I have never ever been seriously romantically involved with anyone raised in my native culture. Apart from my husband, I've only had three other serious boyfriends, including a near-marriage that had it progressed to the next level would have been described, in the same breath, as a near death! All of them were with someone whose culture is completely different than mine.
I've had years of experience at this. Inter-cultural relationships should be my thing. I should be good at this, right? Wrong!
My marriage is, mainly, based on our cultural differences in every sense of the word. We revel in our differences and eagerly learn more about the other. It seems more challenging since it involves adjustment between two people from different ethnic, religious, socio-political backgrounds. With these challenges come countless arguments and misunderstandings brought about by exactly the same factors that make it interesting.
My husband and I have created strategies for understanding each other. If one of us starts to react negatively, the puzzled party (why the heck are you angry now?!) acts like he/she is waving a flag. This "white flag" gives the other a chance to explain further while we both try to breathe deeply and understand more. It usually works to get us through most of our dramas. Most, not all.
Our marriage is still a work in progress. We are creating our own culture by compromising. Both of us are consciously trying to be more open so our relationship will continue to flourish and grow. And just like any other marriages, not just interracial ones, we both just need to work harder and put in more effort.
Coming Soon: Culture clash -- our 2-year-old son's University education