Anybody who has lived in Australia for the past decade or so is privy to one very important fact – the face of the country is evolving and at a radical pace. Like so many great nations of the world, Australia too has attracted migrants from all over the globe but in the past few decades it has truly transcended into a melting pot of diverse colourful cultures.
But with the rise of multiculturalism emerge multicultural issues. And while it would take forever to address all the problems faced by a multicultural society, let’s focus quite simply on the smallest societal microcosm –the family, or more accurately, intercultural marriages.
In a world where talking about multicultural issues has become the need of the hour, intercultural marriages inadvertently provide a sort of shining example when it comes to the question of can people of different cultures truly live together? And the answer, as many successful intercultural marriages around the globe will attest, is a resounding yes. But this isn’t an easy conclusion. Just as every society goes through a painful period of transition when trying to evolve, so must two people coming together from different backgrounds.
The following is a list of common concerns and issues that people face regarding intercultural relationships and marriages:
- Language barrier- possibly one of the knottiest issues. As romantic as a couple sharing love in two different languages is, it could be equally dicey since miscommunication can seep its way through easily.
- Different values- while your partner may have different family values wherein s/he prefers to live with or close to the family, you could have a slight problem with that as you are raised differently and you believe a nuclear family is ideal.
- Religion- you both follow or practice different religions, whose values may clash again. For example Islam and Taoism; Muslims abstain from pork whereas pork in Chinese culture is considered an essential meat. Moreover, some faiths or religions are hostile towards each other, which will hinder acceptance and respect from the couple’s families.
- Children- if and when you deicide to have children, how would you raise them?
These are just some of the issues intercultural couples face when trying to break down barriers. And that is the most challenging and interesting bit of all. Because once those barriers are down and differences put aside, it is a beautiful thing to witness.
Not only do people from different cultures manage to create unique family values but they also pass on this essential learning to their kids. And if that wasn’t convincing enough, here are just few more reasons why intercultural relationships can be extremely rewarding.
To begin with, people are full of wonders, just like the Earth is, and it can be attributed to their diverse cultural backgrounds. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience and be a part of various, unique practices and traditions? After all, there is so much to explore.
Secondly, entering an intercultural relationship expands your mindset, as you open your doors to a different ideology than yours and learn to respect it. Once you respect another culture, it marks the beginning of you leaving behind narrow-mindedness, stereotypes, and racism towards other faiths and cultures; you become more tolerant. And that is truly the way forward. Additionally, if the couple is from different countries, they literally get the best of both worlds because they would also have ties with their partner’s country.
Lastly, since all human beings have a tendency to take into account the future, intercultural marriages prove to be beneficial to not only the couple but also their child. The child will already have taken birth in a tolerant society. Adding to the bag of benefits, the child would most likely become bilingual and acquire stronger understanding about different cultures, which is important because of globalization and interaction with international bodies for various purposes.
Therefore, there may exist a few challenges to make an intercultural relationship work, but every couple negotiates their differences regardless of their heritage. What matters is the love, and this love is not only in a romantic context, but it is the love for all people. If you know anybody who is in an intercultural relationship, take some time out and get to know their story. You will be surprised at the obstacles people manage to overcome when they are inspired and guided by nothing but love.