Inter Cultural Marriage Analysis Cultural Studies Essay

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The world is an interesting and a diverse place to live in. A Intercultural Marriage is a union of two people involving numerous cultures and backgrounds. When two various cultures combine together, there may be significant challenges they have to face. Each race ensures there own culture. A culture may differ from one to another due socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. Culture is a system of shared beliefs and values and is constantly evolving and changing around the world. The presence of intercultural marriages and intimacy is clear and expanding in societies throughout the Culture may consist of shared language, religion, or ethnicity. America is the one of the greatest multicultural and multiracial societies in the world at the moment. Nevertheless, this may come across as a shock to most people but as lately as 1966, 17 states in United States actually had laws against the interracial marriage and all of the states regulated marriage between whites and other races in the country. Discriminations against miscegenation is usual nowadays. Despite of the significant number of intercultural marriages in the U.S today, mere empirical research has been done to determine the nature of these marriages (Ngye & snyder,2000) and marital satisfaction.

Communication style and interpersonal relationships are fundamental aspects of culture and can vary dramatically from one culture to another. There maybe language and communication barriers . It is note worthy to remember that everyone on this earth has culture, not just those clusters that are considered 'civilized'. The majority of culture is unseen, below the surface. For example, when a Russian man marries an Italian it is not only the differences in native language (Russian vs. Italian) and religion (Eastern Orthodox vs. Roman Catholic) but also a host of cultural differences associated with such factors as expression of emotion, conflict expression and management, the role of the f family of origin in raising children( Sullivan & Cottone,2007)The beliefs and values that lie beneath the surface can be the most difficult to change when it is necessary.(Progressive Scholar,2010)interracial marriages are not always intercultural marriages, as in some countries, for example United States, people of different races can share the same cultural background. (Source - Wikipedia, Last access 17th August) it is easy to comprehend why it is difficult to let go of a tradition or expectation. It isn't easy to deal with the legacy that we've all grown up with in our ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.

Though it seems to be a very romantic love story in the beginning but the truth is,it can be very challenging and frustrating in real life. And it is simply not about being racist, marriage has a deeper meaning to it, which dwells in understanding it, is possible to have extremely strong and natural negative feelings surrounding an interracial relationship or a marriage even though you're not consider as racist. Legal or not illegal the question is should interracial marriages been encouraged? The union between two different cultures altogether will give space to different experiences and opportunities in life, but mostly difficulties in the marriage life where it is concerned. Adoptions to a different culture altogether maybe not turn out to be an easy task.

Individually ethnic and cultural variances put pressure on the marriage itself. With two diverse cultures, a family often has struggle understanding the differences between the families. Most of the time, such differences are not even recognized and unexplained. At this position an even larger problem with intercultural marriages. It is easy to look at why it is difficult to let go of a tradition or expectation.It isn't easy to deal with the legacy that we've all grown up with in our ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Numerous cultures will consume of different marriage laws, customs and also parental disagreements which will lead into disputes. There will be lower material satisfaction, higher divorce rates due to logistics. Language barriers, different traditions and society's disapproval these factors will lead into higher failure of the marriage. Hence, a union between two cultures should not be encouraged due to the factors mentioned above.

The report will consist of three major factors which are mainly focused on miss- contribution towards an inter-cultural marriage. Initially how the marriage is affected by the cultural shock, diverse of marriage laws which can lead in to disagreements plus adaptation to a various cultures and environment factors. Secondly, the society's points of view, Spouse facing discrimination due to colour and differences, if he/she is beyond the racial divide. Last point will conclude of dissipation of culture. The report contains information based on various countries and issues with diverse cultures marriages.



The main intention of getting marriage is to emotionally, spiritually and physically unite a men and women together, as husband and wife, it is a commitment made in the presence of God, and is valid until death. Intercultural marriages are often influenced by external factors that can create confrontation, and disagreement in relationships. Different cultures endure vastly diverse moral, ethical and value foundations that influence their perceptions of individual, family and societal lifestyle. When these fundamentals are operating alongside the foundation of different cultural roots, as in intercultural marriages, problems and disagreement often times occur.

It takes effort to combine two cultures successfully, and a willing attitude to learn from both partners. The first argument against intercultural marriages is the cultural shock (adaptation to a new culture). When considering an intercultural marriage either one of the partners have to get introduced to a new culture. Ideally both have to get use to each others cultures and laws to survive the marriage and this will create a lot of problems in the process. For an example - A non Muslim marrying a Muslim will have to obey to certain laws in Islam; Islam forbids marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. Therefore, any partner will have to convert and obey Islamic rules (sound vision, 2010). In the case of Muslim men marrying Jewish and Christian women, the situation is different.

