The Challenges and the Joys of Bicultural Relationships
Friday, 05 Oct 2018

The Challenges and the Joys of Bicultural Relationships

By Private Therapy Clinic

Bicultural RelationshipsAn old Italian proverb advises men looking to get married and settle down to find both oxen and wives in their own home villages. The idea is that life is easier when spouses come from the same sort of cultural background. Today, in our multicultural world, it’s becoming increasingly common for couples to come from different cultures. So, how does the ancient wisdom hold up?

It is true that bicultural relationships face additional challenges. All couples have their tricky moments when they just don’t see eye to eye, and when you bring two possibly very different cultures into the mix, it can make things even more complicated. Everything we do, say, and think, is influenced by the culture we grew up in. That means that our attitudes to a whole range of things, such as alcohol consumption, gender roles, work norms—and really almost anything you can think of—are influenced by our cultural background. Add children into the mix, and it all gets even more complicated, as different cultures can have distinctly different views on child-rearing and the best way to care for babies. Couples who are having difficulties in their relationship can find that things are made worse by coming from different cultural backgrounds, and that the advice they are getting from their respective families is often contradictory.

On the other hand, bicultural relationships also offer opportunities that monocultural relationships never can. You have the chance to learn all about a new culture from the inside. You will become more flexible, more open-minded, and more willing to critically examine your own assumptions about life. If you have children, with minimal effort you will be able to give them the precious gift of being citizens of the world from birth. They will grow up being able to easily navigate two different codes of behaviour and, quite likely, two or even more languages. This will give them social and linguistic skills that will be useful in their personal and professional lives and will enhance their emotional intelligence.

So how can bicultural couples ensure that their relationship will thrive, despite what might be significant cultural difference? It helps to ensure that your fundamental values are the same or similar, to have open and frank conversations about what you expect from one another, and to be prepared to compromise a lot more than you might expect to if you had just married the girl or boy next door. When you have a disagreement (as we all do at times) it’s worth taking a time out to assess how much of your mutual crossness might be influenced by the fact that you were raised in different cultures.

WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?

For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.

  • General
  • Relationships

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check out other related articles

  • 22 Apr 2018

    Ever asked yourself “How can therapy help me?”

    Therapy is not just for people with serious mental illness—although it is essential for anyone in that situation—but for everyone who is going through a difficult period, or who is struggling to manage their relationship with the important people in their lives, or to juggle the many commitments.....

  • 19 Feb 2018

    Can I be happy on my own?

    Our society puts people under huge pressure to meet someone and settle down, to the extent that those of us who are single are often left wondering if there’s something wrong with us. Why don’t we want the same thing as everyone else?.....

  • 16 Mar 2018

    Could Anxious Attachment be Causing Your Relationship Problems?

    We use the term “attachment” to describe the warm feelings that one person develops for another individual who is important to them. The first attachment we form in life is typically for our mother, or primary caregiver, and the way in which this attachment forms has profound repercussions for t.....