Culture Clash?

Mrs. Bee posted about Interracial Marriages a little bit ago. I’m very interested in this topic for the simple reason that I’m in an interracial relationship along with about half of my friends. Coming from different cultures is fun because you get to experience new things. For example, my fiance celebrates St. Nick on December 6th. That’s when his family opens all their stockings. It’s so fun!! His Mom gives all of us a giant stocking filled with all sorts of goodies. It’s definitely something I’ve gotten used to. Haha Now, he definitely wants to keep that tradition for our future kids.

Along with the fun comes some “heavier” issues, like what kind of ceremony to have, which cultural traditions to incorporate into the wedding, what kind of “church” to get married in, what religion to raise the kids and so on. It seems like a battle of trying to please everyone. Also, worrying how your parents and his parents will get along. I mean, they never say it, but I know my parents would have preferred if I married someone Filipino. My parents always talk to each other, the relatives and their friends in Tagalog. Plus, my Mom still has a thick accent that perplexes us all since she’s been here longer than she’s lived in the Philippines. (My Dad lost his years ago. Go figure.)

I know this is a huge issue because the other half of my friends refuse to date anyone who isn’t from the same ethnic background or religion. I’m mean and I tease them. “What if you fell in love with someone who wasn’t (fill in the blank ethnicity)? How hard is it to find someone you click with, someone you can talk to, someone you’re madly in love with, someone whom you can picture spending the rest of your life with and consider helping you raise your children? And you’re going to narrow down the odds even further? You don’t choose who you fall in love with.” I know, like I said, mean. But true.

It’s not always that simple I suppose. A lot of my friends have grandparents that can’t speak English and parents who speak minimal English. I understand that they would like their significant other to be able to communicate with them. Also, it would be rather difficult if someone is athiest and another is a devout Christian. (Although, I’ve seen this situation work out before.) Lastly, parents are not always as understanding as we would like them to be. A lot of my friends would get disowned if they married someone who wasn’t the same ethinicity or religion. But I do believe true love conquers all. I know it’s difficult but I have had friends who fought through years of grief from their parents and it’s worked out in the end.

Was this an issue for any of your readers or anyone you know? Did it all work itself out?
Those of you in interracial relationships, are you using any special traditions for the wedding?
Lastly, if there is a culture clash, how do you plan on raising your kids (religion, traditions, etc.)?


Mrs. Hibiscus

Orange County
Wedding Date:
July 2007
My Hairpiece
Why Are Bridal Dress Sizes Weird?
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Aliya, Guest @ 1:51 pm

    My fiance is a white-bread midwestern boy from an Italian Catholic family, and I’m a mutt (dad = Pakistani, mom = American farm girl, and I lived in PK from ages 3-13) — so while our marriage will technically be interracial, we’ve had more conversations about the cultural aspects of our mariage. We’re getting married in a Catholic church b/c that is VERY important to my FH (and I’m not religious one bit), but we’re having a very liberal priest perform the ceremony and there are specific things I want — so it may end up being “Catholic Lite” so to speak.

    My parents didn’t talk about any issues of culture, religion, family, geography before they got married, and they are now divorced (not only for this reason). FH and I are going to be OK, though, because we’re talking about it now and realize that a lot of this (how we raise kids, etc.) will be a work in progress. I think the key to all of this is communication and understanding. I also realize that it can be difficult if in-laws/parents get involved, which has happened with us but not TOO bad (yet).

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Plumsauce, Guest @ 2:05 pm

    I am really glad to see this topic brought up once again. I recently got engaged and when I told my parents the news, they were not very supportive at all. I am Chinese and my fiance is 1/2 Scottish and Vietnamese. My parents were so upset that he did not go proposing, the “traditional” Chinese way – where the groom to be’s family invites the bride to be for a meal and marriage is discussed. So right then and there, we started off rocky on the whole engagement thing.

    We got engaged a few days before winter break (I am a grad student) and when I went home for the holidays my parents were making all sorts of demands i.e. what gifts the fiance should give to the family etc etc. I just wanted to ENJOY being engaged and already I felt this tremendous pressure.

    My parents automatically assumed we would have a Chinese wedding. Which btwn the fiance and myself, we had decided to have a Chinese reception. However, w/ all these demands, and the wedding being financed namely btwn my fiance and myself, it seems impossible!!!! I tried to tell them that I would like to incorporate my culture in, however, we must not expect my fiance to do EVERYTHING by the book!!! When I type this, I almost want to cry….I thought engagements are supposed to be happy things, and all it has been is misery…and my parents are causing it.

    I don’t know what to do w/ my parents. I don’t want to end up disowned or anything like that. However, I need to get through to them that we can’t do EVERYTHING the way the “Chinese” do it.

    I would love to hear fr. other brides that are going or have gone through sth similar.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    lilpetunia, Guest @ 2:49 pm

    My bf and I are not quite interracial ( we are both white) but I am from Europe ( Slovakia) and he is American ( VA). I am non-practicing Eastern Orthodox, he is baptized Protestant but goes to catholic church ( weird, I know).

    Right now my biggest issue is that he doesn’t speak any SLovak and my family doesn’t really speak English, I don’t really want to force him into learning it, since it’s rather difficult language, but I hope to teach our potential children.

    Other than that, no real issues. We celebrate St. Nick’s Day and Slovak Christmas ( on Dec 24th), but also Thanksgiving ( my favorite American Holiday). We go to Church on Christmas Day because that’s important for him.

    I think we will just solve any issues as they come up.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Ms. Stargazer, Guest @ 6:01 pm

    I am Vietnamese and my soon-to-be fiance is Chinese. Interracial marriage is a BIG issue in my family because my parents are extremely traditional. Because of this reason, we have been dating for over 2 years and my Dad has no idea (my mom is much more understanding). But this will change after next weekend when I break the news to my Dad. I am not worried about issues such as religion (our families are both Buddhists), his education, or his upbringing. My only concern is the language barrier between him and my parents.

    Wish me luck!

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Angiepangie, Guest @ 7:13 pm

    I am also in an interracial/interreligious relationship, I am black and Christian and my FI is caucasian and Jewish. We have few problems with our differences mostly because we have similar families and grew up in very similar ways. Because of our shared upbringing, we agree on the important values like family and working hard which makes the superficial (to us) aspects of race and religion seem trivial. It also helps that his mom is Catholic and his dad is Jewish because when I occassionaly freak out (Thanks New York Times for an article about dysfunctional Jewish/Christian families during the December holidays) about potential problems that we might have in the future with kids and holidays he tells me that he has been successfully celebrating both religions for 30 years and our kids will be fine.

    I always thought that I would marry a black man because I wanted to marry a man like my father. But then I met FI in law school and realized that my dad is much more than “just” a black man; my dad is smart, funny, caring, trustworthy, loyal, and so much more. Those are the real traits that are important to me and I decided that those were the things that I needed and wanted from the man that I would spend the rest of my life with. My dad has been so supportive of our relationship from the very start. When I called him to tell him that FI and I were thinking about taking our relationship from a friendship to something more, my dad’s response was “It’s about time, I was wondering when you would do something about the great guy that was right underyour nose.” And now that we are engaged, no one is happier for us than both sets of parents and families.

    We are having a wedding that reflects us and who we are as individuals and as a couple. One of our best friends from law school is going to perform our wedding and we’re incorporating our favorite parts of both cultures and religions into the ceremony. It may not be traditional in any sense of the word, but it will be us.

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