Interracial, Intercultural & Interethnic Couples
“We fell in love despite our differences and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created”
– Nicholas Sparks
Can we experience a happy and successful relationship if we are from a different race, culture, and religion?
Will we be able to overcome the obstacles and challenges in being together?
Are we going to find a connection in our differences, or will it dismantle our relationships?
Unfortunately, interracial, intercultural, and interfaith couples experience significant challenges and obstacles in merging as a couple and having a family due to institutionalized and systemic racism in our culture and society. These couples may experience more significant conflict difficulties and misunderstandings when coming together in a union.
Intercultural, Interracial & Interethnic Challenges
· Rejection from family and friends
· Communication and language issues
· Challenges in collectivistic vs. individualistic cultures
· Discrimination and disapproval from others
· Misunderstandings of cultural traditions
· Different holiday customs and traditions
· Separate religious and spiritual beliefs and practices
· Nationalistic, ethnic, and social superiority
· Feeling of owing the partner due to citizenship matrimony
· Lack of inclusion in family gatherings and holidays
· Isolation, loneliness, and lack of community
· Others viewing your relationship as less important
These racial, spiritual, and cultural differences do not predict that your relationship will be unhappy. Having a conversation and dialogue to develop compassion and understanding is essential in establishing a solid foundation. What can derail this relationship is the ineffective and unproductive way of addressing the various issues that can negatively influence the relationship.
Healthy Ways to Implement Understanding of Differences
· Learn about your partner’s ethnicity, race, culture, traditions, and spirituality
· List the positive strengths and the opposing weaknesses of both ethnicities, races, religions, and cultures.
· Learn to listen actively, be curious and open, and ask questions about your partners, beliefs, culture, traditions, and spirituality.
· Learn effective communication skills
· Address any myths and stereotypes of ethnicity, race, culture, and religion
· If you are planning on having children, discuss how you would raise your children, and what are the important values you would like to teach them
· Discuss holiday customs and traditions and find a compromise to celebrate the holidays together and create meaningful traditions
· Be creative and establish new traditions for you as a couple and a family
Have an interracial, intercultural, and interfaith couple has its share of difficulties. However, it can be enriching as you both learn and grow in developing a solid foundation of love, compassion, and understanding in your relationship. I am delighted to help you both establish a meaningful relationship. Please feel free to contact me today.
Inman, AG, Altman, A, Kaduvettoor-Davidson, A, Carr, A, Walker, JA. Cultural intersections: A qualitative inquiry into the experience of Asian-Indian White interracial couples. Family Process. 2011;50(2):248-266. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2011.01358.x
Lichter DT, Qian Z. Boundary Blurring? Racial Identification among the Children of Interracial Couples. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci. 2018;677(1):81-94. doi:10.1177/0002716218760507
Seshadri, G, Knudson-Martin, C. How couples manage interracial and intercultural differences: Implications for clinical practice. J Marital Fam Ther. 2013;39(1):43-58. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00262.x