The cultural challenges faced by two people who are from different backgrounds can be so overwhelming thereby, making it a difficult for intercultural relationships to work. The simple question that has tormented several people in intercultural relationships is: How do you overcome these challenges?
Here is how to go about it.
When it comes to intercultural relationships, never assume that you know everything. It’s always advisable that you be ready and willing to learn from each other. Sometimes the assumptions can lead to misunderstandings between couples. Therefore, never allow cultural stereotypes to dictate your partner.
Despite the varied types of challenges ranging from different cultural backgrounds to facing resistance from the family members, always learn to be patient. Sometimes it may take longer than expected for things to work out, but eventually, it will work out for the good of the two of you.
Communication is essential and an important aspect of every relationship. To make things much simpler, couples should learn each other’s foreign language to be able to communicate without having much difficulties. Effective communication will help couples to interact and talk about their challenges and even look for viable and promising solutions. During communication, couples should ensure that they are open and honest.
Learn and explore
Intercultural relations opens up new opportunities for one to learn and gain an in-depth understanding of other cultures, their language, food delicacies, new skills among other things. Just by wanting to learn will signify that you are more interested in your spouse.
Respect, accept and appreciate the differences
Always understand that both of you are from different cultural backgrounds and the way that they do things will be obviously very different. A good advice is to appreciate each other regarding the differences. Do not be judgemental. Put in mind that no two people think alike or will have the same opinion. Learn to respect and accept your spouse.
Delve into common interests.
Identifying the common interests that you share as couples will strengthen your relationship. For instance, always have a goal, think ahead, or look for what you love doing most as couples and build on that. In addition, this may also include looking for common grounds by identifying similar values, interests, and preferences. You do not have to share everything with your spouse; however, sharing of certain things can help to strengthen your relationship.
Do not lose your identity
As much as your spouse’s culture may seem so important to want to learn, you should also put in focus not to discard your own cultural practices. Being married to a Muslim or an Indian does not necessarily mean that you have to lose your entire cultural identity. Always be proud of your culture.
Another issue involves creating awareness about intercultural relationships and its advantages. This will help to eliminate the negativity that comes with thinking that all cross-cultural relationships are doomed and can never work as often perceived. It’s important to thwart the common negative perception by instilling positivity among couples
In addition, creating awareness will help to fight stereotyping or prejudice that most people have when it comes to cross-cultural relationships.
Support and counseling
As couples, you should be in a position to support and encourage each other. Alternatively, look for friends who have faced similar situations, and how have they managed to beat the odds and have a successful intercultural relationship. This will surely act as a motivational factor.
However, if you do not have friends then engage the services of a counselor or a professional. Counseling can help couples to move out of the beliefs and the restrictions imposed by the different cultures and see each other with clarity. When couples take the time to listen to one another when with a counselor, then a level of formidable understanding can be reached.
Compromise and sacrifice
Remember it is not all about you, you should also learn to compromise. Just because your partner is from a foreign country and you are a native does not mean that they have to sacrifice everything for you. From having to travel to see you and learning your language, it serves well to reciprocate. Relationships are not one-sided if she/he can sacrifice then why should you not do the same? Do not be selfish!
While cultural differences may differ widely, the challenges as a result of the differences can always be solved.