Intercultural relationships - dealing with cultural barriers
We from Best-Matchmaking get back to our favorite topic and the purpose of our work – to the intercultural relationship.
The topic of intercultural dating and marriage is inexhaustible and there are so many things to cover yet.
So, today, you will find out more about the intercultural relationship and last but not least – how to make it work.
Any relationship is hard work but this one needs a special approach and patience. So we recommend learning more about it before starting your search for a foreign life partner to decide whether you can cope with it or not!
What is intercultural marriage?
Intercultural marriage is a magic thing uniting two people from different cultures and countries. It is a wonderful opportunity for two people to learn from each other, learn each other’s language and customs and bring them to their common family.
It also is a great opportunity for your children to grow in a wonderful mix of two different cultures and even, sometimes, religions. Intercultural marriage is beneficial for your kids while they can speak at least two languages and be brought up in a wonderful mix of customs.
But if you think intercultural marriage is easy, please don’t think so because just like any other relationship, it requires some hard work and effort from both sides. And we want to share with you all the possible challenges you may face in it and how to make your marriage work.
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How to overcome cultural barriers in a relationship?
Intercultural marriage is wonderful and it makes two people who are brought up in absolutely different beliefs and customs love each other.
And most people assume by mistake that everything will be great as long as they love each other. But the truth can be different.
In life, we interact with lots of people from different cultures and countries almost all the time. But cultural clashes and shocks still happen, especially when we speak about two people from the West and East who meet. It happens because they are not only used to eating different food.
It is all about different ideologies, language barriers, and even social norms and upbringing and all these things cause more and more challenges all the time. The language barrier can be easily overcome. But people who can learn how to speak a common language may still have different thinking on various things.
And you can imagine how different it is when both people do not speak a common language. But it doesn’t mean that intercultural marriage won’t work for you. Lots of things can make it work and below, you will find out what they exactly are.
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Tips to make your cross-cultural relationships work
According to Audre Lorde, people are not divided but their differences. They are divided by their inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. Each relationship and marriage is hard work and intercultural bound is not an exception.
All people are absolutely different because they are individuals. Even animals have their own character and habits each. And people who belong to the superior rate are especially different from each other. Even people from one country or one city differ in their habits and customs.
And those who are from different countries will be totally different from each other. But this is not a reason for not accepting those people. It is the reason for enjoying the benefits. And here is our first tip to make your intercultural relationship work.
Tip #1. Celebrate the differences
What does it mean? It means that regardless of being so different, you should remain open-minded towards the differences between you and your wife from another culture. You should not think of differences but consider the benefits your marriage can give you.
These benefits can be different for every separate couple. But you can point out such benefits as enjoying different food, history, language, arts, etc. It can be anything that can make you both at least a bit happier.
When you have two different cultures in your family, you have doubly more reasons for being happy and enjoying life! So try to be open and once you accept the differences and open yourself to them, you will stop facing different challenges in your special marriage.
Moreover, it is great to laugh at different misunderstandings you may face. And you will face enough of them! Your partner sometimes may not understand you properly. So don’t get irritated but be patient.
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Tip #2. Respect the culture of each other
If you want your intercultural marriage work, you should respect the culture of your partner. To avoid different clashes in your intercultural family, you should be willing to learn the peculiarities of her culture. Be interested in getting to know more about her home country and traditions.
If your wife says that she used to do differently in some situations because they have such a tradition, avoid laughing at her words and telling her something like “what stupid customs you have in your country”. This will not help and will only irritate her.
Similar behavior will only start a conflict between you because you have no respect for neither her or her country nor culture. Learn how to be tolerant of each other even if it seems difficult to you. There surely will be things you have never met in your culture but try not to be afraid of them but try to understand and learn.
Tip #3. Avoid making assumptions
People do not always understand each other even after many years of marriage. And people in intercultural marriage can have doubly more misunderstandings due to the language barrier and other cultural things. But we beg you not to make any assumptions.
In such a marriage, what your partner says may not be what you think it is, remember it and never forget. For example, in her country, it may mean only a joke and nothing more. Before starting conflict or being offended with her words, just try to find out what she really meant and you might be really surprised when you hear the truth.
Don’t be insulted with some of her words because you may not understand its meaning to the fullest. Leave some room for such situations. Believe us, you will laugh at that situation together when you both find out what it really was. Always ask softly to clarify and explain to make her understand what was inappropriate to you.
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Tip #4. Do not pay attention to third-party perceptions
It may sound bizarre to you because we live in such a modern world and everyone already got used to anything, but intercultural couples still can be discussed in society and get funny looks of people. These should not be strangers.
Your friends and family are also third-parties. Of course, it is difficult not to pay attention to such behavior but you have created a couple not for them but for your own happiness and you should not pay attention to what other people say. Try to ignore those criticizers even if they are people close to you.
Even if you have met her family or friends for the first time and it didn’t go well, don’t be upset because there will be the next time. And there will be more and more time spent with your families together. Always stay positive! And remember that you should pay the most attention to your wife and children but not to other people’s opinions.
What is an intercultural communication example?
We all live in the era of globalization when everyone travels, interacts with other people, cultures for work of personal needs. People from different countries communicate and interact with one another. And this is a great intercultural communication example, even if you are an American who went to Thailand and asked a reception girl how to call the taxi.
Another good example of intercultural communication is online dating. People on international dating sites constantly communicate, exchange messages, and talk in video-chats. And this is also intercultural communication, especially when you communicate with Slavic mail order brides. And you can notice how different they are from women in your country.
There are thousands of foreign students in every country and they all communicate with local people and this is also an example of cross-cultural communication. Intercultural communication is everywhere, even if you work for an international company, you are involved in such communication, too.
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Conclusion: The advantages of intercultural communication are endless
There are really so many advantages of intercultural communication and international marriages.
People who seem to be so different can unite their lives, love each other, and exchange their experience with each other. It is wonderful, isn’t it?
We from Best-Matchmaking hope that we have convinced you that you should not be afraid of the difficulties of such marriages.
They can be easily overcome and make you the strongest couple and family on Earth!
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Written by Katrina El, a practicing psychologist, professional matchmaker and founder of the Slavic marriage agency Best-Matchmaking.com.
Learn more about the matchmaking service by Best-Matchmaking.com.