Six Tips for Happy Cross Cultural Relationships

The world’s a small place and globalisation is making it smaller still. One of the benefits of that increasing togetherness is the opportunity to meet and fall in love with someone from another culture. However the differences you find attractive at first can cause you both to go crazy in the long run; here are six tips for making a success of it.

Overcome the Language Barrier

While communicating in hand signals, gestures and your own made up vocabulary can be entertaining for a while, in the long run it will get draining. You can’t communicate properly without at least one shared language, which means that one of you is going to have to make the effort to learn the other’s language – fluently. If you don’t see yourself doing this and neither does your partner, you may be best off calling it a day.

Try Not to Make Assumptions

Actually the only assumption you can make is that your partner is probably acting in what they perceive as your best interests. Other than that, assuming things on each other’s behalf is a recipe for disaster. So talk things through and find out what your partner really wants.

Familial Power

Just because in the West the “nuclear family” model is the predominant one, it doesn’t make it so for the rest of the world. You may find that your new family are going to make stronger demands on your time and resources than you may feel comfortable with. Better to sort this out before you get married and find that half your earnings will need to go to supporting a vibrant village community back home.

Check Your Motives

Why exactly are you in this relationship? If it’s the novelty factor you need to be aware that this is going to wear off one day. You need to take a hard look at your new partner and decide whether there’s a foundation for a lasting relationship not just a fling that turns into something more.

Talk About The Big Stuff

You’ll need to take a long hard look at some of the issues that affect cross cultural relationships, from where will we live? (Your country or theirs?) To other fundamentals such as child rearing (corporal punishment?) and job roles (stay at home wives are very common in some cultures) and so on.

Ignore Advice at Will

There’s no 100% guaranteed recipe for success in cross-cultural relationships, if you’re both happy then you’re probably getting it right. While divorce rates are higher than same culture marriages there are plenty of successful relationships that span the cultural divide and none of them are identical.