“For better or worse, for richer or for poorer in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, ’til death do us part.”
That is the vow we take when we marry. But in the ever changing world of today’s society and cultural “norms”, there is a lot of debate about the interpretation of “for better or worse.” When looking at the statistics for multicultural marriages and unions, there is the question of, “What does that mean?” We are exposed more and more to the idea of multicultural marriages and witness the struggles that are accompanied with it.
“External stressors are magnified in cross cultural marriages because of disappointments when cultural assumptions are unmet. Developing a shared identity is the key to growth.”
The key phrase here is “shared identity.” This is saying that you have a multiple identity you have different cultural outlooks in your life. You may also have different values and beliefs in your family. More often than not, however, this “shared identity” creates conflict and disruption in the peace of this union created between the two individuals. Such is the case in today’s society, where the ever growing expansion of xenophobia, or fear of that which is strange or foreign, is becoming more prominent with each passing year. In 2005, over 600,000 naturalized citizens and 1,120,000 legal permanent residents lived in the U.S., of which 23 percent gained residency as the spouse of an American citizen (Jefferys & Rytina, 2006).
There are many positives associated with these cross cultural marriages, and that is the emotional understanding that many of these aforementioned families experience. There is a deeper understanding of how family relationships can become increasingly diverse, foster a better understanding of one’s cultural understanding, as well as increase an individual’s mutual influence on another person.
By accepting differences in culture, we can open pathways to acceptance that may not have been present before. Just by broadening your horizon and projecting yourself out there on a cultural basis can make a significant difference.
References and further readings
- What is Shared Identity
- Cross-National Marriages: Challenges and Enrichment
- Cross Cultural Marriage and Interracial Marriage Issues
Featured photo courtesy Jacob Moe