Living in a marriage with two different cultures

In a cross-cultural marriage, it's important to respect your spouse's native culture and deal with the differences in a loving manner.

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  • Love is blind. It doesn’t care about race, color or culture. We see more and more marriages of people from different countries. In a marriage with a person from the same country, we already have distinct differences once each was taught by different families, went to different schools, their idea of the world is different and in general, their way of life is different. By comparison, a marriage with people from different countries has even more differences.

  • Here are some good ideas to follow if you are an American and are either thinking about getting married or are already engaged to someone from a different country:

  • 1. Embrace the opportunity

  • Time goes by and many people, including couples from diverse cultures, have tendencies to only look at the negative aspects of marriages between people from different countries and cultures instead of appreciating these differences. If you can, and are willing to love, understand and respect each other’s differences, you’re on the right track.

  • 2. Learn more about the culture

  • Surprisingly, many multicultural couples haven’t or don't discuss the symbolism or significance of each other’s important cultural traditions. Understanding the significance of these traditions will help us not only to understand them, but it can also help us identify ourselves with some of them. Appreciate the fact that this will help you to have a more natural, familiar feeling toward the other's traditions, and it will help you accept and embrace the culture of the other. After some time, you will even feel the desire to incorporate them into your own family traditions.

  • 3. Overcome challenges

  • Whether it is different languages, customs, qualities, or problems that will come. Every type of relationship has one or more of these problems, and they need to be overcome every day. Even if you are in a relationship with someone that speaks English also and he or she was raised in a similar type of home or even a similar culture, you still will have your problems just the same as if they were from a completely different culture or speak a different language. So, give up won't be an excuse.

  • 4. Bilingual children

  • In some families where each parent comes from a different country, their children will naturally grow up bilingual. It is worth the work and time to encourage your kids to learn the native language of their father or mother as well the traditions of that culture. It can be hard work, but the result is so worth, especially for the future whether it be social or professional.

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  • 5. Help your "foreign" spouse feel at home

  • Visit family and fun places so that they will know more people and may feel at home. These places are either cultural or remind them of their home. For example, if you are an American away from America and you visit an "American" place, you will feel right at home, or if you are here in America and your spouse is Brazilian, visit a Brazilian place that will make your spouse feel at home. Help your spouse to develop friendships with people from his or her country or families that speak their language somehow. If you can make a trip to their home country, again, for example, Brazil, it is a very welcoming country and it is nearly impossible for you to not feel at home.

  • 6. Maintain contact with family

  • It is essential that your "foreign" spouse keeps in contact with his or her family, especially as they are probably a long way from each other. With time, feelings of longing for your family, homesickness, and even possible loneliness and depression will gnaw at him or her, and it is necessary that he or she can keep contact to his or her family. Today, the Internet and sites like Facebook and FamilyShare/Familia.com.br make this type of contact much easier, and your spouse happier.

  • 7. When possible, travel together

  • One advantage of being married to someone from another country is that you get to travel from time to time. When you can travel, make sure to visit your spouse's family and learn about their culture firsthand. You will appreciate it even more.

  • 8. Legality and staying in one country

  • Whether you live in your own country and your spouse is a foreigner or the country of your spouse, you and your spouse need to become legal in that country. You need to follow the legal living laws, and you need to follow the laws of the land. It will get in a point where your foreign spouse or you foreigner living in a country that is not your native will need to get a job so you can support your family, as it is important to keep the family united and you need to live without fear of separation or deportation.

  • Find the Consulate and the Department of Immigration in your state or province as fast as possible and do what you need to become legal or help your foreign spouse become legal. It can be costly or time consuming but it will avoid a lot of future problems. You should talk about this in great detail before you begin to have a more serious relationship. You also need to have patience with the government. After this is all resolved, you can have a normal life.

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  • If you live in the United States, in order for you to have your spouse or partner come and live in your country, look up the laws and the whole process on the USCIS page or hire an immigration attorney.

  • In the end, a marriage within two different cultures has no secrets. You need the same or greater effort to do the things that you would do in any relationship. If you have love, patience and you want to understand each other, nothing is impossible, and these cultural differences can make for a fun and interesting relationship. Watch closer and you will see that these differences can be what brought you closer to each other in the first place. To have this type of relationship, you both need to be willing to cooperate and using humor and love, discover something new about each other every day, learning to admire each and all of them, trying new things and new concepts, putting aside definitely all intolerance and discriminatory thoughts and actions. These will make it all a good and fulfilling interesting life and love story.

  • Translated and adapted by Taylor Richardson from the original article, “Vivendo um Casamento entre Diferentes Culturas” By Chris Ayres.

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C. A. Ayres is a mother, wife, author and photographer, with background in Journalism and Psychoanalysis.

Website: http://caayres.com/

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