From the words of Fawn Weaver, “Living happily ever after is not by chance — it’s a choice.”
Like all marriages out there, couples need to communicate and make compromises. Mixed marriages are no exception. In fact, they need to put in twice the effort to make their union last.
Did you know that couples in an intercultural marriage face a more profound set of problems compared to couples who marry within their own race?
Aside from the usual common marriage problems that ordinary couples face, intercultural couples also have to deal with culture clashes, language constraints, and racial stereotypes.
Despite these inevitable adversities, interracial marriages can still thrive; provided, both partners choose to put in the needed effort to make things work and to make the marriage happy.
Keep your relationship healthy and on track. Continue reading this article to know how to overcome cultural differences in marriage.
Working Through Culture Clash
Conflict exists in all relationships. Whether the people in it come from different cultural backgrounds or not, there are bound to be disagreements that will surface.
Differences in communication styles, life views, habits, and expectations are some of the common subjects of disputes.
Aside from the previously mentioned, intercultural couples also have to deal with culture clashes. It’s a broad term used to describe conflict brought about by differences in cultural beliefs and expectations. It includes differences in religion, knowledge, customs, and political beliefs, among others.
When couples fail to reconcile these differences, it may cause the relationship’s demise.
If you’re experiencing culture clash in your marriage, here are strategies to minimize, avoid, or work through it:
1. Keep an open mind. Believe that your differences can be reconciled. Instead of attacking and defending, find a way to not react in anger. Empathize and hear each other’s point of view.
2. Be sensitive to each other’s needs. In other words, be considerate. Learn to see things in your partner’s shoes. At the same time, show understanding and awareness.
3. Have a positive attitude towards each other’s culture. Let go of cultural biases, prejudices, and ethnocentric beliefs. Instead, show genuine interest and enthusiasm in each other’s culture. You might end up liking hers better than your own.
4. Be willing to learn each other’s language or at least a common language. Go out of your way to make communication in the relationship better. Ask your partner to enroll in a language class with you. You can learn her language while she learns yours, or you both learn an entirely new language.
5. Communicate and compromise. Speak up when something is bothering you. If one of her customs or traditions doesn’t sit well with you, let her know. However, remember to keep calm and be respectful when doing so. Calm and respectful communication yields better and faster compromises.
6. Practice emotional maturity and empathy. Healthy relationships have no space for tantrums and vindictive behaviors. Be open and respectful of each other’s beliefs, customs, and traditions.
7. Build each other up rather than tearing each other down. Marriage needs love and support to survive and thrive. Hence, shower each other with positive words and praise as much as you can.
Navigating through cultural clashes can be challenging. However, overcoming it is certainly rewarding as it will ultimately strengthen the bond between you and your partner.
Embrace Similarities and Respect Differences
“It’s not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” — Audre Lorde
It’s normal to want your foreign spouse to be more like you. It’s fine to try to influence her and give her the option to embrace the positive aspects of your culture.
What’s not fine is forcing her to accept it by becoming angry, nagging, and controlling — literally pressuring her to change her ways. This can be interpreted as abuse. You ultimately want to avoid that.
Rather than stressing over intercultural marriage problems, it’s best to be open to accepting each other’s differences.
They say diversity can be good for a relationship. It makes it more fascinating and exciting. Being with a person that’s different from us helps us expand our worldviews. It helps us grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
To put it another way, being different is a good thing. It gives you a chance to look at things in a new way and encourages you to try new experiences you wouldn’t have tried on your own.
It’s safe to say that being accepting and respectful towards each other’s similarities and differences leads to a more peaceful, loving, understanding, and positive marriage.
Seeing the Positive Side of Things
“Love transcends all differences.” — Zuba, Madagascar 2
Sure, there are problems you’ll have to face in interracial marriages. But at the end of the day, every struggle is worth it.
You married a foreign woman for a reason — it’s because you love her.
Despite cultural differences, language differences, and differing life views, you share a mutual love. That love is powerful enough to help you push through the struggles and overcome them.
For those who are yet to be married to a foreign woman, below are some intercultural marriage advantages:
- You can choose to live between two countries. You have the option to start a new life in a new place. You’ll also have more places to go on vacation, meaning lots of exciting places to explore.
- More holidays to celebrate. Each country and culture has its own set of holidays. When you combine your wife’s and yours, it doubles the events and celebrations.
- Get introduced to amazing food. New foreign flavors and interesting dishes to taste.
- Learning a new language. Your spouse can become your language buddy. You don’t have to enroll in a language class, your wife can personally teach you her language.
- Having mixed babies. Science says they grow up to be smarter, taller, and more good-looking than kids growing up with only one culture.
Fighting for Your Love
Marrying someone from a different culture will have its challenges. However, it’s also these challenges that make being with them more beautiful and enriching.
It allows you an opportunity to grow as a better person and as a better spouse.
If you’re considering an intercultural marriage, you should know that a lot of work and effort are needed to make it successful. If that’s not a problem for you, then join our site and find a foreign woman worth making your bride.