Recommended Reading for Intercultural Couples

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Caroline
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Recommended Reading for Intercultural Couples

Post by Caroline » Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:23 am

Intercultural Marriage: Promises and Pitfalls, by Dugan Romano


I strongly recommend this for anyone who is entering or who is already in a committed international relationship. There are apparently relatively few books of this kind out there. You do not necessarily need to be experiencing "problems" in order to benefit from its perspectives, as it can bring even the happiest relationships to a new level of discovery. It explores just about every topic imaginable, from food, to gender roles, to coping with illness and grief, by providing examples of real couples who the author apparently interviewed over a period of a decade. It identifies the stages intercultural marriages go through, and helps partners get to know themselves and each other by discovering what attracted them to a foreign spouse in the first place. Above all, the book is written from a neutral point of view, emphasizing that there isn't really a "right and wrong", but rather "differences", and places the responsibility of analyzing the relationship in the hands of the partners. I especially liked the fact that the book stresses the true uniqueness of every marriage- even those of the same cross-cultural heritage!- and points out that what works for one marriage may not work at all for another. Particularly interesting, I think, was the fact that the book only seems to reveal the "outcome" (in terms of the book's publication date that is) of some of the marriages, and I was surprised that certain ones which sounded hopeless actually survived; while others that sounded like they had a good basis ended in divorce. Overall, the book brings intercultural couples "down to earth", while still maintaining a voice of support and encouragement for the institution of intercultural marriage.

The author herself is in an intercultural marriage.


Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.

Remembah whea ya pahked ya cah!

Recommended Reading for Intercultural Couples

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Sankalp
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Post by Sankalp » Tue Sep 23, 2003 9:37 am

One good possible outcome of such marriage could be healthy babies. Babies usually inherit best of two different genetic pools. Just a guess. No prior experience :)

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Phil
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Post by Phil » Tue Sep 23, 2003 9:43 am

Sankalp wrote:One good possible outcome of such marriage could be healthy babies. Babies usually inherit best of two different genetic pools. Just a guess. No prior experience :)
Hmmmmm....what would our baby look like?

Image + Image = ???

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Phil
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Post by Phil » Tue Sep 23, 2003 9:45 am

Phil wrote:
Hmmmmm....what would our baby look like?

Image + Image = ???
Image

AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! It's a MONSTER!! Put it back in!!! :D

Caroline
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Post by Caroline » Tue Sep 23, 2003 10:29 am

Sankalp wrote:One good possible outcome of such marriage could be healthy babies. Babies usually inherit best of two different genetic pools. Just a guess. No prior experience :)



Actually babies always complicate the matter; read the book to get the details (I'm not paid to promote the book, honest :wink: ). There's no question that they have a broader viewpoint than kids of monocultural families, but various multicultural children interviewed in the book have had both positive and negative experiences growing up.
Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.

Remembah whea ya pahked ya cah!

Handsome
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Post by Handsome » Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:01 am

Caroline wrote:read the book to get the details (I'm not paid to promote the book, honest :wink: )
Sorry, Caroline. I'm not convinced. :wink:

On a more serious note, I've got to admit, I think common sense plays a much bigger part in things like this than any book can tell you. Even though my partner comes from a different cultural background that's not going to prevent us from eating whatever the hell we want, etc. And no author will ever make the decision over whether we have children or not.

Stu

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Post by arty fact » Tue Sep 23, 2003 1:16 pm

It's both interesting to know someone from different background, but also difficult to live together and face discriminations (ex: you're not perfectly white, you're not totally black, so no one accepts you on the basis of your differences). For kids seems the most difficult, especially if you live in an environment that has passionate social opinions.A kid born by different cultures and countries parents has to double his efforts in learning at least two languages, follow two traditions (both Catholic and Protestant?! :-)), to understand a looot of contradictory things, generally...

gavin

Post by gavin » Tue Sep 23, 2003 2:17 pm

Phil wrote:AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! It's a MONSTER!! Put it back in!!! :D
Ah. Than's a coincidence. That's what your sister said :wink: :twisted:

Hey Phil, you hijacked a perfectly serious thread. I hope we didn't offend anyone :roll:

:D

Cheers
Gavin

Caroline
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Post by Caroline » Tue Sep 23, 2003 2:35 pm

Handsome wrote:
Caroline wrote:read the book to get the details (I'm not paid to promote the book, honest :wink: )
Sorry, Caroline. I'm not convinced. :wink:

On a more serious note, I've got to admit, I think common sense plays a much bigger part in things like this than any book can tell you. Even though my partner comes from a different cultural background that's not going to prevent us from eating whatever the hell we want, etc. And no author will ever make the decision over whether we have children or not.

