Is your tradition your religion?
I'm a firm believer that anything worth having is worth putting the effort. I used the contrast of tradition being your religion when it becomes your one true way of looking at life and potential spouse based on cultural and traditional "laws." Refusing to date outside of what is familiar because of its challenges can be a potential loss to what may otherwise be a blessing. Every relationship has challenges, that's a given, but I encourage you to learn about what you value most and need to be in a fulfilling, healthy, and loving relationship so that those challenges become worth working through and eventually overcoming.
I have been eager to write about this topic for sometime due to my background with having a hyphenated or dual identity and its challenges in dating. I've come to realize that plenty of people may relate to this post because of how intercultural dating is a reality that they themselves have experienced, know someone who has, or thought of at some point in their life; yet it's a topic that's not easy to summarize and often discussed. I'll also share a part of my story based on past experiences that directly relate to this post so you can better understand its juxtaposition.
It's important for Interracial dating to not be confused for intercultural dating. This is not to say that interracial relationships cannot be mutually intercultural, but interracial can be exclusive to race while intercultural can have a myriad of other differences that are not tied to race; like tradition, language and religion (two people of the same race but from different cultures).
Can it work?
Yes, given that both people in the relationship acknowledge and respect each other's differences, and are constantly willing to put forth the effort to understand them without taking away the validity of those differences. Below I will express some of the major challenges and ways those challenges have been overcome in relationships/marriages from people I personally know.
My sister is Tanzanian and her husband is Nigerian. She speaks Swahili and He speaks Igbo so they primarily communicate in English, but it's beautiful if you ever catch them try to speak in each other's native tongue. A great and unforeseen outcome of the two marrying is that their oldest daughter is now capable of communicating in Igbo, Swahili, and English.
Although both my sister and her husband are from the same continent, there are still vasts differences that surpass language barrier; however, traditionally speaking, their adaptation is easier than that of my parents because African cultures mimic each other. One of the things my sister and brother in law have greatly in common and is the foundation of their relationship is their shared faith.
" If the person is open, kind, and believes in cultural relativism, then all other things are trivial." -Dr. John Inniss
A Language Professor at Delaware State University with a Doctorate in African studies.
"If I decide to date interculturally in the future, I'll look out for someone who has a similar outlook on life as me. Someone who is culturally aware and not narrow minded on cultural issues."-Sam Okyere
A Ghanaian Model, Actor, and TV personality based in Seoul, South Korea.
"....there really isn't a single bottom line other than both adults agreeing to compromise and negotiate the similarities and differences together, and then developing a mutual understanding."
A Hatian-American Youtuber, writer and Content Director at OggeWoogee.
"My culture is a big part of who I am, I don't want to give up any pieces of that to be with a man. I believe this: no matter how much we love someone, especially in an intercultural relationship, someone's culture will have to take a hit and the other's culture will dominate."
A Congolese-American residing and teaching in South Korea.
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