BY SWATIARORA, DKODING MEDIA
If you are wondering an intercultural relationship will work out or not, the answer is YES. However, they do require a little more work and effort from both partners to make the relationship work.
Intercultural relationships are magical as it brings two people who are brought up in an entirely different set of cultural belief.
Most people assume that all will be great as long as two people are happy together. The truth may hurt a little more than that.
Every relationship has its own unique obstacles to overcome. Sometimes they are big, sometimes just minor things, but one thing is for sure—when you’re in an intercultural relationship, every difference becomes amplified. Little things that never mattered in previous relationships, like your religion or diet, suddenly become glaringly important issues.
What makes being in intercultural relationships difficult?
Even though most people don’t care who they end up with, if they are happy, there is still the issue of cultures clashing in the most inopportune moments.
When couples don’t prepare for these eventualities, they end up being blindsided by interference from their families, friends, and even their communities.
Although people all around can communicate in the language of love, differences in culture contribute to things getting lost in translation. Unless your life exists on the set of a Disney movie, love and an open mind are not enough to overcome the issues that arise in intercultural relationships.
Why it’s awesome to be in an intercultural relationship
Good thing there are bigger reasons for you to fight for your right to be in intercultural relationships. It’s not just about you and your partner anymore. It’s about everybody.
Challenges of intercultural relationships
Establishing relationships with persons from cultures different from ourselves can be challenging. One of the challenges is learning new customs and traditions.
This can be a fun and exciting experience to have because you are learning something new about another member of the world.
A second challenge of relating with persons different from us is identifying fears, prejudices, and stereotypes that not only guide our social interactions and contribute to misinformation about members of various cultural groups but help to perpetuate various social inequities.
Tips for building a strong intercultural relationship
Identify your intentions
Consider why you want to reach out to with this person. Be upfront about your motivations, so that everyone feels safe. Your reasons might be as simple as encouraging community in your neighborhood or believing that it is important for us to take care of each other.
You may admire a culture that is not your own, but you can never “own” it. Be careful how you participate, especially in matters of spirituality, ritual, and tradition. Let someone from that culture invite you or tell you how you can best honor what is sacred to him or her.
Share a meal
Food is a huge part of the culture, and sharing a meal together almost universally represents and deepens the relationship. Wait until you have established a base of trust and be prepared to encounter new foods, etiquette customs, and cultural or religious dietary restrictions.
Realize and share the similarities
More often than ever, you will come to a realization that all humans share similarities more than differences. Spend time speaking to each other and you will indefinitely find similarities that you both share. I am sure that is how you both got attracted to each other in the beginning.
These similarities can be sharing an interest in spicy food or desserts, massage, sports, and having the same taste in music or cinematography.
Focus on your similarities and share what you love with each other — educate one another and have intellectual exchanges.
Avoid making assumptions
Remember when you are in an intercultural relationship, what your partner says may not be what you think it is. The reason is rather simple. In their culture, it can mean absolutely nothing but a joke while in yours it can be a great insult. Basically, both parties should leave some room for a cultural faux pas.
If you ever do feel insulted while your partner is obviously smiling, do not get mad. Ask for clarifications and then explain that what they said was inappropriate. A partner who respects you would know how to apologize once you inform them of their inappropriateness.
Although intercultural relationships come with their fair share of obstacles, the pros far outweigh the cons.
With some love and determination, you can have a successful intercultural relationship and break barriers and change worldviews.