Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Advice for Intercultural Couples

Every marriage takes work, compromise and commitment. But in intercultural relationships you have to work harder. To adjust and to be accepted by family, culture is a challenge. But you should remember love precedes all.

Here's some advice for people who are taking the plunge, so to say:

-- It's never boring!!! That's the good news. There's always something to learn about. It's such a flavorful way to live life.

-- There will be lots of misunderstandings. Get over it. Accept it. Communicate!

--  Immerse yourself in your spouse's culture. Learn everything. Read books. Watch movies. Listen to them as they converse. Visit their homeland at least a handful of times. Observe the customs. Soak in. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Understand the significance of the customs and rituals followed. Mostly there is a science behind it. 

To make an effort to understand their culture is to respect it. In Indian Weddings daughter-in-laws are faced some of the following questions- 
  • "Why do we touch elders feet?"
  • "What do you call an elder then, if not by their given name?"
  • "Why is there such a secrecy about boyfriend/girlfriend?"
  • "Why can't a girl talk back to the elders?"

--  Their culture's way of dating is probably completely different than yours. Plus, a couple will have their own pace of dating based on that mixture of the individuals.

-- Get used to people staring. It gets worse when you have kids!

-- Your first focus is to strengthen your relationship. Everyone else will come around.

-- If your spouse's family doesn't approve of you - be patient. You're not going anywhere. Don't let it stress you out. They probably just don't approve of the idea of you. Your spouse's family is not your problem - let your spouse handle them.

--  Don't let your cultural differences define you. Accept and admire each others differences.

There are some fights that are mostly about differences in culture, but then there are some that are about goals, jobs, priorities, families, money, sex, personalities - know the difference.

-- Have a support system. Everybody in your life should be rooting for your relationship. And find new friends who are in intercultural relationships who can really get it.

--  Fact: you're a foreigner. You will always be seen as a foreigner. Accept it and use it to your advantage. Any effort you make to understand their culture will be appreciated. So if you want to get some positive points from you new mom-in-law then dress the way she likes. Learn to appreciate the delicacies of the different culture. Ask for recipes! Food is the best way to bond with the female relatives.
But you can play the "foreigner" card in situations that are unpleasant and you want to be left out of.

The one thing to beware of is that an intercultural relationship will not work if you care too much what other people think. You have to have the courage to be in an intercultural relationship. Overlook the stares and comments. Even from your own family members. If you are committed then you are in it for life!

Only worry about you and your partner. Anybody else you cannot control. Don't waste one single fight over external influences such as your In-Laws, family, friends or strangers on the street. It's not worth it. Don't give them the satisfaction. Some people will try to break you up, create drama, and make you upset.

Only you will get satisfaction from the fact that whatever others do, can never affect your relationship.

No comments:

Post a Comment