Intercultural Marriages: When Tradition Interferes With Happiness
Nowadays intercultural marriages are very common. Thanks to the Internet, student exchanges, business travels, expatriations, etc… more and more people have the opportunity to meet and share their set of values and beliefs. The Internet has become a worldwide marriage agency. Unfortunately, finding a place into the “significant other’s” culture and traditions can be tricky and not always easy to deal with.
Nevertheless; goals, values, vision, attitude, love, and strong communication systems, are the main keys to finding your “happily ever after” ending. Keeping in mind that it is not what you say, but how you say it, you are off to a great start.
How could you deal with the particular situation you are facing now? Is there a way out of it without destroying your couple or your already fragile relationship?
The answer is: of course there is!
The fact that you are reading this article proves that you are looking for a solution, otherwise, you would be looking into a lawyer’s or dating website, wouldn’t you?
Looking for and focusing on solutions, rather than keeping your troubles in mind is an excellent starting point. The first step towards success is the will and desire to work together as a team.
Now, let’s get into business:
- What were the common points that first draw you two together?
- What are those things you both enjoyed doing?
- From 1-10 what is your level of commitment to your relationship? (1 being very low and 10 very high)
- What are you both ready to do/try (or give up), in order to preserve what you have?
- Are you in love with your partner or with the idea of living together and having a couple?
- Do you have any idea of what triggers conflict between you two?
- In those aspects of your life where tension is very high, what is the middle ground where you can both be at ease?
Let these questions settle first and take a few minutes to give them a deeper thought.
Once you have found the answer to these questions, start by planning your new “couple’s rescue mission”. It does not matter how fantastic it may sound now, as long as you are both happy and willing to commit to it. Perhaps it is also a good time to set new goals for you as a couple, ex: travel to an exotic place you are both happy to visit, renovate something in the house, meet new people, practice a sport together, find “self-time” for you as a couple or individually, etc… Keep in mind that goals are supposed to be set into the future, and the past is only allowed as a reference at this moment, – only if it will bring positive outputs –
You want to reshape your situation, not erasing it!
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At the very beginning, you jumped into your current relation aware of certain facts that made you different, despite that, you decided to go ahead and be successful. Why? Because you were determined to make it work, had a vision and the desire to conquer love and create something that seemed special at that time. You were excited about all that made that special person be who he/she was.
Now, use the same determination to erase/put aside those “cultural discomforts” and reshape them into points of commitment where you are both satisfied without removing your roots.
Be aware that all this “remodeling” will need a lot of patience and understanding, good communication and a gigantic mountain of love. It is not a battle for right or wrong, your other half is your partner, not your opponent.
You are both working on reshaping a better and brighter future. Take your time to put each detail into practice and just enjoy the process, I can guarantee it will bear fruits at the speed you are hoping. Use the best of each world to make a unique place for you.
Every couple is different from another, so avoid comparing yourselves, you are unique. One small piece of advice: for the time being hang out with other couples that will help your relationship feel stronger, people who will encourage you and will not take sides for either of you.
Go back to your dating times as a couple and start enjoying the simple things life has to give. (Candlelight dinner, walks, cycling, picnic, open-air activities, movies, etc) Be creative and resourceful.
Be open in communicating your feelings and how situations make you feel. Situations, not your partner.
Make a written list of those things that you believe to be particularly difficult for you as a couple, talk about the points -without getting into details-, decide which is the easiest one to solve and focus on that one only, once solved, move to the next point and so on. There is no limit of time between each point. Are these points or some of them limited to you as a unit or the consequence of exterior influence? (parents, siblings, place related, friends, work… )
Work first on those issues that are exclusively related to you as a couple before you move to those involving third parties.
Keep in mind the basic rule: your limits + his/her limits – your gray area = commitment
Enjoy this challenge, it is a new adventure full of wonderful surprises, as you will rediscover your partner and yourself all while working and settling into this new stage in life.