Intercultural relationship can generally refer to a relationship between people from different races, say, an African and Asian or a Chinese and an American lady. Such relationships may exist on the wider view of mere interactions as job mates or can pick a more intimate dimension as of people who are looking forward to making marriage vows. The former may come with very few challenges but the latter is more complicated as may present itself at its initial stages. As various civilizations continue to appreciate each other via various networks, both social and political, intimate love has also come knocking. This article explores the challenges, strengths and some of the dos and don’ts of an intercultural relationship.
Researchers have shown that despite the increase in number of intercultural marriages, there has been equally an increase in divorce cases, a sign that this kind of relationship has more challenges than relationships that are blanketed by the same culture. Just what may make such relationships to wither? One thing that comes out clearly is that committing to a different culture demands a lot from both partners. It means deserting the incessant urge to live like your parents or your environment taught you. Culture has many aspects ranging from food, religion, family interaction, language to others more binding like unwritten beliefs and practices. From these various aspects, couples from different racial, ethnical, national or religious backgrounds are most likely to be faced with challenges like societal disapproval, language and cultural barriers
Well, Rebecca R. Kahlenberg, a freelance writer on family, relationships and lifestyle advices that for intercultural relationships to be successful, then both partners must be willing and ready to learn all about the other. You must be tolerant enough to appreciate their meals more than they are willing to appreciate yours. Do not be rigid. This brings trust and when both of you have are committed no one feels the pinch. You must also be ready to ‘feel left out’ when you are dealing with extended families.
Tiffany G Renalds, identifies communication as a major challenge to intercultural marriage. It is not going to obvious that your extended families are as ’civilized’ as you are. You will find yourself alone when your husband or wife is in deep conversation with his/her family members. At such times, you must be ready to be left out while you struggle to learn. Do not weigh it on yourself.
When the issues of bringing up children come your way, be pliant enough to accept bicultural children. Do not impose on them any of your childhood belief. You must understand that it is not about who is losing or gaining. It is all your family. However, it is important that you talk it out and agree on various moral perceptions.
It is therefore necessary for couples to contemplate on responses to various questions. Am I ready to shelve my belief for the sake of another? Am I able to adapt to a new environment where people eat snakes while we have always lived to fear them? What about our children, should they be Christians like I am or Buddhists like their father? Is my family comfortable, are they really going to let me go away with a white man? I am black for heaven’s sake!
Now, before you blinded by the niceties of intercultural relationships, sit down and think about it. It’s essential to weigh your options before jumping in.