It’s a new year and Erin is hoping her relationship can take a turn more positive. Her story is not different from most. For some time now she’s felt her relationship has been rocked by a wave of subtle yet stout bumps of emotional detachment. Not that it’s any big crisis but the simple things that no longer happen. She says they talk less and the few times it’s a fight about the minor stuff.
It’s a typical story for people in relationships. We all want a happy and satisfying relationship. It is part of us as a social class of species to draw strength and inspiration from a good relationship. The problem has never been falling in love because that has always been swift, a simple glance. How to stay in love, keep the spark in it, and develop it further has on the other hand been a nut.
The General Point of View
From a general point of view, not necessarily intercultural, we can all take sides with the truth that problems in relationships are hardly the fault of one partner. We would also agree with the fact that through a good genuine dialogue between partners, built on trust and openness there is the possibility of making the changes that can make ones relationship feel alive and supportive.
At the heart of a good dialogue is communication. It is the knot in strong families and a magic in relationships so when the fire seems almost out you can count on talking and listening to make the difference. At times though the concerns are bigger; talk about money, responsibilities, and children. Communication in this case helps to create a better environment for conflict resolution.
Away from communication and back to the simple things, very often the latter matters more. Do you pay attention to the little things that matter to your partner? When she asks how she looks in her newly acquired dress and you answer yes eyes glued to the morning paper and not her do you notice her reaction or how that makes her feel? Well, it helps to care for and support one another.
Intercultural Point of View
More specifically however, there’s a lot intercultural partners can do to avoid getting into Erin’s kind of relationship situation. These include the partners doing a bit more to learn one another’s cultures, cultural values, language, and other forms of expression that may have in the past led to misunderstandings. It also involves giving support and engaging a proper art of communication.
- A Good Humor
Speaking about the art of communication, humor is a good example. It has been used as one way to calm down storms in relationships and break through Erin’s kind of tense moments. For Cate and Kelly, US nationals, there’s no better solution to intercultural relationship indifferences than a good humor. It is a great way to cope with characteristic fears and challenges of such relations.
2. Cultural Values
The need to study one another’s cultural values and related elements cannot be overemphasized in the quest to breathe some life into a bumpy intercultural relationship this year. For Yeng’ and Ndone, US residents of Korean and African origins respectively, it is important to learn a thing or two about the same. According to them, this helps strengthen the bond between the partners.
“Yes, communication too is important. It’s a way of understanding one another, getting to know the challenges and solving them. It is one thing that I actually think has been a great pillar to us. We wouldn’t survive, especially Heather, it’s been tough for her considering my mobile lifestyle given the job that I do. And this is important, spoken and the non-verbal. It matters,” says Ndone.
4. Great Support
Yeng’ also says that if it weren’t for Ndone’s love, trust and great support she wouldn’t have any reasons to get into and stay in an intercultural relationship. “It’s not that I’m complaining. Before her mother accepted our marriage, she gave us a hard time. At one time I came back only to find the doors locked with a note slipped under that I must leave. Without great support I couldn’t and it’s therefore important for all of us actually. In my case my parents assured me of their support.”
5. Common Goals
One other essential factor in the quest to breathe some life into a bumpy intercultural relationship is setting common goals for one another. Cate and Kelly actually feel this is their magic. The duo says setting common goals and determining to work towards them is another way of overcoming intercultural challenges in the sense that it would the partners to have purposeful communication.
You would easily find the two having an evening walk around the Andrew Molera State Park in California. Kelly insists often he is forced to literally drag Cate out for the walk with the goal to develop a healthy lifestyle, which they intend to instill in their children. To this Cate refutes but she reiterates the idea to set common goals for the relationship. “It’s good for the interracial yes.”
Other tips that can help overcome interracial challenges according to these couples also include: understanding own challenges together as a family and learning from them, looking on to the brighter side of things, that is, the benefits of the relationship like double holidays for instance, cutting each other some slack, not sweating over small stuff, personal preparation, and tolerance.