The Effect of Cultural Difference on Intercultural Marriage
As the world integrates, more and more people are leaving their mother lands to visit, study and work overseas. Young people now have more opportunities to meet prospective partners from other cultures than they had in the past. “The number of intercultural couples is increasing worldwide.” (Klein, par.3) Many intercultural couples claim that their relationships do not differentiate from monoculture relationships at first. Passionate love bonds them. When their relationships come to a stable stage after a while, however, cultural difference immerges. The couples can certainly benefit from cultural difference yet they also have to face the challenges resulted from it. This paper will examine such effect that cultural difference takes on intercultural marriage
According to Dugan Romano, intercultural couples increase self-knowledge by being forced to examine and define their own values, ideas, and prejudices. (Romano 179) They all feel richer and less parochial after they spend many years together trying to work things through. They are able to be exposed into other cultures thoroughly as well as to strengthen the understandings of their own cultures.
Cultural difference also introduces more lifestyle options to intercultural couples, which will enrich their life. Even if a couple ends up choosing one’s home country as their permanent residence, they will definitely visit the other’s hometown pretty often. Sometimes they live in a third country, which means they’ll go to both of their home countries from time to time. They have chances to travel in many places, experience different customs, and have friends from diverse backgrounds. “My mom told me it was her intercultural marriage that kept her life from becoming humdrum.” Said student A, a freshman at Middlebury College, whose mother is Korean and father is American.
Apart from the benefits intercultural couples gain from their cultural difference, there are also challenges that they have to face. Every culture has its own value system. By value system we mean the approach to the world, which deals with the identity, belief, behavior and the standard to evaluate the behavior. (Romano 37) Couples from different cultures do not share the same value system. They will be in conflict when their value systems are not in agreement. Mary, an American woman who married a Chinese man she met in graduate school in China, pointed out that their different values caused most of their fights. She talked about her experience when her husband’s parents were visiting them in the states. “Every time my parents come to visit, they always book into a hotel. They know different families have different habits; therefore they don’t want to disturb us. That’s mutual respect. But Ziqian (Mary’s husband) was very angry with me when I told him to book a hotel or find a house for his parents.” (Xu 7) Independence is a distinctive component of...