Every marriage requires commitment, dedication and work. An international/intercultural marriage requires even more attention because of the many obstacles that a couple faces. These obstacles can come from family, friends, personal values, expectations, and bureaucratic procedures.
Obstacles of International Marriage
Some of the problems these relationships face include:
- Language Barrier
- Differences in Values
- Religious Conflicts
- Sex Role Expectations
- Economic Adjustments
- Fear of Abandonment by Family, Friends, Spouse
- Political Issues
- Legal Complications
Overcoming These Obstacles
To overcome these barriers, intercultural couples need to:
- Learn about one another's cultures.
- Communicate well in at least one language.
- Be open and honest with their families.
- Accept that cultural roots go deep and that people don't change easily or quickly.
- Focus on the positives.
- Look at what they have in common with one another.
- Talk with one another about which traditions they want to carry on as a couple and with their children.
- Discuss their expectations in the areas of mealtimes, holidays, finances, sex, chores and roles.
- Look at why it is difficult to let go of a tradition or expectation.
Keys to Success
It isn't easy to deal with the legacy that we've all grown up with in our ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
Couples have said that the first five years of this type of marriage are the hardest.
The key to a successful intercultural marriage is to develop understanding and patience.