Arhiva eticheta: Intercultural

Intro to Intercultural Marriage

Foto: sxc.hu

For my undergrad, I’ve taken several classes titled „Intro to Cross-Cultural Management” or „Intro to Cross-Cultural Communication” as a student of International Relations. However, if there were one class that I would certainly add to the academic curriculum and I would actually take up the full responsibility of teaching, that class would be „Intro to Cross-Cultural Marriage”.

You see…as much as you would know about international communication, about cross-cultural management or how beautifully you would speak any language on this globe, having an actual long-term cross-cultural relationship is something you’ll never be fully prepared for.

This is where I come in… No boastful vibe whatsoever, but if there is one person who can freely and rightfully talk about cross-cultural relationships, it’s me. Absolutely no „know-it-all” factor implied, just plain solid experience.

A love story starts as beautiful as any other, regardless of the language in which he tells you the magic „3” (I heart You) or the local/international scenery you have as a background for your romantic strolls in the park. It’s all the same. No wonder they say love is universal. Marriage however… hardly is. Things get more complicated as you two evolve into the story and become less of a „lovebird-hearts-and-balloons-park-strolling” couple into a „marriage-material-want-kids-someday” couple and this is when the unexpected kicks in.

For weddings, the bride and the groom each have to complete a separate list for the people they want to invite, usually know as „My folks”, „Your folks”. In a marriage between two co-nationals, this would basically mean that the two sides of the future family will meet for the first time, get acquainted to each other and later simply take up their newly formed roles of „in-laws”.

In a cross-cultural marriage, that „My folks/Your folks” list is a bit like a metaphor for your entire life. See, there will always be „My folks” and „Your folks”, only they will only be part of the same family-cell on paper. Leaving aside the fact that in most cases „My folks” don’t speak the language of „Your folks” and the other way round, leaving aside the different religion, culture, customs, everything, putting all that aside…that label of „Mine” and „Yours” never really blurs out as it should.

This is by no means a plead against mixed marriages. It absolutely is not. It is merely a reflection on what this two-word term „cross-cultural” really means when you’re not a businessman, nor a PR-executive, nor an interpreter, but merely a person who wants to have kids that are going to be called „half X, half Y” for their entire lives.

I know I have at least one deeply-in love friend that would contradict me in all my assumings and I am ready to give her the benefit of a doubt. I am also aware that most of my cross-cultural relationships have ended because I chose to put an end to them and not because of quarreling, cheating nor of the whole „love-fading” principle. It’s just that, at a certain point, I felt that I wasn’t fitting into my own relationship. That I had outgrown our couple and become more self-conscious of what was tearing us apart rather than of what was bringing us together.

I realized that it’s not just about cheering different football teams or taking different sides in politics. In the end, it all boils down to being in different teams for the rest of your life. Yes, love is all we need and love is a wonderful thing for two people to share. However, with the risk of sounding old-fashionedly lucid…love is not everything. Love is that bright-red shiny ribbon that ties people together into an „item” and that can keep them together forever. Nonetheless, it can only do that when they have enough to fill the space and the silence between them.

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