While Islam does allow this, Muslim men marrying Jews and Christians need to remember that living in the West, if they end up divorcing, the children will almost automatically be given to the mother. The converting process from one religion to another and adapting to new laws will create massive problems that will even end the marriage. Additional wrinkle in U.S. Muslim family law practices stems from the structure of authority in Islamic jurisprudence since there has never been an official church certifying individuals to speak on behalf of the religion, the field is open for any dedicated Muslim to seek to act as imam and lead a community (Quarishi & Syed- Miller, 2001) therefore, non-Muslims have a very rare chance of wining and surviving in the marriage due to different laws in different cultural laws.

Moving on, Intercultural marriages have contrasting differences between traditions and cultures. Although a few studies have looked into this aspect, cultural differences also stimulate marital conflicts particularly in intercultural marriages. In fact, the quantitative study of Takano (2002), pointed out that 19% of the marital discords in interethnic couples involved in his study are attributed to cultural differences.). Couples that enter a cross-cultural marriage bring into their relationship vastly diverse assumptions and expectations about marriage and family life.

Many of these assumptions flow out of the values, unspoken rules and belief systems that permeate their primary cultures. These unspoken values have become so much a part of their lives that they are almost hidden from view. For an example the way of celebrating Christmas is different in Germany rather than America (J). In fact, many of these cultural differences do not surface until after the couple is married.However, New experiences and new culture altogether may interest a adventurous spouse as its a unique onec ina life time experience and the difficulties greatly depend on how religious and culturally bond the families are.

Not all think out of the box, New strange land, parents and language may cause distress in the beginning of the marriage life. One spouse will live in the country of origin and the other will be a stranger in a strange land the pleasantness mayb fall apart after sometime when trying to fit into a different family ,cuture. Marriage and customs differ from one country and to another culture .For example, Indian marriage customs are varying from marriage customs of Chinese traditions. In Japan the Japanese bride to be painted pure white from head to toe, visibly declaring her maiden status to the gods. There are two choices of headgear exist. One which is, the watabōshi, is a white hood, the other is called the tsunokakushi, serves to hide the bride's 'horns of jealousy.' It also symbolizes the bride's intention to become a gentle and obedient wife. During the period of the traditional wedding days, there would be a tilak ceremony (where the groom is anointed on his forehead), a ceremony for adorning the bride's hand then cover the feet with henna (called mehendi) accompanied by Ladies' Sangeet (music and dance) and many other pre-wedding ceremonies. Hence, marriage traditions, customs and beliefs may clash due to above points mentioned so far.

Religion runs deeper since they practice their faith and it is a part of their cultural identity that they want to hang on to. The accurate, customs and special days associated with the religion remain significant to them. The regarding worship of the children will matter some religions deny the validity of all others and insist on conversions or demand that the children should be brought up in that religion. A couple might face difficulty in deciding on this above point and the spouse form the other religion may feel inferior and down. For example Orthodox Judaism teaches that the family must repudiate (sit shivah for) a child who marries a non-Jew: Islam demands obedience to god's law only as revealed by Muhammad, and also requires that a Muslim marry a fellow Muslim. The catholic churches until recent years insisted that a non-Catholic partner sign a prenuptial agreement to raise any catholic children. Particular Christian sects preach that all outsiders are damned to eternal fire and prohibit any marriage to people of different faith. At this specific point the problem may occur with the faith plays a major role in decision making this is if the partner is intensely religious.

As they approach on each other's separate territory, there is a new language, new customs and a new standard of "normal" to be learned. While culture a certain behavior might be accepted, here it might cause native offense. This sought of marriage is similar to a foreign alliance, with two separate people coming together and discovering the heritage and history of the other.

2.1 Disapproval from parents and rejection from society

No man is different from the other; every human being is created equal. Some optimists believe it's the mind of one that creates all the boundaries. But over the time when people get used to one way of living, it is likely that they maintain the trend ,generation after generation, this is where culture plays a role. Once you are used to that play its is very hard to get rid of it or adopt a different 'style of living'. Culture is a total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge, which constitute the shared bases of social action (Collins dictionary).So as these practices are a significant and unique part of a group of people at a particular period, they are no longer equal anymore, one would be different from the other from the thoughts and beliefs. Intercultural marriages goes beyond the racial divide, Which will lead to discrimination by people around them and which may make it uncomfortable to family and parents Interfaith, intercultural and interracial marriages are subject to special stresses and strains beyond those experienced in most marriages. Issues are apparent from early in the relationship.Differences often emerge during wedding planning, and these can involve the expectations of partners' families of origin about the wedding ceremony, etc. Child rearing can also bring religious, cultural and/or racial issues to the surface as decisions about religious practices and education are confronted for the first time.(Patricia S.& Gregory A.,2003)

