Every parent wants their child to be happy and settled in marriage with someone who ‘ticks all of the boxes.’ But what happens if a person find’s someone who ticks all of their parents and their own boxes but is from a different culture or ethnicity?

We have all seen the latest Bollywood films such as Veer Zaara, Gadar (Ek Prem Kahaani) and more recently 2 states which show the difficulties a couple go through when marrying someone from outside their culture. They all demonstrate the difficulties, hurdles and hardships. While many do marry outside of their culture and lead a happy life, others are still concerned about society and how they may be perceived.

Here are some tips I came across that might help you if you or someone dear to you is considering are marrying someone from outside your culture and wants to integrate for a sound future together.

  1. Sample foods from your partner’s culture or read about it. Look for guidance from a book, Web site, newsletter or therapist. “Don’t think you can plan to marry someone of another culture if you’re not interested in that culture,”
  2. Make sure you take the time to introduce your family and your partner to each other to break the ice. Many people have the tendancy to fear the unknown.
  3. Communicate with in-laws. It is wrong to assume that older people are incapable of change or that they won’t talk about cultural issues. Some situations cannot be corrected, but it is important to challenge the assumptions of the older generation if it’s causing you marital problems
  4. Be tolerant. “You need to allow for more than one right way of doing things,” says Dot Lin, the lawyer. She clears dishes off the table to accommodate her husband’s desire for a clean table, and he doesn’t protest when she leaves them in the sink for a while.
  5. As a parent, try to anticipate the knee-jerk reaction that you might have when your partner tries to promote his cultural ways or when your child adopts elements of your partner’s culture, says therapist Judy Siegel. If you immediately get upset at the prospect of your child saying daily prayers as your spouse does, ask yourself why you are being so rigid.  If you are Christian but your husband is Jewish and you have decided to let the children choose their religion, do not erupt when your daughter says she wants to have a Bat Mitzvah. With in-laws, it’s best to do things their way at their homes and your way at yours, experts say
  6. Accept that there will be differences but if you speak openly with your partner then you won’t have anything to worry about.

Goodluck! J