How did you deal with intercultural expectations?

posted 2 years ago in Intercultural
Post # 3
Member
2584 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

So my Fiance moved to America from Russia when he was 16, I am born and raised in California. We have definitely had our fair share of interesting intercultural relations. Parent involvement is definitely one of them. As is food. It took them five years to stop offering me meat at every meal. Even when we stayed for multiple meals in a row. Basically me being vegetarian to them is blasphemous. 

Anyway, I feel like there are some big differences in how we were raised, he was 11 when communism fell. That is so different from how I grew up. But that is part of what makes us so strong. 

However, if there were things like his mom coming to stay for a month, and he didn’t see a problem with that, then I’d have to say something. Luckily my Fiance would never go along with that. 

Post # 4
Member
4764 posts
Honey bee

akshali2000 :  About the mom staying for a month that’s a thing in our family. We stayed with my grandma for months and she would come stay with us for months. However they did live in  Europe but family staying for awhile is just a thing where we’re from. Maybe start off with two weeks to get used to it? We all had good relationships. I point this out because once a family member is gone those memories of the visits ate really nice.

Edited to add

I don’t know what to say about the wedding ceremony other than see what he would like and perhaps there is s compromise? I’ve had friends do an American wedding and a separate wedding of their culture. Perhaps that’s an option? Or a combined version.

Hugs! 

 

Post # 5
Member
365 posts
Helper bee

akshali2000 :  many of these things are still like regular things that spouses need to work out. (Like longer family visits.) it seems that you’re both Hindu? I’d either try to see if there could be two different wedding ceremonies or, if it’s typical in both of your cultures doe bride’s family to host the wedding and your family is prepared to do that, you’ve got a kinda easy out. Because many of the decisions where you (and him?) want something different from what his parents want wouldn’t have to be “yours”- they could be your parents’ decisions according to their customs since they’re paying. There are a bunch of different ways to work things out- it depends on what the specific issue is and if your Fiance is on the same page as you.

I can also be a ppl pleaser at times, but this is my wedding and I have to stand up for myself enough to make sure it has the essential elements of what I want. My fiancé and I wouldn’t have it that my outfits, the time, or anything important about the wedding are not what I like. I compromise on some things, but not all and not on parts that are very important to me.

Post # 7
Member
2584 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

akshali2000 :  I asked a bunch of questions about it when we first began dating. It fascinated me. His Babushka (grandmother) is the really fascinating one though. She’s in her 90s, used to be a famous Russian gymnast and is one of the kindest, strongest women I’ve ever known. I cannot imagine being a Russian Jew in that day and age…

Speaking of food my Fiance has mentioned that they were instructed to finish all their food because “grandpa Lenin” would be mad 😼.

Post # 8
Member
1150 posts
Bumble bee

Your SO’s mom probably would have the most influence on him (besides you of course) in terms of cultural specific requirements for the wedding and marriage. Although it’s his job to compromise with his mom to make things work, I notice among my friends who inter-married between nationalities, cultural, and religions is that it is best to get to know your soon-to-be Mother-In-Law and spend time with her. If you know her well enough to bring up these harder conversations about religious/cultural requirements that she might have, it’ll be easy to have a heart-to-heat and compromise with what you both can or cannot realistically do.

It’s a lot easier than relaying messages to your SO, then him to his mom, then his mom relay back to her son and then to you. This tends to cause a lot of communication error and quite a heartache in the end for some of the couples I know. If you get the go-ahead from his mom, there’s VERY few people that can object to his mom’s authority over all the other relatives so this will cut out a lot of the drama by the other relatives.

Post # 9
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

I was born and raised in US my fiancĂ© born and raised (and lives) in Morocco. It’s a long distance relationship for us too while we navigate this visa process. My advise would be do what makes the most people happy. If you’re worried about a long wedding ceremony, in the grand scheme of life, it’s not that big of a deal. It might be awkward with your Mother-In-Law staying an extended time but you don’t know till you do it and maybe it would be great for you! 

We love each other a lot so when I’m in Morocco and something is waaaaaaay different (communal eating dishes, seperating women and men, not being allowed to be alone together) I just remind him that’s not how it’s done in the US! I smile and he does and everything is fine because we’re in love and will be together soon. 

Post # 10
Member
230 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

I’m English, fiance is Thai. From totally different worlds (upbringing, education, everything). We live in his country so I think it’s harder for me than it is for him – but I don’t think he could ever adapt to living in the UK anyway. We are getting married next month and I am really excited to combine our cultures for the wedding – we will have a Buddhist ceremony in the morning to be blessed by monks, then we will have a western style ceremony in the evening. 

