I firmly believe every marriage is a cross-cultural marriage regardless of one’s cultural affiliation. The problems and proposed solutions in this article not only talk to Indians and Americans (or Westerners), but also to any two people caught between cultures and continents trying to get married or preparing to move between countries for love.
What is the Problem?
It is a simple problem. When comparing cultures, over generalizations, over simplifications, over idealizations and an over eagerness to forgo one’s cultural and personal identity (especially for the American bride) often set in. Anything taken to one extreme or another is typically not balanced and leads to unmet, unfulfilled and bloated expectations that cannot be met in the long run.
Though the bride to-be has her own fears of marriage and cultural adjustment, the excitement of all that is India and the love for her to-be seem to cloud the judgment of reality (as is true with anyone in love!). Due to the lofty ideals, often mixed with the cultural baggage of being an independent, confident, cosmopolitan woman, the rugged individualism of her upbringing may set in and not wanting to upset her steadfastness to accept anything Indian in denial of her Americanness, the Indian groom to-be, may think that attitude is enough to get her through. After all, isn’t it this independence, steadfastness, boldness and risk-taking attitude that he fell in love with in the first place? To question that is to question his very love for her. And, to do that would inevitably play into his parent’s and family’s doubts about a long-lasting, strong union.
Of course this is a very simplified look at a multi-layered problem. There are many other ways of looking at and analyzing this problem. This is only one way that I have often seen in my experience in relationship coaching.
Solutions to the Problem
These problems are often unavoidable. They are often part and parcel of long-distance, cross-continental and cross-cultural relationships. Here are a few thoughts I have on reducing these problems and helping to create a better environment for the American girl to adjust to her upcoming new life in India.
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Thanks & Regards,