Skip to content

Intercultural marriages and need for fulfillment

18/10/2013

iStock_000022276595Large

A universal feature of marriage is the need for fulfillment. A lasting relationship requires one’s needs and preferences to be met and fulfilled. An individual who feels a sense of something lacking could be led to believe that a foreign spouse would fill the gap that a person from his or her culture would not be able to fill or help complete.[1] These people are sometimes called  “compensators,” that is, people…

… “who for one reason or another feel incomplete and are searching for someone to ‘fill the holes’ in their personalities, who will ‘counterbalance’ them in some way. They choose a partner they believe will provide them with what they covet or believe they lack.”[2]

This « fulfillment quest » is obviously not a specific predisposition to intercultural marriages but rather a universal of mate selection. However, the search for someone who can fill a need may be so strong that one individual may be willing to open new horizons and frontiers he or she never expected to explore. In other words, one may consider an intercultural marriage on the basis of his need for fulfillment.

There is another aspect of this desire for fulfillment. Someone who feels or who actually is excluded from their community will possibly seek an “outsider” for their life partner. Because of their exclusion from the community of origin, whether felt or real, they will aspire to break from the social rules which once governed them. As a result, such a person will seek to become different and therefore try to belong to another culture in which he or she can assimilate through marriage.[3] At the field research level, some observed that wives of intercultural marriages sometimes feel uneasy in their original culture, particularly about the sexual stereotype produced by their culture. In effect, they did not see themselves fitting into their own culture’s expectations nor could they accept a spouse who did. Though they sometimes become involved with partners of their country as teenagers, they want a different kind of adult relationship than the ones they experienced.[4] An intercultural marriage becomes therefore, for some, an opportunity for personal and marital fulfillment.

QUESTIONS:
  • Does your spouse fulfill some of your needs? Which one(s)? 
  • Do you feel that your intercultural spouse fulfills your personal or marital need(s) better than someone of your community or country would ever have fulfilled? Why, and how?

Please comment and share

twitter-icone-5603-128Don’t forget to sign on our twitter account: INTERCOUPLECULT

[1] Petit, La migration dans l’organisation psychique des couples interculturels, 33.

[2] Romano, Intercultural Marriage, 9.

[3] Petit, La migration dans l’organisation psychique des couples interculturels, 34.

[4] Nina Cohen, « Same or Different? A Problem of Identity in Cross-Cultural Marriages, » Journal of Family Therapy, no. 4 (1982), 186.

Mariages mixtes au sein de la communauté noire aux Etats-Unis

26/09/2013

Un rapport récent du Pew Research Center aux Etats-Unis a apporté une nouvelle perspective sur les mariages mixtes aux Etats-Unis particulièrement entre membres de la communauté blanche et noire. Le détail des résultats de cette enquête peut se trouver (en anglais) sur ce lien internet, ICI.

En résumé cette enquête montre:

–       qu’en 2010, 15,1% des mariages célébrés aux Etats-Unis étaient interculturels (les termes utilisés aux Etats-Unis sont généralement « interraciaux » ou « interethniques »),

–       que plus d’un tiers des adultes aux Etats-Unis affirme qu’un membre de leur famille est (déjà) marié à une personne d’une autre communauté ethnique,

–       que parmi ces mariages interculturels, 17% des membres de la communauté noire américaine se sont mariés à une personne d’un autre groupe ethnique, deux fois plus souvent les hommes (24%) que les femmes (9,3%),

–       qu’entre 1980 et 2008 les mariages impliquant une personne de la communauté noire-américaine et une personne d’une autre communauté ont triplé,

–       que 72% des membres de la communauté noire américaine affirment qu’ils ne voient aucune objection à ce qu’une personne de leur famille épouse un conjoint d’une autre communauté.

De nombreux films aux Etats-Unis ont mis en scène la problématique de l’acceptation d’un conjoint, différent, étranger. BLACK WHITE est l’une de ces comédies américaines qui traite  des rapports beau-père / gendre lorsque le premier est noir-américain, et le deuxième, blanc. L’histoire se déroule dans un milieu de la classe moyenne noire dans les années 2000. Alors que le film prétend être un remake inversé du film  « Devine qui vient dîner » il est plutôt une paraphrase cinématographique de « Mon père et moi ». Le film peut paraître pour certain lourd tant les clichés sont forcés et les propos, parfois, grossiers.

Black-white-affiche-8196

Ce film présente toutefois un intérêt : celui de montrer que l’acceptation d’une personne étrangère est un défi pour toute culture, y compris pour les membres d’une culture minoritaire et autrefois opprimée, la communauté noire aux Etats-Unis. Le fait de se marier ou de marier son enfant à quelqu’un qui représente la « majorité », blanche dans ce film, n’est ni automatiquement, ni facilement accepté même dans le cas où les familles sont toutes deux de niveau social équivalent. L’histoire, les relations entre communautés, jouent un rôle non-négligeable dans l’acceptation des mariages interculturels. Quelles pistes et stratégies adopter lorsque l’histoire pèse de tout son poids sur les rapports entre communautés ? Je vous propose trois pistes :

–       Se documenter sur l’histoire du pays de son conjoint ou sur l’histoire de sa communauté.

–       Apprendre la langue (étrangère) du conjoint ; Souvent à travers l’apprentissage de la langue de l’autre, on apprend aussi un peu de sa culture « de l’intérieur ».

