The presence of intercultural marriages and understanding is clear and increasing in societies throughout the world. Cultural groups have a tendency to normally have a more accepting attitude toward couples that have chosen companions outside their immediate ethnic or cultural identity. The focus of this report addresses some of the issues, challenges, conflicts and chances that exist as persons choose individuals for marriage outside the mainland boundary. A pyramidal model is familiarized to assist the reader in understanding the framework upon which this document is based.
1.1 RESEARCH BACKGROUND In modern days, we found out that interracial marriage is increasing day by day in most of the countries. According to Jennifer Lee, “Intermarriage is increasing in the U.S. In 1960, less than 1% of U.S marriages were interracial, but by 2008, this figure rose to 7.6%, meaning that 1 out of every 13 U.S. marriages was interracial. If we look at only new marriages that took place in 2008, the figure rises to 14.6%, translating to 1 out of every 7 American marriages.”
In interracial marriage, it is important for both parties to understand that they are getting involved in intercultural marriage. Consequently, they should be aware that there will be differences in the cultural values and beliefs. Moreover, they should respect each other’s rights and view with regard to their family.
1.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE SITUATION
This report is mainly to find out the conflicts that occur in intercultural marriages, and how they go through and manage the conflict in a meaningful and responsible manner. Intercultural marriage leads to many different problems and challenges such as misunderstanding cultural beliefs, miscommunication and the difficulties to adopt in a new environment. Among these problems we would like to focus on conflict of our interviewer. Our interviewee was an AiU student’s mother. Her sister-in-law had some misunderstandings about her.
1.3 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter examines literature that is related to the current study; intercultural marriage. This chapter will be the summary of the article that we have chosen for our topic and our review. SUMMARY – Article 1 (Communication in Intercultural Marriages: Managing Cultural Differences and Conflict for Marital Satisfaction).
The study consists of Asians wives and Caucasian American husbands and vice versa. Renalds states that intercultural conflict occurs because individual holds various backgrounds, values and beliefs (2005). Conflict has a negative meaning in many situations; however conflict can turn out positive results. Similarly, an intercultural marriage brings different issues that lead to conflicts between the two people involved. Below are the internal and external factors impacting communication that Renalds found in his research. 1. Language fluency 2. High context and low context communication 3. Family In addition, the study stresses the significance of intercultural communication competence within intercultural marriages. With this, the spouse’s knowledge and skills are the necessary factors contributing intercultural communication competence within couples. Moreover, the study evaluates the conflict that the couples faced and how they handle it. There are two types of conflicts that may occur in marriage relationships; constructive and destructive conflict.
Constructive conflict is managing of conflict whereby both parties find fulfilment in the decision and maintain marital contentment from the relationship even though differences exist. While destructive conflict occurs when couples try to expand the root of the problems and make it even worse.