Disapproval from parents for a cross cultural marriage is customary. Parents should play a major role in their children's marriage set up. As a matter of fact the parents fear to risk the life of their unmarried children who might face discrimination from the partner's family members. There maybe also be communication problems if they speak different languages. And It is typical of parents to want there children to find a spouse from there own religion and culture, just to make life easier, and this a better place to live.There is situations where they decide to migrate to the spouses country ,which Isliving far away from there own family. The parents of an interracial couple usually feel that they have been lowered by their children. A cross cultural communication in an marriage should respect differences. In marriage you just don't marry another you interconnect with a another family as a whole .Intercultural marriages can also include people from different races getting together ,a situation where there is much more complicated issues when it comes to marriage.(the cultural difference is greater).

On the contrary ,there is intercultural marriages present within the country like in India, The culture of India is an amalgamation of these diverse sub-cultures spread all over the Indian subcontinent and traditions that are several millennia old .Religiously, Hindus form the majority, followed by Muslims The Republic of India's state boundaries are largely drawn based on linguistic groups; this decision led to the preservation and continuation of local ethno-linguistic cultures. Thus, states differ from one another in language, culture, cuisine, clothing, literary style, architecture, music (Wikipedia)

Another problem is that many of the couples have to encounter is societal disapproval. We have to cope up with our society in spite of our own opinion. The society on the other hand considers intercultural marriages as straying from traditional values. A Society is an organization of people who share a common cultural and social background.(oak,2007) The consequences of marriage affect every aspect of society. It occupies the most intimate aspect of personal privacy and personal love and reaches the pillars of the sacred institutions of a culture. Marriage is the pillar of society, but it is also the pillar of government, business, and the military.(wood,2010)There is mere open minded people who would give all the support they can, there will always be others who would make the couple feel unwelcome. The most abusive treatment would come from other children. During courtship, many of the racial differences might have overlooked, but after marriage the couple might find t difficult to make adjustment as each group practices a different way of life. Another discouraging occurs when the couples try to participate in social organizations. Although society's disapproval will not affect the couple as seriously as parental disapproval,it is still an issue that cannot be ignored. ( " Sure". Sure as it is multicultural marriage requires a lot of sacrifice.

We have to cope up with our society in spite of our own opinion. The society on the other hand considers intercultural marriages as straying from traditional values. A Society is an organization of people who share a common cultural and social background. (Oak, 2007) The consequences of marriage affect every aspect of society. It occupies the most intimate aspect of personal privacy and personal love and reaches the pillars of the sacred institutions of a culture. Marriage is the pillar of society, but it is also the pillar of government, business, and the military. (Wood, 2010).

In this global world nowadays people are becoming accepting more than they used to, and less ignorant. To the eyes of the person who is getting married this may no longer matter as love has no boundaries .It really does not .May be our soul mate is from a different country and religion all together. Marriage is a union of two who are in love.Realtionships depends on the person in them. Care and trust is more important than what the persons religious or cultural background is.There will also be less discrimination amongst races.

Nevertheless , There comes a point where is really does matter ,because a marriage needs to be maintained throughout with commitment and understanding ,it is a bond that is virtually irrevocable. In order to be more comprehensive it is excelling if they have a grip of what it is ,even better having practiced the same. Parents agreement for a marriage would be very important and as it is a blessing from them indeed for the years ahead, many face this problem, because parents do not think like the present generation does. Also the society holds the view that a marriage is the stability provided by a life-long promise of remaining together which makes marriage the institution most suited to rearing and socializing the next generation of members, a necessary task if the society's norms, values, and goals are to be maintained and if the society itself is to be is to be immortalized.(M.white,1995) Each culture has its own way of communicating, arguing, eating, sharing, and showing affection. Most cultures remain intact by passing along their nuances, habits, and sayings for hundreds of years, with only slight variations occurring within each generation.(Henshaw ,n.d)

2.3 Culture dissipation

There are numerous cultures available through out the world. People around the globe are similar in their essential humanity:we communicate with each other, we sustain ourselves with food, and when we sleep we often dream. Yet we speak different languages, eat different foods, and dream different dreams. These are what we call the cultural differences. (Jervis.N,2006). Let not scores of men/women abandon their culture and disappoint there parents and family in any way. All religions that accept or desire converts have had to adapt themselves to the cultures where they spread or they would not have been accepted. (Jervis.N, 2006)In the new era, as intercultural marriages are present, dissipation of culture is on the increase. As people migrate, get married to people of different culture and religion, there will be less who maintains the traditions ethics and values that they are nurtured with. These differences like religion, ethics etc. affects the spiritual stability of the marriage in a unforeseen manner. Why is culture so important? In a society groups of people are interactive and interpersonal. In order to understand the groups to which one belongs it is important to recognize the various cultures or habits and traditions within each group. It makes for better understanding between diverse groups.(yahoo-ask answers)Lets get this through, cultures are constantly changing. The attitudes, values, goals the practices that characterize each society. Technological innovation and contact with other cultures may cause these to change dramatically.

