A statement from Melissa and Robert on the current unrest in America:
It is hard to express all the feelings we have when it comes to the unrest in the US and the world over police brutality and racism. We want our children to treat all others as equals, but we know that because of the color of their skin, they will have a hard time being treated as equals by society in the times we live in now. We hope and pray for a brighter future so that our children never have to experience that pain of not fitting in and being demonized by society, solely based on the color of their skin.
From Melissa’s perspective, being in an interracial relationship has truly changed her. No longer is the black community a talking point or something that can be pointed out, but she is now very closely associated with it. She has seen firsthand how someone could work their whole life, and still be held down by the system. She has witnessed how black people, regardless of their actions, can all be super nervous around authority figures, such as the police, because they are automatically targeted. Also, she has seen how wary the black community can be of her and her intentions because there is so little trust and equality. Raising biracial children is not something she ever felt she would experience, but it is of utmost importance to Melissa that her children be educated on their full heritage, and to appreciate where they come from.
From Robert’s perspective, he has learned that it is just as hard to have biracial kids, if not harder, than fully black or fully white children, because you face criticism from both races. Even as a black man, he gets criticized by certain people on whether he is “black enough” or “white enough.” The tone of his skin should not determine how he portrays himself. He feels that as a black member of a mostly white family, he is unable to fully express his views on racism and the black experience without upsetting people. However, some of the white family members actually are able to speak on black people’s behalf, even if they don’t fully understand all of it. It is like being “whitesplained” on how racism affects black people. It makes him feel that although this is his family and he should feel included, at times he feels like he is family only when they need a black person’s approval. He feels that sometimes the reason it is hard is he does not know if even his spouse fully understands what he is going through, even though she does her best to check on him and make sure he is ok.
As a couple, we feel that these experiences have made us stronger in our relationship. It has opened our eyes to see both sides of the situation, making us slow to pass judgment on anything or anyone. We are working hard every day now to make the world a safer, kinder place. We are taking steps to promote understanding and love. We are looking to get involved in local politics and movements that we resonate with. To our fellow interracial couples, we salute you. We are changing the world, one kiss, one hug, one baby at a time.
Spreading Love and Peace,
Melissa and Robert
Q&A With Melissa and Robert:
Thinking back to when we spoke, is there anything that afterward you wish that you had said which you didn't at the time?
We love every member of our families, no matter what we have gone through. We have learned so many lessons through each and everyone of our experiences. And no matter what, without our mothers, we would be nothing, so we appreciate them the most.
Do you have a song that's your couple song?
One of our first dates was to the Foo Fighters concert in Denver, CO. It was actually on Robert’s birthday, and we got to celebrate it with two of my brothers. So we had “Everlong” as our wedding dance. However, we also love the symphony. Robert proposed to me at the Colorado Symphony before the Pixar in Concert performance, so those songs are also very special to us.
Name a way in which the two of you are similar. Name a way in which the two of you are different.
We both love greasy burgers and fries. We also both enjoy watching a wide variety of movies, and then critiquing them. Melissa enjoys going outside barefoot, camping, going swimming, and other outdoor activities. Robert is quite skittish when it comes to being outside. He says that black men don’t voluntarily go into the woods to camp for fun.
What's your favorite thing to do for the other?
Melissa loves to find little gifts that remind her of Robert and give them to him at random. Robert likes to do whatever he can to relieve Melissa’s stress, whether it be things like running to the post office, or cooking a nice meal, taking the kids to the park, etc.
What are some traditions that you've established as a couple?
We like to host a watch party for the Academy Awards. We find a group of people who would like to participate, send them a ballot with all of the nominees in all categories for participants to fill out, and then as the night goes on, Melissa will keep a live tally of how everyone is stacking up. We also take Black History month very seriously and like to watch lots of movies and read books and have discussions together about the topics we’ve learned about. On Christmas Eve, we like to make homemade personal pizzas. What fictional couple do you relate with the most?
Star-Lord and Gamorra. Star-Lord is not perfect, he is even a little naughty, but he loves his family and especially loves Gamorra. Gamorra is a strong woman who keeps her barriers up, but she will lower them when she is with Star-Lord. Also, we are like Elinor and Chidi from The Good Place, but Robert is Elinor, and Melissa is Chidi. They still have a great love for one another.
What's your favorite TV show as a couple?
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is our current favorite. But we have in the past also loved Into the Badlands, Game of Thrones, The Good Place, The Office, Cobra Kai, etc.
Did you guys agree on baby names?
When Melissa was pregnant with our son, Robert informed her that he wanted to name our son Robert because our son would be the fourth in a line of Robert Martins. When we were dating, Melissa had a “vision” where she saw our future daughter, and in the vision, she learned that the daughter’s name was Makayla. So that is how we got the first names. The middle names we decided to go with Finn and Rey because we are huge Star Wars nerds.
Are there any specific relationship skills you're each working on right now?
We are working on being kinder to ourselves and to one another and not being as hard on one another, because it helps us grow closer. We are also working on finding time to just be with another without distractions. No kids, no phones, just each other.