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Intercultural Marriage is a union of two people involving numerous cultures and backgrounds. It is also known as an international marriage or transnational marriage. It is a marriage between two people from different cultures or countries.
There are intercultural marriages present within the country also like in India, The culture of India is an amalgamation of these diverse sub-cultures & its boundaries are largely drawn based on linguistic groups; this decision led to the preservation and continuation of local ethnolinguistic cultures. Thus, states differ from one another in language, culture, cuisine, clothing, literary style, architecture, music.
In an age of increasing globalization, where a growing number of people have ties to networks of people and places across the globe, rather than to a current geographic location, people are increasingly marrying across national boundaries. Transnational marriage is a by-product of the movement and migration of people.
Percentage of men and women living as a couple who were in inter-ethnic relationships.
The world is an interesting and a diverse place to live in. When two various cultures combine together, there may be significant challenges they have to face. Each race ensures its own culture. A culture may differ from one to another due socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. Culture is a system of shared beliefs and values and is constantly evolving and changing around the world. The presence of intercultural marriages and intimacy is clear and expanding in societies throughout the Culture may consist of shared language, religion, or ethnicity.
Communication is defined as a process of sharing and creating meaning between individuals(Gudykunst & Nishida, 2001). It is a tool used by all humans regardless of the culture from which they come and is crucial to the survival of humans(Casmir, 1978).
Intercultural communication is a discipline that studies communication across different cultures and social groups, or how culture affects communication. It is used to describe the wide range of communication processes and problems that naturally appear within an organization or social context made up of individuals from different religious, social, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.
Communication style and interpersonal relationships are fundamental aspects of culture and can vary dramatically from one culture to another. There may be language and communication barriers. It is worthy to remember that everyone on this earth has culture, not just those clusters that are considered ‘civilized’. The majority of culture is unseen, below the surface.
For example, when a Russian man marries an Italian it is not only the differences in native language (Russian vs. Italian)and religion (Eastern Orthodox vs. Roman Catholic) but also a host of cultural differences associated with such factors as expression of emotion, conflict expression and management, the role of the f family of origin in raising children( Sullivan & Cottone,2007)The beliefs and values that lie beneath the surface can be the most difficult to change when it is necessary.(Progressive Scholar,2010)interracial marriages are not always intercultural marriages, as in some countries, for example, in the United States, people of different races can share the same cultural background.
It is easy to comprehend why it is difficult to let go of a tradition or expectation. It isn’t easy to deal with the legacy that we’ve all grown up within our ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
Cross-cultural marriages have the capacity to expand your mind and alter how you view the world. Making a cross-cultural marriage work takes time, but the investment can lead to a rich relationship. Blending cultures creates a powerful and distinct bond for you and your spouse. A lot of times people only discuss the struggles of being in an intercultural relationship, but I have found that the benefits far out-weigh the bad. Your ability to withstand the challenges of an interracial relationship has the potential to make it that much more rewarding. After all, these challenges are often counterbalanced by advantages and other points of attraction. Some of those advantages are discussed below
Appreciation for Culture
You learn to appreciate another culture. This awareness changes how you view that culture, the people within it and your culture. You may better understand the nuances in a cross-cultural exchange. You can develop a love for how another culture approaches family and marriage, as well as how culture influences people. As you and your spouse appreciate your different cultures, you will grow in respect for each other.
Trying new foods is a distinct advantage in cross-cultural marriages. You expose yourself to different spices, vegetables, and other ingredients when you and your wife combined cultures. You may find ways to put a cultural twist in common dishes. For example, if you are American and marry an Asian woman, you may learn to use dark sesame oil, a common ingredient in stir-fry, to add a nutty, rich flavor.
Combining cultures often means integrating value systems, providing a global advantage in your marriage. You can synthesize valuable tenets of other cultures. This new framework sets the stage for your relationship and creates a one-of-a-kind set of values that define it. For instance, many Latino cultures emphasize the role of family and many Americans value independence. If you are married to a Latino, combine his strong family values with a sense of independence.
Ability to Compromise
An important advantage to cross-cultural marriage is the ability to compromise. To combine cultures, you have to be able to negotiate what is beneficial for your marriage and what isn’t. You learn which parts of your culture strengthen a relationship and which ones don’t. Creating this foundation takes mental and emotional strength but also love for your spouse. When you undertake this process successfully, you both develop a sense of what it takes to compromise.
