As strong as your bond may be, outsiders have a way of influencing your cross-cultural marriage in all the wrong ways. While you may be able to look past each other’s differences, your loved ones may not.
Sometimes, the troubles in a cross-cultural marriage aren’t a result of external forces, but due to your disappointments. Disappointments happen when you have expectations.
In any marriage, you will have certain expectations from your partner, but when you come from completely different cultural backgrounds, you can’t expect you and your partner to always see eye to eye. The last thing you want in a cross-cultural marriage is for your differences to get in the way.
A few months into your marriage, you’ll realize the influence culture has on our mindsets. Your communication style, personal boundaries, gender roles, parenting, elderly care, style of worship and even biblical interpretations will vary.
Your willingness to learn from each other and embrace the good in both cultures will determine your marriage’s success.
Here are some tips you can use to protect your cross-cultural marriage:
1. Focus on Understanding, Instead of Judging
If your partner is someone who does hold onto their culture, then there will be differences between the two of you. Culture is a shared identity; it gives people a sense of belonging and shapes their personalities, so most people do hold on to it.
In a relationship, no matter how different your partner is from you, you’ll still have to make an effort to understand where they’re coming from. Avoid judging them and try and make an honest effort to understand them. Speak with others from their community and read about their culture; the more you know about it, the better it will be for your marriage.
2. Communicate Openly With Your Spouse, Don’t Make Assumptions
You need to convey your expectations to your spouse; don’t assume they know what you’re thinking.
For example, in cross-cultural relationships between people from the East and West, there are differences in family values. Western cultures tend to be more individualistic, but in Eastern cultures, family members are expected to look after each other.
Whenever such differences arise, it’s better to communicate openly with your spouse as opposed to staying silent and letting the resentment build up. This is also where cross-cultural marriage counseling comes in.
3. Embrace Your Identity As a Cross-Cultural Couple
Sure, you can still partake in activities without your spouse, but for the most part, you and your spouse will function as a unit, which means you’ll have to embrace each other’s identities. You’ll learn to be as protective of your spouse’s culture as you are of yours.
When you add kids to the equation, you’ll have to commit to teaching them about both cultures.
All married couples can benefit from counseling, but it’s even more useful for those who come from diverse backgrounds. Azizeh offers cross-cultural couple’s therapy in Palo Alto through which she arms them essential communication tools.
Call(650) 206-9973 today for a 20-minutes free consultation and to book an appointment.