Stu


The issue is (unfortunately) not so "Romeo and Juliet" like that. If you do read the book, you'll discover that it does not try to influence couples to have or not to have children- it just talks about how they can complicate intercultural marriages. It's a lot more than just common sense, and the book helps to put into words many of the issues that couples have.

You may have misunderstood something concerning the "food" issue: it is not couples deciding what to eat together, but rather the conflict that happens when partners have drastically different habits because of their respective cultures- there was a Swede mentioned whose Malaysian wife's cooking nauseated him, a Scottish wife who couldn't stand her Iranian husband's onion breath, and a Swiss husband who had to (try to) eat a sheep's eye served by his Tunisian mother-in-law. The point is that some of the minor problems are tolerated when the marriage is new, but it's not so easy when the couple has been together for 20-30 years :wink:

Anyway, my purpose in recommending the book is that maybe it can enlighten uncertain couples, as well as help happy intercultural couples to understand their relationships better.
Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.

Remembah whea ya pahked ya cah!

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Mikie
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Post by Mikie » Tue Sep 23, 2003 2:44 pm

Admittedly I am newer to the multi-cultural relationship than most in here, and I might even be tempted to look in to that book, however as I progress through this relationship I am noticing that it really is not too much different than a typical relationship as long as both people involved are levelheaded (I know, I'm asking a lot with this one :P ). Every day we learn something new about each other and about our lifestyles, but its no different than when I dated a girl from Maryland or Utah. I guess I'm quite fortunate in the fact that Maria speaks perfect English and our communication does not get in the way at all, but everytime we've encountered a difference we've been able to fully discuss the situation and come out with a better understanding of each other. If anything, the fact that we are from completely different backgrounds, I think, makes the relationship even stronger. Theres that desire to really want to know everything about her, whereas in the past you assume or take for granted certain aspects, but that can't be done in this case.

As far as the children go and having to learn multiple languages, I say good. I am Italian in heritage and one of the things I am displeased about my childhood is that Italian was never spoken or taught. I would love to be able to have been fluent in the language, rather than struggling as an a adult to piece it all together. IF Maria and I were to get married and have kids, we have already agreed that the children will learn English, Finnish and Swedish. No different than what every Finnish student does now as well.

funnyman
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Post by funnyman » Tue Sep 23, 2003 3:56 pm

Intercultural Marriage: Promises and Pitfalls, by Dugan Romano
Thanks Caroline for recommending the book. I havent read the book but i plan to. In the begining of such relationship everything looks like a walk in the park but sometimes after a few months/years the real issues come up.

Caroline
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Post by Caroline » Tue Sep 23, 2003 3:59 pm

If anything, the fact that we are from completely different backgrounds, I think, makes the relationship even stronger. Theres that desire to really want to know everything about her, whereas in the past you assume or take for granted certain aspects, but that can't be done in this case.




But the book doesn't suggest that intercultural relationships are more or less likely to work out than monocultural ones. Many people, myself included, have no experience in monocultural committed/long-term relationships, so an intercultural one actually feels more natural. The point is that the challenges are different, and even the most insightful people will not necessarily realize that.

Just stop speculating about the book and read it :wink:
Former expat in Finland, now living in New Hampshire USA.

Remembah whea ya pahked ya cah!

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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Tue Sep 23, 2003 4:31 pm

I wouldn't read any book written by women trying to explain me how to live my life. It is enough women read these books and get weird ideas and then they nag you into living your life according to some book. Fahrenheit 451.
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.

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Post by anja » Tue Sep 23, 2003 4:43 pm

Hank W. wrote:I wouldn't read any book written by women trying to explain me how to live my life. It is enough women read these books and get weird ideas and then they nag you into living your life according to some book. Fahrenheit 451.
Don't boil over just over this, Hank :)
I think that this book merely discusses the issue of being in an international relationship. I'm sure no one is telling anyone how to live their lives.. it just may make one understand such situation better --?

I'm interested in reading it! :wink: Might be just as interested, even if I wasn't in an international relationship..
"Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that's how dogs spend their lives."
-- Sue Murphy

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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Tue Sep 23, 2003 4:47 pm

This kind of "helps people to know themselves" books are the first stage of calling madame Lula and asking for a seance.

This book in question might be a good read, Anja you can lend it to me before Oggie eats it after Phil smears it with liver pat'e :mrgreen:
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.


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