REVIEW Indeed, intercultural marriage has its own advantage and disadvantage impact for both parties involved, due to the fact that intercultural couples are set with a different cultural backgrounds, different ways of relating to one another, and different ways of resolving their differences. I personally agree with the researcher that language is one of the main barriers in interracial marriage. This is because language is the basis to effective communication to one another. So, when planning to get married to a person different from your culture, it is better to learn his or her language so that it is easy to communicate. Moreover, the U.S is an individualistic culture and Asian is a collectivist culture which is difficult for the couples to communicate due to the different level of communication. The U.S tends to use low-context of communication which is more direct. Whereas Asian culture makes use of high-context communication which emphasize the ability to read nonverbal cues and understands the situation. SUMMARY – Article 2 (Thoughts and Advise on Intercultural Communication) No matter your background, an interracial marriage will be met with difficulties on both sides. Even those who marry within the race will often face problems in marrying outside the society, or people from a specific part of the same country, people even consider these marriages to be against the norm. The cultural aspect can get confusing because while a person is from Pakistan and his wife is an Arab. Both of them grew up in two different cultures also they had two different cultural beliefs even if they were from the same religion. This is why it is infuriating many marriages being held up. The both parties are practicing the same religion however their cultural beliefs are different. It is what comes outside of that which can cause problems. The first problem is that in this case, the only ‘experience’ that they have learnt from their own parents. These things might be due to the way he was brought up; moreover both of them had different expectations from each another. This is a situation where the culture has caused despite them. Another problem that is faces is the in-laws problems. Different cultures have different expectations of their sons-in-law or daughters-in-law. Also, language barriers can also be an issue here. Children also play a major role in this. Most, of the time the children spend with their mother. They learn their mother’s language and the mother’s culture. What about the father’s culture. They just learn a few. In this case it will be difficult for the child to get along with the fathers family. Review It i
1.4 METHODOLOGY In order to pursue our subject of interest we collected a data through an online interview with the parent of one of our AiU students who is from Sri Lanka “the pearl of Indian ocean and her mother is from The Republic of The Maldives “the sunny side of life”. Our respondent is 53 years old and they are currently staying in Maldives. We prepared seven (7) questions (Please see in Appendix section) that we made. We strategically selected the questions that we considered relevant to our theme of study.
2.0 DISCUSSION In this section we want to discuss the problems, challenges and difficulties that our respondent has faced marrying from another culture. Moreover, we will investigate how she handle and go through it. 2.1 ANALYSIS The study will be using the information from our interviewee’s own experience in intercultural marriage. We will also use the secondary sources – the Internet to find reliable articles, published research and findings that is relevant to support our theme of study. 2.2 FINDINGS/RESULTS We interviewed Aminath Afra’s (student from AIU) parents since they are from two different countries. Her father is from Sri Lanka “the pearl of Indian ocean” and her mother is from The Republic of The Maldives “the sunny side of life”. Her father was a businessman and he use to travel to the Maldives for some of his business matters, and that was how he met her mother. After they got married they agreed to move to Sri Lanka. It was her mother’s first experience to move to another country. She didn’t know how to communicate with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law at first. However, her father-in-law and brother-in-law knew English. She gave her interest to learn Sinhala – the Sri Lankan language so that she could have a better mode of communication with her husband’s family. She learned the language by watching Sinhala movies and by trying to communicate with her house maid. It took her a year or two to learn it. The conflict began from a funeral.
Her sister-in-law’s relation passed away and in the Sri Lankan culture it is important to attend a funeral or wedding function. If you don’t attend then you will be misunderstood. Though, she was unable to attend the funeral since her husband was in Singapore for some business matters. She was left alone with three small children in a country where she was new and didn’t know to communicate. Therefore, she was misunderstood by her sister-in-law. Even though she was misunderstood by her sister-in-law, she understood her situation and continued her life. She helped her in-laws in all the possible ways she could. She tried her very best to learn their culture and adopt it. Years passed by and her in-laws understood she was innocent, helpful, understanding and she would always stand beside her husband’s family in any situation although it’s good or bad. They felt guilty for the conflict they had about her. However, she had forgotten all that had happened. Afra’s father told us; one year before his father passed away he said that “in the ocean you can find a few pearls. Like that I have my daughter-in-law who is a pearl.”
