Multicultural Relationships – Part I of II

The Color Purple 2023

Multicultural relationships are complex and dynamic. We looked at statistics on cross-cultural marriage in part I of this series. And offered life hacks for building your own happy cross-cultural relationship. If you missed this installment you can view it now.

Know yourself and create good boundaries

The first step in building your own happy cross-cultural relationship is a willingness to change or adopt new ways of relating. And also developing some boundaries.

In this context your boundaries are those core characteristics that you hold dear — at this moment in time.

Because as we grow our character will change. The change will naturally impact your world view and how you interact with others.

How you see the world influences your perspective

A person who grew up with few available resources, corruption, and unequal treatment within systems like school, business and government might have a harsh perspective on life.

As a result they may assume a character that views resources as limited and getting their share of the resource — access to jobs, education, fair treatment by the government and so on as problematic.

Therefore they need to grab what they can without concern for their fellow human being.

After living in a place where resources are plentiful this person’s character might change to a more humanistic view.

Create a mantra to guide you

Mala prayer beads
Mala prayer beads Photo Courtesey Unknown Source

Here is a sample mantra:

“Anything that is available to anyone is available to me”. — Antoinette Lee Toscano

Living in this way there is no place for jealousy, greed or unhealthy competition.

Failing to conduct your life in a way that puts your mantra into practice would go against your character and should therefore be a personal boundary.

Keep an open mind and open heart

Multicultural traditions
Photo Courtesy of Terie Miyamoto

By operating from a place of openness you let go of your rigid constructs around “how things should be done”.

Instead you can:

  • Acknowledge a difference appreciate its value and then negotiate options with your partner.
  • Consider adopting one way of doing things or the other.
  • Have your own way that you practice while giving your partner the space to observe their custom or tradition.
  • Find an elegant way to blend both traditions that celebrates and honors each partner’s heritage.

Value multicultural traditions and customs equally

Each partner comes to the relationship as a fully-formed, dynamic adult human being with closely held values, customs and traditions.

In negotiating a healthy solution where cultures clash it is very important to show respect and appreciation for both ways of thinking.

In practice, for example, the tradition of a male partner thinking of his wife as property and not an adult human being with her own thoughts, wants, and needs is archaic to some women.

However respect is shown for your partner’s belief while simultaneously negotiating a new way of being in a relationship with a partner that holds such beliefs.

Wherever possible allow each person to live in a way that is in-line with their character or boundary. And maintain autonomy in your relationship.

Multicultural communication

Smiling multicultural couple
Photo Courtesy of: Nicole Parra

The final practice that could ease navigating through the boggy waters of multicultural relationships is to talk it out.

Communicating often and holding the intention of talking with your partner — someone that you love dearly in a way that is loving and respectful can make even the most difficult communication easier.

When your partner can hear the love and see the demonstration of respect for their tradition it allows you to focus on a compromise rather than defending a position.

Every couple will encounter their own unique set of multicultural relationship challenges.

It is each relationship’s journey to find a healthy way to partner.

Hopefully these are a few life-hacks that will make the road less bumpy for you and your partner or partners— if you are polyamorous.

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