Let’s face it, marriage is probably the biggest life changing moment you’ll ever have. You aren’t just deciding to hang out with a friend everyday. You are giving yourself to that person emotionally, physically and even spiritually. But, we’ve come to already know that. Being married to someone from the same town as you whether it be high school sweet hearts or, through mutual friends is a lot easier than sticking with someone who grew up on the opposite side of the planet as you. We know that Love is universal no matter the two people but, when two people with two different cultures come together, it can still be pretty frustrating. When you marry someone of a different culture, you aren’t just marrying that person, you are marrying their culture and way of life.
One of the most difficult things to deal with is having a spouse where your native tongue isn’t theirs. It’s not impossible, but it takes time to get used to. Miscommunications happen all the time. Their brain is literally translating words into something you can understand, making talking to you twice as hard. But, they love you and are willing to do it for the rest of their life. Be patient, ask as many follow up questions as you can, make sure you fully understand them before you choose your next words. If you don’t, it can lead into petty arguments over something minuscule.
Don’t be afraid to say, “Well, what do you mean?” If it takes a few minutes for a response you can’t fully grasp, don’t get impatient. They are trying their best. Start to pick up their language, learn those basic vocabulary words, and give their mind a break. Marriage is an effort between two people, so do your part.
Another part of your multi-cultured marriage is the culture itself. So what if scorpion is on the menu? So what if the Chinese opera puts you to sleep? Chances are your spouse might hate your favorite sport and gag at the sight of a hotdog, but they’ll still try it for you. Suck it up and expand your horizons. Try new foods, celebrate new holidays, explore new cities. The best way to impress your new in-laws is to take it like a champ and experience it. Your new in-laws blessed your marriage, it’s the least you can do. If you don’t like a specific thing after trying it, however, pull your spouse to the side and simply say it’s not for you. At least you can say you tried it.
We as humans tend to get selfish when it’s not what we are used to. We tend to turn it down before we even experience it. Just remember, you aren’t just about you anymore. You are part of a team. Two people who grew up differently, eat differently, speak differently, and decided to love each other. If love is as universal as they say, it can overcome even the craziest of culture differences.
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