Cross cultural relationships - Counselling Directory
Two couples tell Insight how their love has conquered cross-cultural and How does such a relationship withstand the pulls and pushes of. When people from two different cultures become a couple they face difficulties typical for cross cultural relationships. For most couples overcoming cultural. All relationships are to some extent cross-cultural, in that both parties come Religious differences have been known to rip good, loving relationships apart.
But I think people do adhere to their cultural values and to their religious values and are afraid of things being different. Two couples spoke with Insight for the first episode ofabout the challenges they have faced, and ultimate success they have achieved, in their cross-cultural love.
Lucinda Garrido and Shumon Ahsan She was an aid worker; he, her local fixer and colleague. They knew they had similar world views, values and morals. And then there was a spark. Neither was quite sure what it was, but when Lucinda returned home they kept in touch. We could talk very easily, we could laugh with each other and have a great time. She decided to take the plunge and headed back to Bangladesh in I ran to see her.
Lucinda Garrido and Shumon Ahsan at one of their wedding ceremonies. But there were many barriers. It was marriage, or nothing at all.
And so, for ten days, they holed themselves up in a private resort and hashed out how their love was going to work. Everything was on the table: Where would they live?
Would they have children?
Some of the main religious issues in cross cultural relationships include: Incompatible beliefs - Two people might love each other for other reasons, but if a couple can't agree on fundamental values, conflicts can arise. Unsupportive families - In some cultures the preservation of religion is of the utmost importance.
With rapid globalisation and the merging of cultures across the world, it's becoming increasingly difficult to hold onto some religious traditions. While some cultures still practise arranged marriages, not all young people are happy with this and many fall in love with people outside of their religion.
This can cause huge family rifts and people are often forced to choose between their families and their partners. Bringing up children - When two people with two different religions have a child, they have to come to some kind of agreement about how they bring up this child. Do they teach them about both religions and let the child decide when they're old enough? Or, do they choose one religion? Guilt - The ideologies we grow up with never really leave us.
Even if you reach a point in life where you lose or change your faith, those core principals you grew up with can leave their mark. Guilt is a big part of letting some or all of your beliefs and practices go, and this guilt can quickly lead to one partner resenting the other for leading them away from their birth culture. Religious differences have been known to rip good, loving relationships apart. Learning how to deal with them is paramount. Dealing with religious differences in cross cultural relationships Religious differences don't have to signal the end of a relationship - having conflicting views about the world can be a healthy and enlightening experience.
Couples counselling is designed to help you step back from your relationship and see it as a separate entity, away from both you and your partner.
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Your counsellor will encourage you to investigate the role religion plays in your relationship. What parts does it impact? The way you feel about each other? Next, your counsellor will help you identify the point at which religion started to have a negative effect on your relationship.
By looking back at how your relationship formed and the role religion played right at the beginning, you can work on reclaiming those initial feelings. Your religion need not smother your personal identity. It is possible to accept and embrace your partner's beliefs while staying true to your own. Variety is the spice of life, and as long as you respect one another's decisions, the odd disagreement shouldn't stand in the way of happiness.
Language barriers Language is an important part of communication, but it is not actually necessary. Thousands of unspoken messages pass between people whenever they meet. A glance here, a foot tap there, a flick of the hair, a tensing of the shoulders.
Cross cultural relationships - dealing with differences.
Every movement tells a story and romance offers the richest vocabulary. While many cross cultural couples start out not understanding each other at all, normally at least one partner speaks the others' mother tongue - albeit basically. While a shared first language is not necessary for a happy romance, not having one can bring up challenges in the long run, including the following: Humour - A lot of humour is verbal; could you cope with your partner not understanding your jokes, or you not understanding theirs?
Misunderstandings - Language is the key to instructing, directing and expressing. If you can't do these things properly then you open yourself up to misinterpretation, which in turn can lead to conflict.
Frustration - When you have feelings for someone, you probably want to get as close as possible to them. Not speaking the same language as them means you will always have a barrier between you, something which can become very frustrating over time.
Alienation - Meeting a partner's friends and family is a nerve-wracking experience for anybody. When you don't speak the same language, this experience can be 10 times as daunting. When everyone around you is speaking in a different language, it can sometimes feel like they are talking about you. Although they probably aren't, the paranoia and the frustration of not being able to engage in the way you want to can lead to feelings of alienation.
Dealing with language issues in cross cultural relationships Counselling can help to improve communication pathways between couples, even when those couples don't share a first language.
By clearing up misunderstandings and voicing secret feelings about alienation and frustration, couples can step out from the tangle of problems miscommunication presents and start with a clean slate.
Make the effort - Even if your partner is a foreigner in your country, by taking the time to learn their language you can show that you want to be a part of their world as much as they've become a part of yours. Strengthen other communication channels - Find ways to reinforce messages to avoid misunderstandings - especially things like times and places to meet. Consider social gatherings - Ask friends and family to speak in your partner's language if possible, or to speak slowly without using informal language they might not recognise.
Be patient - It takes time and practise to learn a new language. Eventually, with patience and understanding, you will find a unique way to communicate with your partner. Loss of identity If you've moved to a different country, changed religion, or sacrificed your own culture to embrace your partner's, you may begin to feel a little departed from the person you used to be. When you integrate into a new culture, you often have to leave some of your old habits behind. Soon, it becomes apparent just how important those small habits were to you, and how much they impacted your own sense of identity.Intercultural Couples on Miscommunication
Do I fit in here? Do I have a responsibility to hold on to my cultural heritage? A counsellor will help you to think of ways you can reclaim parts of your old identity in a way that doesn't stop you integrating well into your partner's culture.
It is possible to hold onto your identity while embracing a new culture and, with the help of a counsellor, you can start to explore what makes you you.
After all, you are an individual and while the culture you grew up in might have helped shape your identity, it does not own you - you are in control. Advice for cross cultural relationships There is no single formula for a happy, long-term cross cultural relationship. Relationships are always different and what works for one couple might not for another.
How does love survive clashing cultures and religions?
Whatever challenges you face on your journey, whatever complications arise from the differences between you, it is important to always remember that there was a reason you started your relationship in the first place. It might become tainted, marred, or forgotten - but that reason will never really disappear. Here are some tips for avoiding challenges in cross cultural relationships: Understand, respect and compromise Don't expect your partner to settle seamlessly into your way of life.
Even if they're the foreigner and you're the native, you should see the relationship as a merging of cultures rather than that person adopting yours. Respect their differences, learn about them and look at where you might have to compromise to help them feel happy.
Relationships should always be about finding a comfortable balance. If one of you isn't making enough effort, then cracks will start to form.