When two people from different families come together, they need to adjust to each other. But for most couples, understanding cultural differences is a little tricky. When you are in a relationship, you sometimes need to give up on your own culture and adjust to another culture’s beliefs and habits. This is easier said than done.
Here are our tips when you are faced with cultural differences in a relationship!
Image via Young Germany
Living with differences is one thing, but respecting each other’s differences is something else.
Believe it or not, couples who are in a cross cultural relationship have passive aggressive feelings towards their partner’s different lifestyle. How can we help?
For the sake of your relationship and possibly future, try to understand where your partner is coming from. By reading into your partner’s culture, it will make it easier for you to understand them more!
When a relationship gets serious, plan on visiting your partner’s country.
2. NO Offence!
In all relationships, it’s ‘normal’ to criticise one another.
Be careful, some discussions or jokes can get very personal if your partner criticises your culture. By responding angrily, your partner will probably become more defensive, and the discussion will lead nowhere. What can we do?
Do not be offended and angry. Sometimes, you can ‘laugh it off’ and just accept your partner’s criticism. And if you can’t, then a heartfelt conversation will go far. This way you get to know each other better.
3. Patience is a Virtue
Every person knows their limitations in life.
Unfortunately for some people, it’s hard to adjust to new and different changes that enter the relationship. What advice can we give you?
Learn to be patient and allow your partner the opportunity to adjust to your cultural heritage. It’s all about acceptance at this stage, and if your partner can’t get used to these habits, then it’s time to re-think your situation.
Don’t try to rush things because that causes your partner to feel pressured. It may cause your partner to walk on egg shells and that’s not what you want. If you think your partner is worth it, then isn’t it worth the risk?
4. Don’t make Assumptions
People defend their own culture because it’s a part of themselves. What about your partner’s culture?
Face it, your partner has a different culture to you. When someone forms an assumption, it tends to stick in our mind. But, it’s these ‘assumptions’ about your partner’s culture that makes their culture look more scary or even dangerous.
Cultural stereotypes are definitely misunderstood, but will always be a constant theme in life. Try and focus on your partner’s beliefs and opinions and never allow anyone to make up your mind for you. Find out why your partner’s culture has these beliefs or even traditions before comparing your culture to theirs.
You’ve heard the expression, ‘walk in my shoes’. Try living through their eyes.
If you choose to marry your partner, then their culture will be a big part of your life.
Your partner can show you their world; the delicious food, beautiful city and friendly people. The more you get to know about your partner’s culture, the easier it will be for you to get comfortable.
Be curious and ask plenty of questions. Then, your partner will also show interest in your culture. Remember, you don’t have to like everything in your partner’s culture. Just understand!