In some families where each parent comes from a different country, their children will naturally grow up bilingual. It is worth the work and time to encourage your kids to learn the native language of their father or mother as well as the traditions of that culture. It can be hard work, but the result is so worth, especially for the future whether it would be social or professional.
One advantage of being married to someone from another country is that you get to travel from time to time. When you can travel, make sure to visit your spouse’s family and learn about their culture firsthand. You will appreciate it even more.
A chance to learn a different language (s)
Most people would like to learn another language, but they have to signup for a class and find a way to practice it. When you marry a spouse from a different culture, you automatically have a language teacher. Just from overhearing them, converse with their family, you can pick up on many words and pronunciation.
Your friends and family are introduced to diversity.
In an intercultural relationship, your mind is continually opened to different ways of life. One of the unforeseen side effects of this is that it positively affects your friends, family, and community. We introduce our friends to our respective cultures by sharing our travel experiences, inviting them to festivals, and making them try new dishes. Another important thing is that we break a lot of stereotypes.
Though it seems to be a very romantic love story, in the beginning, the truth is, it can be very challenging and frustrating in real life. And it is simply not about being racist, marriage has a deeper meaning to it, which dwells in understanding it, is possible to have extremely strong and natural negative feelings surrounding an interracial relationship or a marriage even though you’re not considered as racist. Legal or not illegal the question is should interracial marriages be encouraged? The union between two different cultures altogether will give space to different experiences and opportunities in life, but most difficulties in the marriage life where it is concerned. Adoptions to a different culture altogether maybe not turn out to be an easy task.
The main intention of getting married is to emotionally, spiritually and physically unite men and women together, as husband and wife, it is a commitment made in the presence of God, and is valid until death. Intercultural marriages are often influenced by external factors that can create a confrontation and disagreement in relationships. Different cultures endure vastly diverse moral, ethical and value foundations that influence their perceptions of individual, family and societal lifestyle. When these fundamentals are operating alongside the foundation of different cultural roots, as in intercultural marriages, problems and disagreement oftentimes occur. It takes the effort to combine two cultures successfully, and a willing attitude to learn from both partners.
The first argument against intercultural marriages is the cultural shock (adaptation to a new culture). When considering an intercultural marriage either one of the partners have to get introduced to a new culture. Ideally, both have to get used to each other’s cultures and laws to survive the marriage and this will create a lot of problems in the process.
For an example – A non-Muslim marrying a Muslim will have to obey to certain laws in Islam; Islam forbids marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. Therefore, any partner will have to convert and obey Islamic rules (sound vision, 2010). In the case of Muslim men marrying Jewish and Christian women, the situation is different.
While Islam does allow this, Muslim men marrying Jews and Christians need to remember that living in the West, if they end up divorcing, the children will almost automatically be given to the mother. The converting process from one religion to another and adapting to new laws will create massive problems that will even end the marriage. Additional wrinkle in U.S. Muslim family law practices stems from the structure of authority in Islamic jurisprudence since there has never been an official church certifying individuals to speak on behalf of the religion, the field is open for any dedicated Muslim to seek to act as imam and lead a community(Quarishi & Syed- Miller, 2001) therefore, non-Muslims have a very rare chance of winning and surviving in the marriage due to different laws in different cultural laws.
Moving on, Intercultural marriages have contrasting differences between traditions and cultures. Although a few studies have looked into this aspect, cultural differences also stimulate marital conflicts, particularly in intercultural marriages. In fact, the quantitative study of Takano (2002), pointed out that 19% of the marital discords in interethnic couples involved in his study are attributed to cultural differences.). Couples that enter cross-cultural marriage bring into their relationship vastly diverse assumptions and expectations about marriage and family life.
Many of these assumptions flow out of the values, unspoken rules and belief systems that permeate their primary cultures. These unspoken values have become so much a part of their lives that they are almost hidden from view.
Foran example the way of celebrating Christmas is different in Germany rather than America. In fact, many of these cultural differences do not surface until after the couple is married. However, new experiences and new culture altogether may interest an adventurous spouse as it’s a unique once in a lifetime experience and the difficulties greatly depend on how religious and culturally bond the families are.
Not all think out of the box, new strange land, parents, and language may cause distress at the beginning of the marriage life. One spouse will live in the country of origin and the other will be a stranger in a strange land the pleasantness may befall apart after sometime when trying to fit into a different family, culture.
Marriage and customs differ from one country and another culture.