An intercultural marriage is one of the causes for cultures to go extinct. And it promotes cultural discontinuity. Cultures do changes , they are never static. The responsibility of us to maintain it .also some convert from one religion to another after an intercultural marriages due to the influence of the new environment this may not always be good. After the marriage the spouse most probably the female might not experience same traditions and ethics in the new family. There will be no one to maintain it's cultures are connected to language and traditions and religions.cultural continuity is important, continuity requires that a culture stays the same - that's impossible - just that certain central aspects of a culture, such as particular beliefs or traditions, remain(gorigirl,2009)

On the other hand, some people believe an intercultural marriage does bring about many cultures together, and ensures freedom, unity in the society and traditions should be revisited because if not women nowadays will be locked up in kitchens like in the 16th century. Cultural diffusion is good. Less racial discrimination because no one is neglecting anyone due to cultural barriers .It will also help over racists' minds of few. No boundaries for love will make life easy for couples from different cultures

We will always love our traditions and respect it as a part of us and would love to even teach our kids the same way.. But with intercultural marriages sacrifices have to be made.Intercultural marriage is a perfect example of the creative destruction that, when successful, leads to both great innovation and happy, meaningful lives. Every marriage consists of the creation of a new family culture -but with intercultural marriages each individual is bringing a completely distinct culture and set of traditions to the table to be combined.(gorigirl,2009) Misbelieving in cultures will give a person no direction and sense of identity and uniqueness; people will become less traditional, religious because of the influence of many cultures and will also lead to language death. Part of our culture is language and it affects the cultural identity of the tribes or ethnic groups They will not stick to one culture and would adjust according to there ideas as the culture is destroyed (mixed)and ignored by them .People would be less civilized after some generation as they are not nurture according to one way of living ,they will easily adopt to any change which maybe give them no identity.


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3.0 Conclusion

Diversity and unity amongst people is the best, But this world is not perfect .A relationship is hard to maintain. Especially a intercultural or interracial marriage as they have to face new challenges every day, there are many hurdles they should overcome .Family and society perceptions matters. Unity is a good thing and discrimination should be lessened but miscegenation is always not the solution to reduce or top discrimination, it should come within our selves and not with due to the respect of a relationship as if it is so, it might fade after sometime when the spark of the love is faded. Many difficulties should be overcome for a success of a intercultural marriage like maintain a family. The shared beliefs and values of people should not leave them after some time, it should always in them, An intercultural marriage is affected by the cultural shock, diverse of marriage laws which can lead in to disagreements plus adaptation to a various cultures and environment factors. Language barriers and different traditions they are nurtured to people .Spouse facing discrimination due to color and differences, if he/she is beyond the racial divide and dissipation of cultures occure. Sometimes the differences of each other maybe to to hard to handle over time also let not let go of our religion and beliefs and values due to a marriage, as our future generations need a proper culture to adopt to and to be brought up properly.Let not our own traditions breakdown .

6.0 Recommendation.

As intercultural marriages are faced with many barriers, due to family issues and adaptation to the culture. A marriage is not easy to maintain and its more challenging as its an intercultural marriage.As in this modern era people should be more accepting and diverse.

üParents should be more attentive about the unmarried children's desires ,think more out of the box and support them throughout regardless of the cultural barriers. They should focus more on the person and the character and not judge them by the race or religion that person belongs to.

üPre-marriage counseling would help to smoothen the beginning of the marriage, due to the differences

üAvoiding conversions to other and have faith in what they always believed in and not to change because of a marriage.

ü Parents should always give there blessings to a marriage no matter how much they like it or not, because it does affect the couple emotionally and psychologically

üThe society should be more accepting to differences

ü They couple should get together and spend more time each of their family's and the places they were bought up ,for the spouse to feel comfortable and less strange in adopt to changes

üFamily and relatives should always help and support the couple throughout because it's a tough challenge they have to face.

üExtra attention should be given to the differences and weak points of the couple so they can work on it before things go out of it is very much possible due to the differences in each other

üFor traditions and cultures to be continued till today people should be more rational and moral.

Supplementary research can be done on areas like impact on :

Familylife, Impact on children, nature of intercultural marriages.

As these areas are not covered in the above repot, these will help expand the topic into further branches

Recommended areas to research on: - Advantages of intercultural and marriages in the new era.