3.0 CONCLUSION In this section, we are going to summarize our findings and give a conclusion for our study. Moreover, we will be giving some recommendations to avoid conflicts in intercultural marriage. 3.1 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS The lady moved to her husband’s country after her marriage. She didn’t know the Sri Lankan language to communicate with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Therefore she learned it. Move over, while her husband was in a business trip in Singapore, her sister-in-law’s relation passed away. However, she couldn’t attend the funeral since she was left alone in a new country with three children. As a result her sister-in-law had a misunderstanding. The lady understood her situation and lived her life. She learnt the language that she could communicate with the family also helped them in every possible way she could. She always stood for the rights of them and her in-laws understood the conflict was not right. They knew she was innocent and the felt sorry for their mistake. 3.2 CONCLUSION
3.3 RECOMMENDATIONS It is important to ensure and establish the means to deal with the conflict that will arise when you get married in order to have a healthy and successful marriage. Below are some of the recommendations to avoid intercultural marriage conflict:
Knowledge To make an intercultural marriage work, it is always good to explore and study partner’s cultures and values closely. Getting to know one another is vital for a good and lasting relationship. Effective communication Effective communication is essential for every relationship. For intercultural marriage, communication may be a challenge part due to the fact that both partners are from different countries or cultures. However, if both parties will try their best to learn the partner’s language so it will be easy to communicate and express their feelings. Patience and Acceptance Despite the differences between the two parties, they should understand that the culture is different. In some situation you might have to face cultural problems. Sometimes it’s not possible to find compromise therefore, it is important to understand and deal it in a responsible and respectful manner. While dealing your problem, have patience, adjust and accept it in a polite approach. Understand the things that you and your partner have in common. In addition to this, accept that there will be differences between both of you.
The different parts of your ethnic backgrounds and cultures are likely to be some of the most inspiring parts of your lives. Bringing these things into concern as a result, it will be more fulfilling for both of your life. Share the traditions or cultural beliefs that you believe that is most important for your partner to build a successful marriage life.
Respect Respect for each other’s cultures and family traditions prior to our marriage or after. Interracial couples often face rejection from their own families because of traditional beliefs. In any case this is an issue in your marriage, however it’s still important to remember to respect the beliefs and traditions of your partner’s family and, find out away to bring your family together. In addition, have limits with any family members or friends who try to interfere. Although, it is important to respect your family’s beliefs, however it is also important to protect your marriage. People might to change your mind since it is a intercultural marriage.
4.0 REFERENCES Lee, J. (2011). Interracial marriage and the meaning of Multiraciality: Rising immigration and intermarriage. The Society Pages. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/07/13/interracial-marriage-and-the-meaning-of-multiraciality/
Renalds, T. G. (2011). Communication in Intercultural Marriages: Managing cultural differences and conflict for marital satisfaction. Unpublished master’s thesis, Liberty University. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/masters/204/
Walker, E. M. (2005). Interracial couples: The impact of race and gender on one’s experience of discrimination based on the race of the partner. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Maryland, College Park. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from: http://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/2556/1/umi-umd-2440.pdf
Yen, H. (2012). Interracial marriage in U.S hits new high: 1 in 12. NBCNEWS.com. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from: http://www. msnbc.msn. com /id/ 464 09832 /ns/ us news-life/t/interracial-marriage-us-hits-new-high/#.ULh9aaxJ6fY
5.0 APPENDIX 1. Where is your spouse come from? My spouse is from Sri Lanka. 2. How old where you when you got married? I was 20 years old. 3. Where did you live after you got married? I lived in my country for 4 years and after I got 3 children I moved to my husband’s country. 4. What was the difficulty that you faced when you moved to your spouse’s hometown? I faced a lot of difficulties since it was my first experience moving abroad. Although, my husband’s father and brother knew English his mother and sisters didn’t know English. Therefore, I had difficulties in communicating with them. Nevertheless, I learnt their language by watching TV and trying communicating with my house maid. In a year or two I learnt their language, also. 5. Were you accepted by the family? I was accepted by my mother in law and father in law but still my brother in law and sister in laws didn’t accept me. 6. Did you face any conflict? Yes, when my husband was in Singapore, my sister-in-laws relation passed away and I was unable to attend the funeral. Since, I was left all alone with three little children in a country that I didn’t know to communicate. In the Sri Lankan culture it is important to attend funerals and wedding functions or else you will be misunderstood. 7. How did you solve the conflict? I understood my situation and I learnt my husband’s language to have a better mode of communication with my husband’s family. Also I tried my level best to understand them and help them in all the possible way I could. Moreover I would always be with my husband’s family even if it would be a bad or good time.