Being in a relationship with a partner from a different culture and or nation can be challenging. In the following article I have collected 10 tips from personal experience and your clients that will help you make the best out of your experience:
Tip # 1: Ask a Question
I personally think this is the most important tip. If you allow each other to ask questions then you are willing to learn more about the other every day.
Tip # 2: assume nothing
Even if you have read about their culture or nation or have been in a relationship for some time, stop yourself when you catch yourself thinking: I already know this. Meet your partner with newness and openness.
Tip # 3: Learn Language
Enroll in the language classes that your partner speaks at home. If both of you are speaking a different language than your mother tongue, then both of you have to show interest in the other person’s world and one point of access will be their language.
Tip # 4: be open to differences
The fact that the two of you are different is much, or even more, than any other couple. Remind yourself to be open to different perspectives, values and beliefs. This does not mean that you have to agree to everything, but acceptance is important.
Tip # 5: Stop Comparing
If you constantly compare your culture or nation with them, then you will end up arguing who is better. Discuss the differences but do not make it a competition.
Tip # 6: Communicate
Like any relationship, communication is at its heart. You need to communicate quickly about your different viewpoints, values and beliefs before you face the risk of your child becoming Catholic or Islamic.
Tip # 7: Share your feelings
One of you will probably live in a country or culture from where they grew up. It is very important that you honestly share your feelings and emotions with what is coming for you.
Tip # 8: Show interest in your partner’s culture and nation
Even if you are growing up, you are trying to learn about your partner’s culture and nation. If possible, plan to watch it at least once or several times. Let your partner show you around.
Tip # 9: Discuss future plans
Start discussing future plans early in the relationship: How do you want to bring your children? Where would you like to live? Which religion do you want to practice? What does it mean for your family to be in a relationship with someone from another culture or nation?
Tip # 10: Talk about your past
Find out about each other’s history, talk about your childhood, show each other and share other important aspects of your life. This will allow you to enter each other’s model of the world.
Many of these suggestions obviously do not apply only to multicultural or multinational relations and you can connect others with your personal experience.