Dealing with Cultural Differences in a Relationship | Wedded Wonderland
Mar 11, Fouad Alaa thinks about some of the cultural differences that affect his relationship. Dec 10, However, when we talk about dealing with cultural differences in a "It is the things in common that make relationships enjoyable, but it is the When these differences are cultural, there is more difficulty in 'understanding'. Mar 4, to each other. But for most couples, understanding cultural differences is a little. In all relationships, it's 'normal' to criticise one another.
Just be ready to practice and understand that you will never say it the way that the native speakers say it, no matter what language they speak. Your partner will have different values. The example I will use for this one is the Persian perception of time. If a Persian dinner party starts at 7: Because of this, I consider my boyfriend to be chronically late.
He considers me to be chronically early. Of course, it is important to meet halfway with these things. But always remember that something that means a lot to your culture might not mean much to another one. You might start to feel like the foreigner.
Simple Tips for Dealing With Cultural Differences in a Relationship
Part of being in a relationship is going all in. I have been to parties where people approach me speaking Farsi, and I have to respond awkwardly and in English.
I still eat rice with a fork, an American habit I will never break, and I am often the only one at the table doing that. One time my boyfriend gave me half of his sandwich. I ate it and thought it was chicken, only to discover that it was sheep brain. Okay, I will admit I did not respond well to that one.
But the point is to respond. Remember that, and you will have no problem finding the unique joys that come with intercultural dating. When I started dating a person who does not share all of my cultural values, I discovered that my customs are not the only ones that I want to have in my life. Suddenly, the relationship is teaching you about a whole lot more than little things about the person you are with; you are becoming globally educated.
Some lifestyle disagreements include: Eating and drinking - Different cultures have different views on alcohol consumption and diets vary greatly around the world. Clothing - Sometimes people change what they wear to fit in with another culture. Chore distribution - Different views on gender roles can spark conflict when it comes to distributing domestic chores. Money - Money can be a big stumbling block when it comes to relationship harmony. How people deal with money, how they value money and how they spend it can be quite dependant on the culture they come from.
Counselling can help iron out these domestic problems by looking at the driving forces behind them. Often, the problems run deeper than they first appear and couples can benefit from getting them out in the open to tackle head on. With so many obstacles to overcome in cross cultural relationships, having clear communication lines in everyday life is essential.
Religious differences If you fall in love with someone who doesn't share your religious beliefs, how do you get around the fact that you might have different fundamental ideas about life?
Are your beliefs compatible? Would you sacrifice some of your rituals, or soften some of your beliefs, to make your partner happy? Some of the main religious issues in cross cultural relationships include: Incompatible beliefs - Two people might love each other for other reasons, but if a couple can't agree on fundamental values, conflicts can arise. Unsupportive families - In some cultures the preservation of religion is of the utmost importance.
With rapid globalisation and the merging of cultures across the world, it's becoming increasingly difficult to hold onto some religious traditions. While some cultures still practise arranged marriages, not all young people are happy with this and many fall in love with people outside of their religion.
This can cause huge family rifts and people are often forced to choose between their families and their partners.
Bringing up children - When two people with two different religions have a child, they have to come to some kind of agreement about how they bring up this child.
Do they teach them about both religions and let the child decide when they're old enough? Or, do they choose one religion? Guilt - The ideologies we grow up with never really leave us.
Even if you reach a point in life where you lose or change your faith, those core principals you grew up with can leave their mark.
Guilt is a big part of letting some or all of your beliefs and practices go, and this guilt can quickly lead to one partner resenting the other for leading them away from their birth culture. Religious differences have been known to rip good, loving relationships apart. Learning how to deal with them is paramount. Dealing with religious differences in cross cultural relationships Religious differences don't have to signal the end of a relationship - having conflicting views about the world can be a healthy and enlightening experience.
Couples counselling is designed to help you step back from your relationship and see it as a separate entity, away from both you and your partner. Your counsellor will encourage you to investigate the role religion plays in your relationship.
What parts does it impact? The way you feel about each other? Next, your counsellor will help you identify the point at which religion started to have a negative effect on your relationship. By looking back at how your relationship formed and the role religion played right at the beginning, you can work on reclaiming those initial feelings.
Your religion need not smother your personal identity. It is possible to accept and embrace your partner's beliefs while staying true to your own. Variety is the spice of life, and as long as you respect one another's decisions, the odd disagreement shouldn't stand in the way of happiness.
Language barriers Language is an important part of communication, but it is not actually necessary. Thousands of unspoken messages pass between people whenever they meet. A glance here, a foot tap there, a flick of the hair, a tensing of the shoulders. Every movement tells a story and romance offers the richest vocabulary.
Dealing with Cultural Differences in a Relationship
While many cross cultural couples start out not understanding each other at all, normally at least one partner speaks the others' mother tongue - albeit basically. While a shared first language is not necessary for a happy romance, not having one can bring up challenges in the long run, including the following: Humour - A lot of humour is verbal; could you cope with your partner not understanding your jokes, or you not understanding theirs?
Misunderstandings - Language is the key to instructing, directing and expressing. If you can't do these things properly then you open yourself up to misinterpretation, which in turn can lead to conflict. Frustration - When you have feelings for someone, you probably want to get as close as possible to them.
Not speaking the same language as them means you will always have a barrier between you, something which can become very frustrating over time.
Alienation - Meeting a partner's friends and family is a nerve-wracking experience for anybody. When you don't speak the same language, this experience can be 10 times as daunting.
When everyone around you is speaking in a different language, it can sometimes feel like they are talking about you. Although they probably aren't, the paranoia and the frustration of not being able to engage in the way you want to can lead to feelings of alienation. Dealing with language issues in cross cultural relationships Counselling can help to improve communication pathways between couples, even when those couples don't share a first language. By clearing up misunderstandings and voicing secret feelings about alienation and frustration, couples can step out from the tangle of problems miscommunication presents and start with a clean slate.
Make the effort - Even if your partner is a foreigner in your country, by taking the time to learn their language you can show that you want to be a part of their world as much as they've become a part of yours.
Strengthen other communication channels - Find ways to reinforce messages to avoid misunderstandings - especially things like times and places to meet. Consider social gatherings - Ask friends and family to speak in your partner's language if possible, or to speak slowly without using informal language they might not recognise.
Be patient - It takes time and practise to learn a new language. Eventually, with patience and understanding, you will find a unique way to communicate with your partner.
Loss of identity If you've moved to a different country, changed religion, or sacrificed your own culture to embrace your partner's, you may begin to feel a little departed from the person you used to be. When you integrate into a new culture, you often have to leave some of your old habits behind. Soon, it becomes apparent just how important those small habits were to you, and how much they impacted your own sense of identity. Do I fit in here?
Do I have a responsibility to hold on to my cultural heritage? A counsellor will help you to think of ways you can reclaim parts of your old identity in a way that doesn't stop you integrating well into your partner's culture.