Post # 11
Member
365 posts
Helper bee

akshali2000 :  I love the idea of a US ceremony and another one in India that is more his family’s. That sounds great. And 2 days seems fine. Tons of ppl do 2 different ceremonies when customs are different or compromise in a fusion one. If you won’t stand up for yourself as much, 2 different ceremonies seems best.

For me, I’ve been comfortable speaking up on everything I want and don’t wantfor wedding and ceremony (I sometimes take a backseat on some other events)- I want to walk in the way I want to walk in; I am not okay w “cocktail hour” being before the ceremony and then entering to ppl seated at tables and no break between ceremony and reception (my guesss aren’t used to that & it’d be problematic); I will  not wear the color I don’t like; I’ll do my hair the way I want to and wear shoes I want to wear; I’m deciding on any bridesmaid coordination stuff; I’m deciding timing (and all of this stuff my Fiance gets on same page as me and helps me with if there are any problems even tho his parents are paying).

For the PDA type stuff- maybe you could preempt some of it by going to visit his family more often? And keeping trips to 1-2weeks and maybe doing mini-vacay trips during some visits?

Post # 13
Member
3458 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

My husband and I sound very much like the two of you in the sense that we are from different parts of the same continent (although he was born and raised there and I’m Americanized). We also were long distance. We eventually realized that (1) we had underestimated how much we had in common culturally, because for some reason those few thousand miles–plus my American upbringing– made a real difference in cultural expectations and (2) many of the things that we each considered “cultural” norms were moreso just traditions of our respective families.

Keeping that second point in mind is what helped me to stay sane and feel less obligated to bend to any “cultural” expectations from his family. For example, when his mother tried to invite a million people to my bridal suite the night before the wedding for a pre-ceremony shindig that she hadn’t bothered to clear with me first. When I said no, she tried “it’s a tradition! don’t you have any respect for our culture?!” and I reminded her that I’m familiar with the tradition and that nowhere does it state that MILs are permitted to barge into my $600/night suite unannounced. That said, I’m very accomodating and try to make her happy, but I do so under the guise of being kind to my in-laws as opposed to an obligation to uphold my husband’s culture, which would come with a bit more pressure. 

I’m sure it will all work out fine for your guys, especially if you’re open with each other and try not to take things too personally. Best wishes to you!

Post # 15
Member
365 posts
Helper bee

akshali2000 :  hey there, haha glad to chat again. I don’t want to overstate stuff either. I am a ppl pleaser generally, so I don’t like to rock the boat, but my Fiance is helping me to make sure I’m happy with everything. So I am wearing desi clothes for the big events (which I’m thrilled to do actually), but on my terms.

Its important to figure out where you’re happy w what they want and suggest it quickly- that’ll help them see that it isn’t a battle and that their wants also matter to you. I happily volunteered to wear a super old school traditional outfit his grandma had made when he was born for part of a big event. Doing that got me all kinds of good will w my Fiance and his parents. I also am doing everything traditional (for his family’s region/culture) that I’m okay with- wearing yellow for manja/haldi/mayu, green for mehndi, red for wedding; wearing tons of gold touches and jewelry (shiny and super yellow); wearing outfits that his mom thinks are heavy enough; wearing a shumar/jhoomar (the side tika); getting mehndi/henna done; covering my head at appropriate parts: not dressing showing skin that his family’s not comfortable with at any event; wearing the traditional large hoop nose ring for part; doing the religious ceremony; having a wedding as big as they want; including his mom and sister in law in getting ready together as they want; helping his mom choose whatever favors she wants and helping to make them (she loved this part).

I’ve known other brides (including desi brides) who haven’t done a bunch of those things and my Fiance quickly reminds his parents if they ever start trying to make me do something. He is always the one to tell them no or to say he wants something different than they do (this makes it way easier).

the things that we’re doing differently than their preferences and w no disappointment or anything negative from them: I’m wearing lehenga cholis for the 2 biggest events (usually someone would change styles more but I don’t like the looser/flowy anarkalis and kurtis and vests as much); those 2 outfits look pretty similar and are the same material; I’m not wearing anything w pink in it anywhere; I’m having bridesmaids kinda (they’ll walk in w me in color similar outfits of their own choosing that aren’t dressy enough for desi style, then sit down); he isn’t doing a baraat or entering in any special way; we’re doing it at our preferred venue (all outside); he isn’t wearing the super ornate stuff that more guys wear now and he isn’t wearing the shoes; his parents aren’t setting up our honeymoon suite or visiting it.

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