Question: Dear Luise: I am getting pretty serious about a man who has a vastly different cultural background than mine. I was wondering if this should be seen as a red flag. It doesn’t feel like one but then, I’m pretty smitten, and you know how that goes. Thanks for your wisdom. Elena
Answer: Dear Elena: This is something your need to talk over…a lot. You need to get a fix on what kind of effect the differences you discover may present. And what kind of risks are involved.
Everyone who marries is different to some extent. We’re all unique. Two people from the same street, the same school, the same town and the same everything can be nothing alike. Most of us even know family members that don’t appear to be related or to have a thing in common.
However, if you have cultural differences about how men treat women, or how money is handled or what a certain religion requires, please don’t ignore those facts. If the cultural difference is race, talk about it. Whatever it is, talk and talk and talk.
Be prepared to bend and expect him to be willing to bend as well. How do your families stand on this? What are your ages…how mature are you…what are your expectations? There are endless considerations for every couple but you will have more to deal with than the “average”. Much more.
What you don’t want, either of you, is to be surprised by any assumptions made by the other or the other’s family. You don’t want to go there…to that “well, I just took it for granted that…” place. It’s going to involve some serious work to make a joint decision with some substance to it and circumvent the built-in pitfalls.
Why not talk with someone who can help you through this maze? Do you know any other couples that have had the same differences? Would they be willing to talk with both of you about it? It’s been done before…count on it…so get some pointers if that’s at all possible from the “pioneers” who have gone before you.
What you will create by following such a path is a deep sense of mutual respect. Use that as a foundation and build from there. Blessings, Luise