Cross-Cultural Unions: How Can They Work?
Illume Magazine’s recent article “3 Tips for a Healthy Cross-Cultural Marriage“ has some interesting insights on marriage, divorce and culture.
Marriage is/should be/or was, depending on your principles, a sacred union between two individuals that make a commitment to stay with and support each other for the rest of their lives.
However, marriage is extremely difficult, which is why some will ultimately fail. Regular hardships combined with divergent cultural traditions and values makes unions all the more challenging.
Today many cross-cultural couples in America who were both born and/or raised in the United States believe that they have the same “American Culture”. Yet one must not forget that a big part of marriage is not only the person you live with, but their family as well.
Therefore, it’s often a good idea to explore both cultures of the people in the relationship to fully understand each other and to find out if the other culture is something that you can be a part of and embrace.
Marriage counselor Kamal El Shaarawy recommends pre-martial counseling, “Both of them need to be highly flexible or at least one must be flexible. They have to be adventurous as they would need a a lot of adjustment. The family of origin’s differences can affect any marriage.“
Illume Magazine‘s article mentions some great tips to consider before you embark upon a cross-cultural marriage:
1. Don’t downplay the fact that you are from different cultures (even if you both grew-up in the U.S.)
If you ignore cultural customs, even if they are only practiced by older family members it could put a strain on the marriage years down the road or when you have children.
2. Always become familiar with the other person’s cultural heritage:
Try to at least know some of that culture’s norms. This is important even if they are not that familiar with it or practice all of their culture’s traditions. It could also help you better understand their family.
*3. This could be the most important one especially before the big day: know and agree upon wedding ceremony customs and expectations.