For example, Indian marriage customs are varying from marriage customs of Chinese traditions. In Japan the Japanese bride to be painted pure white from head to toe, visibly declaring her maiden status to the gods. There are two choices of headgearexist. One which is, the watab? shi, is a white hood, the other is called the tsunokakushi, serves to hide the bride’s ‘horns of jealousy.’ It also symbolizes the bride’s intention to become a gentle and obedient wife.
During the period of the traditional Indian wedding days, there would be a tilak ceremony (where the groom is anointed on his forehead), a ceremony for adorning the bride’s hand then cover the feet with henna (called Mehendi) accompanied by Ladies’ Sangeet(music and dance) and many other pre-wedding ceremonies. Hence, marriage traditions, customs, and beliefs may clash due to above points mentioned so far.
Religion runs deeper since they practice their faith and it is a part of their cultural identity that they want to hang on to. The accurate, customs and special days associated with the religion remain significant to them. The regarding the worship of the children will matter some religions deny the validity of all others and insist on conversions or demand that the children should be brought up in that religion. A couple might face difficulty in deciding on this above point and the spouse form the other religion may feel inferior and down.
For example, Orthodox Judaism teaches that the family must repudiate (sit shivah for) a child who marries a non-Jew: Islam demands obedience to God’s law only as revealed by Muhammad, and also requires that a Muslim marry a fellow Muslim. The Catholic churches until recent years insisted that a non-Catholic partner sign a prenuptial agreement to raise any Catholic children. Particular Christian sects preach that all outsiders are damned to eternal fire and prohibit any marriage to people of different faith. At this specific point, the problem may occur with the faith plays a major role in decision making this is if the partner is intensely religious.
If the couples speak different languages, subtle miscommunication may create misunderstanding and marital conflicts. As they approach each other’s separate territory, there is a new language, new customs and a new standard of “normal” to be learned.
Disapproval from parents for a cross-cultural marriage is customary. Parents should play a major role in their children’s marriage set up. As a matter of fact, the parents fear to risk the life of their unmarried children who might face discrimination from the partner’s family members. There may also be communication problems if they speak different languages. And it is typical of parents to want their children to find a spouse from their own religion and culture, just to make life easier, and this a better place to live. There are situations where they decide to migrate to the spouse’s country, which is living far away from their own family. The parents of an interracial couple usually feel that they have been lowered by their children. A cross-cultural communication in a marriage should respect differences. In marriage you just don’t marry another you interconnect with another family as a whole.Intercultural marriages can also include people from different races getting together, a situation where there are much more complicated issues when it comes to marriage. (the cultural difference is greater).
Another problem is that many of the couples have to encounter is societal disapproval. We have to cope up with our society in spite of our own opinion. The society, on the other hand, considers intercultural marriages as straying from traditional values. A Society is an organization of people who share a common cultural and social background. (Oak, 2007) The consequences of marriage affect every aspect of society. It occupies the most intimate aspects of personal privacy and personal love and reaches the pillars of the sacred institutions of a culture. Marriage is the pillar of society, but it is also the pillar of government, business, and the military. (Wood, 2010)There are mere open-minded people who would give all the support they can, there will always be others who would make the couple feel unwelcome. The most abusive treatment would come from other children. During courtship, many of the racial differences might have overlooked, but after marriage, the couple might find it difficult to make adjustment as each group practices a different way of life. Another discouraging occurs when the couples try to participate in social organizations. Although society’s disapproval will not affect the couple as seriously as parental disapproval, it is still an issue that cannot be ignored. Sure as it is multicultural marriage requires a lot of sacrifices.
Intercultural marriages are faced with many barriers, due to family issues and adaptation to the culture. A marriage is not easy to maintain and it is more challenging as it’s an intercultural marriage. As in this modern era, people should be more accepting and diverse. Parents should be more attentive about the unmarried children’s desires, think more out of the box and support them throughout regardless of the cultural barriers. They should focus more on the person and the character and not judge them by the race or religion that person belongs to.
Being in an intercultural relationship is not easy; it’s the experience of a lifetime. But no matter how difficult it is to get married to someone who does not belong to your country, international marriages are still quite prevalent nowadays. The reason behind the prevalence of this institution is love and understanding which are essential to make any marriage successful. A marriage within two different cultures has no secrets. You need the same or greater effort to do the things that you would do in any relationship. If you have love, patience and you want to understand each other, nothing is impossible, and these cultural differences can make for a fun and interesting relationship.
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