新视野大学英语2读写教程课文原文unit 3 Marriage Across the Nations
Please listen to a short passage carefully and prepare to answer some questions.
Listen to the tape again. Then answer the following questions with your own experiences.
1) For what two reasons did Gail and Mark live together?
2) How did Gail's father and mother react to the news about the wedding plans?
3) In what ways are Gail's and her father's views different?
Marriage Across the Nations
Gail and I imagined a quiet wedding. During our two years together we had experienced the usual ups and downs of a couple learning to know, understand, and respect each other. But through it all we had honestly confronted the weaknesses and strengths of each other's characters.
Our racial and cultural differences enhanced our relationship and taught us a great deal about tolerance, compromise, and being open with each other. Gail sometimes wondered why I and other blacks were so involved with the racial issue, and I was surprised that she seemed to forget the subtler forms of racial hatred in American society.
Gail and I had no illusions about what the future held for us as a married, mixed couple in America. The continual source of our strength was our mutual trust and respect.
We wanted to avoid the mistake made by many couples of marrying for the wrong reasons, and only finding out ten, twenty, or thirty years later that they were incompatible, that they hardly took the time to know each other, that they overlooked serious personality conflicts in the expectation that marriage was an automatic way to make everything work out right. That point was emphasized by the fact that Gail's parents, after thirty-five years of marriage, were going through a bitter and painful divorce, which had destroyed Gail and for a time had a negative effect on our budding relationship.
When Gail spread the news of our wedding plans to her family she met with some resistance. Her mother, Deborah, all along had been supportive of our relationship, and even joked about when we were going to get married so she could have grandchildren. Instead of congratulations upon hearing our news, Deborah counseled Gail to be really sure she was doing the right thing.
"So it was all right for me to date him, but it's wrong for me to marry him. Is his color the problem, Mom?" Gail subsequently told me she had asked her mother.
"To start with I must admit that at first I harbored reservations about a mixed marriage, prejudices you might even call them. But when I met Mark I found him a charming and intelligent young guy. Any mother would be proud to have him for a son-in-law. So, color has nothing to do with it. Yes, my friends talk. Some even express shock at what you're doing. But they live in a different world. So you see, Mark's color is not the problem. My biggest worry is that you may be marrying Mark for the same wrong reasons that I married your father. When we met I saw him as my beloved, intelligent, charming, and caring. It was all so new, all so exciting, and we both thought, on the surface at least, that ours was an ideal marriage with every indication that it would last forever. I realized only later that I didn't know my beloved, your father, very well when we married."
"But Mark and I have been together more than two years," Gail railed. "We've been through so much together. We've seen each other at our worst many times. I'm sure that time will only confirm what we feel deeply about each other."
"You may be right. But I still think that waiting won't hurt. You're only twenty-five."
Gail's father, David, whom I had not yet met personally, approached our decision with a father-knows-best attitude. He basically asked the same questions as Gail's mother: "Why the haste? Who is this Mark? What's his citizenship status?" And when he learned of my problems with the Citizenship department, he immediately suspected that I was marrying his daughter in order to remain in the United States.
"But Dad, that's harsh," Gail said.
"Then why the rush? Buy time, buy time," he remarked repeatedly.
"Mark has had problems with citizenship before and has always taken care of them himself," Gail defended." In fact, he made it very clear when we were discussing marriage that if I had any doubts about anything, I should not hesitate to cancel our plans."
Her father proceeded to quote statistics showing that mixed couples had higher divorce rates than couples of the same race and gave examples of mixed couples he had counseled who were having marital difficulties.
"Have you thought about the hardships your children would go through?" he asked.
"Dad, are you a racist?"
"No, of course not. But you have to be realistic."
"Maybe our children will have some problems, but whose children don't? But one thing they'll always have: our love and devotion."
"That's idealistic. People can be very cruel toward children from mixed marriages."
"Dad, we'll worry about that when the time comes. If we had to resolve all doubt before we acted, very little would ever get done."
"Remember, it's never too late to change your mind."