How can our cross-cultural marriage overcome barriers?

Monday, March 22nd, 2021 00:00 |
Cross-cultural marriage.

Hi Achokis, I have been in a relationship with a woman from a different community - I’m Kikuyu, she’s Luo.

I have noticed more relationships between Luo men and Kikuyu women and not vice versa.

Why is this so and what are some of the problems one can encounter in cross cultural marriages? Do these cross-cultural marriages survive? I’m a bit jittery. Please help!

Our take

Thank you for reaching out. We live in a day and age when such cross-cultural marriages are becoming more and more common.

This is a good thing as it is one of the ways, we as a nation can curb tribalism.

As to your question of more Luo men marrying Kikuyu women than vice versa, this is something that may be neither here nor there. Maybe you haven’t just come across them. 

Numerous challenges

The problems one can encounter in cross cultural marriages are surmountable if handled well.

The first issue is normally acceptance by both parents. For most parents, they never imagine their children getting married to someone from another tribe.

So, there’s denial and this can trickle to the person their son or daughter is getting married to. If they are not prepared enough, it can shake the relationship. 

You see, we all want our parents to approve the person we are going out with and want to marry.

And so, if your parents because of their unconscious bias are against your relationship, it can bring a strain to it. 

The other problems may arise during dowry negotiations as different cultures approach it differently. When it comes to naming of children this can also pose some problems if not handled well. 

All in all, those problems that arise due to cultural differences can be easily solved if one is aware of those differences and talk about them.

Knowing the kind of parents one has can also help prepare how you will engage them and convince them to support your relationship.

In short, what we are saying is that as long as two people love each other and are willing to walk through whatever challenges marriage brings, there’s nothing that can stop them.

We have seen many cross-cultural marriages not only survive, but thrive even better than those from the same culture. 

Walk together 

And if there have been issues, they are the same issues that any other relationship goes through.

Gender roles and personality differences are even bigger to deal with than even cultural differences. One must realise that different isn’t bad, it’s just different. 

Learn to adjust to those differences, laugh about them and appreciate them, not imposing your culture on the other person, but learning about their culture as well.

If you do so, your relationship will thrive. - The writers are marriage and relationship coaches. [email protected]

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