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The advancement in technology has created avenues for people to interact with others from very different cultural backgrounds. In addition, the ease of access to information concerning important aspects of life has resulted in the creation of diverse worldviews (Ting-Toomey & Dorjee, 2018). Following this, populations have been significantly influenced regardless of their cultures. As a result, this scenario has further increased the level of complexity in relationships. Cross-cultural marriages have many challenges that emanate from the diverse couples’ backgrounds. Research findings have established that values and beliefs acquired over time are almost impossible to change (Toelle & Harris, n.d.). This means that every party in a relationship holds fixed beliefs and ways of operation that each of them believes is the right course of action. The outcome is the creation of an intolerable environment. Couples are very reluctant to compromise on the values that have guided their entire life to create peaceful coexistence. Cross-cultural marriages can be blamed for a large extent of the great devastation witnessed in most relationships since they result in increased levels of violence, murders, and ultimately divorces in the society.
The handling of the extended family is the main issue in cross-cultural marriages. The expected degree of association varies across cultures (Toelle & Harris, n.d.). There are those societies that have tightly knit relations while others are loosely knit. For instance, in some cultures as the Indians, the extended family is very significant. This means that if a non-Indian (an American) marries in this culture, they might find it exhausting to care for the extended family in the same degree as their nuclear family. The members of the Indian family could also feel sidelined while the American family would be strained as they struggled to meet the anticipated expectations. This will finally lead to frustration because the probability of meeting these demands are low.
However, the issue of handling the extended family is not a major problem among couples from the same culture. Regardless of the fact that subcultures have distinct values, beliefs, and ways of operation, they have similar elements to cover. For instance, all subcultures in the African culture attach great significance to close relationships between relatives. The only difference is the degree of attachment (Strong & Cohen, 2014). This means that married couples from the same culture will face fewer challenges as compared to couples of cross-cultural marriages. The same culture marriages should be encouraged in order to reduce the devastation witnessed in marriages across the globe.
Religion is another major problem among couples from different cultures. There are variations with regard to the way that people in different cultures uphold particular holidays, for instance, in the case of Muslims and Christians. This is a major cause of conflicts and disagreements that often leads to violence in marriages (Esposito & Kalin, 2011). Moreover, different religions have certain dietary restrictions. Some expect their members to strictly adhere to them while others are flexible thereby allowing some level of freedom (Toelle & Harris, n.d.). It is problematic when a Muslim wife cannot cook pork and even poses problems to her partner when he wants to eat pork. Some partners find it cumbersome to deal with someone who holds rigid religious views. Over time, this becomes a problem that cannot be dealt with making divorce the only alternative.
Nevertheless, couples from the same culture experience minor challenges in relation to the religious aspect. So, when such couples get married, one of them willingly changes to their spouse’s religious system (Sahlins, 2013). This is in the effort to create a harmonious relationship. Couples who were Protestants easily convert to Catholicism. In fact, there are other major transitions when a Christian becomes a Muslim and vice versa. This easy transition is possible because of sharing similar cultural beliefs and values. It is easier for the same cultural partners to accept each other’s religion since they are somewhat familiar with it. The same culture marriages make it easy for couples to deal with the complex issue of religion in an effective way (Sahlins, 2013). This situation is beneficial as it reduces the conflict level and divorce cases in marriages.
Parenting is also a serious threat to the survival of cross-cultural marriages. Study findings have established that couples from mixed marriages are involved in regular heated debates on the way of raising their children (Toelle & Harris, n.d.). It is difficult for couples to compromise on their way of life. As a result, the manner of raising children becomes a complex phenomenon because it is not easy to decide whose traditions children should be taught. As such, couples in mixed marriages not only deal with such issues, but also transfer the same predicament to their children (Strong & Cohen, 2014). For instance, when the children reach the teen age, they will face a dilemma on which tradition to prioritize given that they love both parents.
Couples from the same culture have an easier time when parenting. The reason is that they do not need to merge two or more different categories of cultural backgrounds due to their similar cultural values. This means that it is more effortless to decide how to raise their children. This makes the parenting process manageable (Esposito & Kalin, 2011). Due to their common cultural values, the couples smoothly establish a compromise to create and sustain a peaceful environment as compared to those in cross-cultural marriages.
In conclusion, it should be asserted that cross-cultural marriages experience more challenges as compared to the same culture marriages in terms of religious, family ties, and parenting issues. Couples of same culture are flexible and open-minded when dealing with arguments and issues that arise unexpectedly. In cross-cultural marriages, on the other hand, arguments start more regularly due to the diversity in cultural backgrounds. Couples in these unions are exposed to more challenges as compared to their counterparts in the same culture marriages. The same culture marriages as opposed to cross-cultural marriages should be encouraged.
Brink, J., & Mencher, J. (Eds.). (2014). Mixed blessings: Gender and religious fundamentalism cross culturally. New York, NY: Routledge.
Esposito, J. L., & Kalin, I. (Eds.). (2011). Islamophobia: The challenge of pluralism in the 21st century. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Sahlins, M. (2013). Culture and practical reason. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Strong, B., & Cohen, T. F. (2014). The marriage and family experience: Intimate relationships in a changing society (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Ting-Toomey, S., & Dorjee, T. (2018). Communicating across cultures (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Toelle, S. C., & Harris, V. W. (n.d.). Are you marrying someone from a different culture or religion? Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1337