Marriage is a unique relationship at every level. It is a relationship that takes two very different people with their own unique perspectives and joins them together for a lifetime of blissful togetherness. It is a relationship that can be challenging – even more so when the marriage is intercultural in nature.
The world is changing its definition of marriage, that’s for sure. Intercultural marriages are more popular now than in the past thanks to greater levels of cultural awareness and tolerance. But like any other marriage, an intercultural marriage has some unique challenges of its own. Overcoming those challenges is the key to a special, fulfilling, and incredibly rich marriage relationship.
Below are three strategies applicable to any intercultural couples planning to get married in the future. Employing these strategies will increase your chances of long-term success and happiness:
1. Be a Student of Culture
Interfaith Family, a well-known advocacy group providing help and support to intercultural families, explains that one of the most important things intercultural couples can do is to become students of culture – specifically the cultures of their partners. In other words, learn everything you can about your partner’s culture so that you understand, at least in part, his or her perspective. The reality is that different cultures view the world through different sets of eyes.
By becoming a student of your partner’s culture, you can better understand what it is that makes the love of your life tick. So after the lovely proposal dinner has ended and the custom engagement ring has been presented, start studying. Study as long as it takes to fully understand your partner’s culture.
2. Commit to Your Own Family First
Notre Dame’s Josh Noem. M.Div. reminded readers in a For Your Marriage blog post that intercultural marriages often cause disruptions in the couples’ two extended families. For example, he referenced a Latina woman marrying outside her culture and coming to realize that her own children would probably not learn Spanish (like she did) because there would be no need to speak in the home. She wondered what her parents would think.
Parents may have difficulty grasping the idea that some of their long-held family traditions will not be passed on by children who choose intercultural marriages. Yet couples need to commit to putting their own families first. They must do what is best for themselves and their children even if extended family members don’t get it.
3. Embrace Your Child’s Choices
Growing up in a multicultural family offers children a rich collection of diverse cultural traditions that their non-multicultural peers rarely have access to. So avoid the temptation of trying to steer your children in one cultural direction or another. Most kids born to multicultural parents adopt certain aspects of both cultures, depending on what suits them. That’s great.
Embrace the choices your children make regardless of any perception that they are leaning more toward one culture than the other. Their choices will be part of what makes them who they are. You want the freedom to be who you are as part of a multicultural couple; give your children the same kind of freedom.
It is clear that we are seeing more multicultural marriages today than ever before. That’s a good thing. At Engage Diamond Studio, we are thrilled to be part of the unions of so many couples throughout Toronto and many other areas of Canada. We would love to be part of yours as well. Please stop by our Toronto studio to see our complete selection of engagement rings and other fine jewellery.
- Interfaith Family – http://www.interfaithfamily.com/relationships/marriage_and_relationships/The_I_Dos_and_Donts_of_Intercultural_Marriage.shtml
- For Your Marriage – http://www.foryourmarriage.org/intercultural-marriage-making-it-work/