Different cultures each have their own inherent richness and learning. Getting married may not only mean a new life for you, but you may also be entering into a different family tradition with new cultural expectations that need to be met and realised.
You may think you have a good understanding of your fiancée’s family and culture as you have been together for a while. However, you’ve probably spent most of your time as a couple and not with your respective families, which is a different matter altogether. Visiting their home may not have included any meaningful discussions about their expectations and traditions.
Every family has their own way of doing things and conducting themselves, both socially and often spiritually. Learning about your partner’s family may require a new mind-set that focuses on valuing and respecting the differences between you all.
For instance, a wedding can bring cultural differences into sharp focus when it comes to agreeing on the marriage service, and it is essential that this is managed with great sensitivity.
Don’t forget, your partner’s family also have to get used to you being culturally different to them as well. This cultural acceptance and adjustment is not just ‘one way traffic’, and takes working on from both sides.
- Keep an open mind when you are learning about your partner’s family and their culture.
- Just because you do things differently doesn’t mean your way, or their way, is the only way of doing things. Be sure to look for, and build on, common ground and core values.
- In order to get along with each other it’s best, early on in your relationship, to discuss any issues. Everyone then has an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. Study the culture you are entering into and talk through some of the sensitivities and expectations that become apparent. Your willingness to understand and appreciate cultural differences will demonstrate your love and respect for your partner.
- Don’t make assumptions or let cultural stereotypes influence you before you’ve had time to appreciate the richness that diversity brings.
Guest post by Carole Spiers, Love and Relationship Expert
Image from Photography by Bea