laughed too. Sorry about that.
5. Have a passport, and make sure you keep it current. Even if she is a citizen of whatever country you all reside in, she may need to roll out to any number of countries across the globe (some Caribbean people travel a lot) to see family, to satisfy the NEED for blue water and white, pink, or black sand, or just to get away and relax.
Related: 5 Things You Must Do When You Visit Vieques
6. Just because she’s independent, doesn’t mean she doesn’t need you. Her mom, dad, grandmother, and/or grandfather has told her that she don’t need no man to do anything for her. Her dad may have an open door policy that says she can leave you and come live with him at any time and at any age. He would be happy to make her bake and cocoa tea every morning. She’ll want to do it all. Don’t stop her, but never stop asking if she’d like help.
7. Don’t assume you know what her daddy issues are. She may have no issues. She may have all the issues. Being raised (or not) by a Caribbean father is not anything like any other experience. If she chooses to share what her experience was, and how she chooses to deal with it (or not), let her have that space. You don’t want to be her therapist on that one. Nope.
8. Just because you dated a woman from one Caribbean island, don’t expect that you learned anything that will help you with a woman from another Caribbean island. While some things might be similar, Caribbean women are not all the same. Never compare her accent (if she has one) or her family member’s accent to any other person’s accent from any other island. As a matter of fact, just like any other countries, different parts of the island might have different accents too. Your partner is an individual, and it would behoove you to treat her as such.
Whew, that was a lot! You okay? Yes – I promised you 25 things, but I couldn’t put ALL of them in this one article. Click here for part two… 25 Things to Remember When You Marry (or Date) a Caribbean Woman – Part 2
Big thanks to my husband for making suggestions and approving some of the items on this list! Are you married to or dating a Caribbean woman? Are you a Caribbean woman who has had misunderstandings with the people you date or person you’ve married because of your Caribbean roots that have caused conflict? Share with us in the comments.