Friday, March 16, 2012

Marrying Someone From a Different Culture

The man I married is from another country. He's not into football or beer or hunting. He was proud to be in the chess club in high school. He speaks to his parents on a weekly basis. For the first dance at our wedding, we took three months of ballroom dance lessons and he enjoyed (almost) every single minute of it. Probably most surprising of all: he will buy tampons for me if I need him to.

My point in telling you about my husband is that when we first started dating, all of this was kind of weird to me. I was really used to the football loving, beer chugging, frat boy kind of guy. My husband, who was raised in communist Russia until he was 8, had an entirely different outlook on life than I did. His upbringing was very family centric, where I was pushed to be rather independent. However, I walked down that aisle with absolutely no doubts and I can't imagine being married to anyone more wonderful.

Marrying between cultures, races, or religions is much more common than it used to be, but it can still cause a lot of friction between families. Fortunately, my parent's had no objections to my hubby (although my dad was slightly freaked that he might be part of the Russian mob), but I've had friends whose parents disowned them based on who they chose to marry.

I'm curious. Are you marrying someone from a different culture, race, or religion? Have you experienced any backlash from friends or family members?

P.S. In case you're curious, this is my husband, Jeff, with our daughter. The picture is blurry because I took it and I'm not very good with the camera, but it's one of my most favorite pictures. My husband is really good with the camera. See this post and this post? He took all those pictures. :)

STAY TUNED! A reader appreciation post is coming up later this afternoon!



April said...

My husband isn't from another country, but his parents (and a couple of his siblings) are. His dad is Ukrainian Canadian and his mom is Belgian. The first time I really had a conversation with him, I wasn't sure if he was for real or full of it. He was articulate, well read, intelligent and polite. He enjoys quality beer and while he'll watch a game, he could care less about the teams or the outcome. I've never been attracted to the frat boy type, tending more towards the geeky guy. My husband is a great combination of "types".

Anonymous said...

My husband is Jewish and I'm a Latina. My family welcomed him with open arms, which was nice. It was even nicer that he cooked, since I didn't. His family didn't like that I wasn't Jewish/white, and treated me like I was something stuck on the bottom of the shoe. It took a while for me to realize, their opinion of me doesn't hold value to me. They are no longer welcomed in my home (last time they were here, they decided to insulted me). My husband can see them whenever he desires, he understands I cannot accompany him. He doesn't see them often. Nothing can be done to change them.

Jennifer said...

Thanks to both of you for sharing your own experiences! It sounds like you have a real keeper, April. To anon, I am so sorry to hear that your husband's family hasn't been very welcoming, but I'm glad to hear you don't put much weight to their opinion of you. I hope that one day they accept you, but if not, just remember you're better than them.

Minty said...

I'm an Australian (looking to) marry a Swedish man. The ccultures are similar in lots of ways, but there are some big differences too. Aussies (similar to Americans) like to strive and achieve, and tell their kids "you cna be anythign you want to be if you just try hard enough". Swedes are modest and humble, and tell their kids not to "be the tall poppy, or you will get cut down" ie. don't brag about being better than anyone else, even if you are. The first time I casually told him to "shut up" he was extremely offended, because it is so much harsher in Swedish. I just wanted him to be quiet in the good part of a movie haha! We've been together for almost 4 years now and have ironed out most of the cultural differences (thanks to living in each others countries for mroe than 2 years each) but occasionally we still have little arguments about weird things. When we talk about it later we discover it is a cultural difference. But I think thats part of what makes our relationship special and interesting :D So, Happy arguing :P

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