A Father-in-Law’s Embrace, Not a Moment Too Soon

He went on to share what he knew about me. “Dinushka has been a kind, loving, caring and thoughtful child, and she has found an equally kind, loving, caring and thoughtful partner in Nikkya,” he said. Her father’s words suggested that he saw me, his daughter-in-law, the same way he saw his daughter.

My mouth opened slightly, in awe. My heart began to open, too, to a fact that my head knew all along: This was family, my family, our family. And despite the struggles they had gone through trying to understand us as a gay couple, Dinushka’s father and mother, like the grandparents I considered as my parents, could not deny our love.

In that moment, it was clear I was marrying into a family that cared about getting to know me, even if they didn’t know the parts of me that only Dinushka knew. The parts I was still getting to know after my mother died that, with her help, had slowly begun to heal. The feelings I’d carried with me my entire life of not being good enough. There, before her family in that living room, I was good enough. I was not perfect, but good enough was enough for me.

There was a stillness in the room as my future father-in-law continued. All eyes were on him. Some people began to cry. Some nodded in agreement. Some laughed at his jokes.

Aloud, for all to hear, Dinushka’s father spoke a truth that touched me so deeply. “Love has no barriers,” he said, “and it can break all traditions.” I tried to look into the faces of the people who would look at us walk down the aisle. What were they thinking? What were they feeling as he spoke? My eyes stopped on Dinushka. Listening to her father’s words, I knew that all he wanted was for her to be happy. If she were happy, then he would be, even if it meant she was marrying me.

Dinushka and I knew who we were getting in marrying one another. We knew that, as two women of color, our marriage would come with its fair share of challenges. We knew that along the way, we’d need to have each other’s backs. And we knew that we would need to call on the people in that room, and invite them into our marriage over the years to help us with growing pains.