So you thought love will conquer all and your marriage will be a piece of cake? You couldn’t be more wrong. Marriage is always tough; it’s a combination of a lot of compromises—and some sacrifice too.
Cross-cultural marriages are a lot harder than conventional marriages. Couples often don’t realize the influence cultural background has on their individual personalities and expectations; they often go into their marriage unprepared for what’s to come.
Couples that acknowledge their differences beforehand have a better chance of having a successful marriage.
Here are some relationship problems cross-cultural couples struggle with:
Marriage and Religion
From how you celebrate certain holidays, to how you worship, to dietary expectations, culture influences everything.
For example, consider a marriage between a German expat who is atheist and a Brahmin, Hindu who strictly follows a vegetarian diet. If the German spouse enjoys his meat, then he’ll probably have issues with the fact that he isn’t allowed to cook it in his house. Something as simple as the type of meals they consume can cause lots of issues in a marriage.
People with strong religious views must acknowledge their differences and reach a compromise before they decide to commit to each other for life.
Raising Kids in Mixed Marriages
By far the greatest challenge cross-cultural couples face in a marriage is deciding how to raise their child. These problems are further fueled by the involvement of extended family members who insist on having a say on how your kids should be raised.
Cross-cultural couples are often faced with long discussions about what is appropriate and what isn’t for their child. In such situations, it’s best to put their differences aside and focus on what’s best for their child.
Forget cultural labels and think about what will make your child a happy, compassionate and well-rounded individual. How are you going to make them a good person?
Social Attitudes and Partner’s Personality
Social attitudes are formed by personal experience, and they have a way of seeping into your marriage.
For example, people from Eastern cultures are more likely to save money for the future than those who come from Western backgrounds; Americans believe in “living in the now” instead of saving up for the future. These kinds of conflicts are very common amongst cross-cultural couples.
Apart from social attitudes, your partner’s personality and how they interact with others can also cause issues in a marriage.
These are just a few of the problems couples in cross-cultural relationships face. If you’re married to someone from a different cultural background to you, consider cross-cultural marriage counseling to help get through any issues you may be facing.
Azizeh is an experienced couple’s counselor based in Palo Alto. She offers cross-cultural couple’s therapy through which she teaches couples essential communication tools that they can use to have a happier and healthier relationship.
Call(650) 206-9973 today for a free 20-minute consultation and to book an appointment.