Intro to Intercultural Marriage


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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2 comentarii

  1. Andreea Tudorica
    Postat martie 16, 2008 la 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Diana,

    It’s been a long time since we haven’t talked and I’m happy to see that you decided to share with me too your blog address.
    I took the time to quickly read through some of your stories and they are really interesting, but I would like to reserve myself the right to make a comment to this one story that you wrote.
    I sincerely respect your point of view, but I have to say I disagree with it.
    I also live, as you know, in a country that is not mine, speaking a language that is not mine and having a culture and a history I do not identify myself with. And I admit I wholeheartedly believe I have nothing in common with them, but there is a long way from there till saying that inter-cultural relationships don’t last.
    I did not have successful relations of this kind, me neither, but I consider that having a relation of this kind is one of the most enriching and interesting things you can encounter in life, and children born from this kind of relations are the richest type of children from all points of view.
    It’s the beauty of globalization, it involves more respect, capacity of understanding and patience that anything else.
    And the reason some or many of this type of relations don’t last does not entirely depend on the background, culture, history or language, but on different personalities and on openness.
    And love, from my personal point of view, is only the incredible ability of getting to know and understand a certain person, getting accustomed to it and appreciating it. Love is built-in feeling, it is discovered in time.
    Please let me know if you consider I am wrong and why.

    One last point. I completely agree with you that what we learn in intercultural communication courses, etc has nothing to do with real life. But that’s just the basis, a narrow, general approach that is probably meant to raise interest, life is much more complicated and ruff than all that.


  2. Postat mai 9, 2008 la 1:20 am | Permalink

    from my personal experience having a boyfriend of a different culture and religion it’s fun, expecially when you meet in a third country where you both experience. but for the fact that it didn’t last I can only blame our immaturity and the distance.

    @Andreea, love indeed it’s building by time, because it’s building in parallel universes in the same time. 😉

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