Since I began my blogging journey, I’ve had people ask me what tips I would suggest for marrying someone outside of their race and/or culture. To that question, I would usually respond by telling them that they should have the same concerns with someone outside of their culture/race as the ones they would have with someone who looked similar to them. But the more I think about it, there are some things that should be considered. Here’s a comprehensive list for you:
When you choose to enter a cross-cultural marriage, your spouse’s religious background may differ vastly from yours. Explore this with your partner. Are they willing to convert? Are you? How do you want to raise your children? Religion is often a deal breaker in relationships. Do yourself a favor and discuss it before you walk down the aisle.
Biracial. Multiracial. African-American. Mixed. Asian. Indian. Before you bring kids into the mix, discuss with your partner how you want your children to identify. As a school counselor, I’ve seen children who clearly were not white, yet identified as white. It was not my place to tell them otherwise, but I made observations about how their parents wanted them to identify.
If you are marrying outside of your culture, there may be holidays that you unaware of. You don’t want to offend your new in-laws by being culturally ignorant. Educate yourself on important holidays and events in your partner’s culture.
In some cultures, extended family has just as many rights as immediate family members. One of the biggest conflicts in marriage (besides money) is family. Talk to your partner about how you want to handle family conflicts as well as situations in general.
Cross-cultural family structure
Will the husband work and the wife stay at home? Does the wife want to work until she has children? Will both parents work and a grandparent keep the child? How will you raise a family? Are you on the same page with how you want this to work? Asking yourselves these questions will help eliminate false expectations in your marriage.
Do you both believe in spankings? Are you in a blended family? What will the child call their step parent? Is it alright for the grandparents to discipline? Ask yourselves these questions and get on the same page before you bring kids into the picture.
Before we got married, my husband and I discussed all these things and much more. We took vacations together with each other’s families and spent time getting to know our extended families. I feel blessed that his family has welcomed me with open arms and my family has embraced him as well. This made our cross-cultural union a joyous one before AND after the wedding. What other topics do you think are important to discuss before marriage?
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