Cross-cultural couple holding hands.

3 Problems Faced By Couples in Cross-Cultural Relationships

Love has no boundaries, and that’s becoming more apparent with the influx of inter-race and inter-ethnic marriages happening in the United States. While the reason for marriage is always love, the reality of marrying outside your culture settles in for many couples months after they move in together. So, how do you navigate something so new and foreign?

While love is an essential foundation for a happy relationship, it won’t last without equal levels of understanding and compromise. And despite going in with all the requisite mental preparations, here are some common troubles most cross-cultural couples have to face.

Communicating With Family 

When you marry your spouse, you’re also becoming part of their family. And while in-laws are intimidating enough within your own culture, it becomes twice as stressful with a language and cultural gap.

You might find yourself struggling to make a good first impression with your in-laws due to language or cultural barriers. There might be customs and expectations the elders have which you don’t quite match up to.

These instances can be incredibly disheartening, especially when you make the effort to be accepted. However, it’s important to remind yourself that your partner married you for the person you are, and everyone else’s opinion is secondary. Plus, customs and languages can always be learned!


Sometimes, the problems you deal with are not dependent on the person, but the location. To make your relationship work, you or your partner might have relocated to a new space far from the culture they have grown up in, leading to feelings of isolation.

It’s essential to be present for each other and avoid feeling isolated when adjusting to a new change. Keeping each other’s culture alive through cooking, watching shows, and learning each other’s language is a great and fun way to bond and help the transition feel easier.

Raising Children

Mother and child reading book.

For many cross-cultural couples, the troubles don’t start until they take significant life steps like having children. New territories introduce new conflicts that you may have never felt the need to discuss before. And with something as sensitive as raising a child, the disagreements can escalate.

Every culture has its own way of parenting and welcoming a child into the world. And when you’re a cross-cultural couple, chances are your worlds will collide every now and then. It’s times like these when you have to sit down and communicate your concerns and have a productive dialogue to reach a proper conclusion. Anger will only cause a larger divide.

If you need mediation to not escalate problems, couple’s counseling is a great place to start! Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling is home to the best marriage counselor in Palo Alto. The counseling center gives you space to navigate your concerns in a safe and controlled environment leading to positive outcomes. Contact us today for more information or appointment details.

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