–       Rencontrer et parler à des personnes de la communauté de son conjoint, particulièrement des personnes âgées, qui peuvent évoquer un passé qu’ils ont vécu directement dans leur chair.

MAINTENANT…

Connaissiez-vous l’histoire ou la culture de votre conjoint avant votre mariage ?

Quelles ressources et stratégies avez-vous utilisé ?

twitter-icone-5603-128Pour me suivre sur Twitter: INTERCOUPLECULT

 

 

The unexpected intercultural marriage of (Old Testament) Joseph

30/08/2013

iStock_000009756293Small

You may have heard of Old Testament Joseph, as a « fighter for integrity, » a leader known and appreciated for his wisdom and management skills. His story and life is presented in the book of Genesis from chapter 37 to chapter 50. The account of Joseph’s life in the Old Testament is indeed fascinating.

However, did you know about his unexpected marriage?

“And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:45 ESV)

Did you realize…

  • That he married a foreign wife, Asenath, known as the daughter of the Egyptian priest of On?
  • That On was also known as Heliopolis, the Egyptian center for sun worship, ten miles northeast of Cairo? The priests of On were known for being both powerful and wealthy in Egypt.
  • That Joseph’s wife was in all likeliness dedicated to a pagan god? Asenath, is a typical Egyptian name, possibly meaning “she belongs to the goddess Neit.”

Joseph’s marriage is unexpected as it seems to contradict both Abraham’s instructions for his son to marry within the community, and later legal instructions that strictly forbid intercultural, particularly, interreligious marriages.

Most biblical commentaries disregard the issue of his marriage with a foreign and « pagan » woman and rather address Joseph’s (Egyptian) change of name. Troubling fact: Scriptures do not suggest that he resisted such a marriage with a foreigner, in all likeliness worshiping foreign gods, thereby violating the cultural norm of his fathers.  The fact is, the last Old Testament patriarch, Joseph, entered in a mixed marriage, both nationally and religiously.

Why did Pharaoh choose her for Joseph in particular remains a mystery. Actually, both Joseph’s Egyptian name and his wife’s are mentioned in this verse alone, perhaps as a way to recognize and yet to minimize the issue of mixed marriage? Joseph being given a new Egyptian name and wife attests of his new social position in Egypt, a position with privileges he could hardly reject despite his covenantal background.[1]  This is actually the best way to make sense of his acceptance of intercultural and interreligious marriage: The context would not allow Joseph to take a stand against such a marriage as his wife is given by Pharaoh himself.

Is this explanation satisfying? Perhaps it is the only one we can settle on at the time of Joseph given the context. Joseph was a global citizen by antiquity’s standards when he married an Egyptian woman. Mass migrations and travel opportunities have always offered cultures that were traditionally self-reliant opportunities to enter into sudden and close contact with others. People, like Joseph, who travelled (extensively) and who therefore do not have strong roots to a particular place, these “citizens of the world”, are more likely to enter into intercultural marriage. They are, nowadays, described by authors as   true “internationals,” people who have lived outside their passport countries for most of the time they grew up. Their parents were business expatriates, diplomats, missionaries, military personnel or academics. They are people who do not feel they belong to a specific culture since they have been influenced by other cultures during their formative years. This is perhaps the case for Joseph, a global citizen by antiquity’s standards.

QUESTIONS:

  • Are you / do you know some of these « internationals » who chose to marry out?
  • Do you think that when one has no strong roots in a particular place he/she is more likely to engage into an intercultural marriage?

Please comment and share. 

If you want to read more on intermarriage in the Old Testament, I particularly recommend a short section of the book FLAME OF YAHWEH: Sexuality in the Old Testament.

If you are French-speaking you can click on the links below to get more information:

http://intercoupleculture.com/2012/05/20/mariages-mixtes-dans-les-textes-sacres-lancien-testamenti/

http://intercoupleculture.com/2012/08/03/mariages-mixtes-dans-les-textes-sacres-lancien-testament-ii/

 

twitter-icone-5603-128Don’t forget to sign on my twitter account: INTERCOUPLECULT

[1] Hamilton, Victor P. The Book of Genesis Chapters 18-50. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Edited by David A. Hubbard Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Co., 1995, p. 508.

Mariage interculturel « à la grecque »

18/05/2013

Lorsqu’une comédie nous parle de mariage interculturel…

Connaissez-vous Nia Vardalos?

City Walk Cinemas

Nia Vardalos était une actrice qui avait du mal à obtenir un rôle dans un film ou à la télévision, peut-être à cause de ses origines grecques. Face à cette difficulté, elle a décidé de monter sur les planches de théâtre où elle a raconté l’histoire de son mariage interculturel avec son mari, Ian, qui, comme dans le film, s’est fait baptiser grec orthodoxe. La pièce de théâtre a connu un succès immédiat et affichait complet chaque soir. Un jour, l’acteur Tom Hanks s’est rendu à une représentation, a rencontré Nia Vardalos et lui a suggéré d’en faire un film. Elle a écrit le scénario de « Mariage à la grecque » (My big fat greek wedding) et a été invitée par les producteurs à jouer le rôle principal. Aux Etats-Unis seulement cette comédie « romantique » a remporté plus de 200 millions de dollars. En voici la bande annonce:

Nia Vardalos explique:

« La famille grecque veut rester unie d’où l’importance de trouver un mari grec. Je voulais montrer un message de tolérance dans ce film: quand deux personnes ayant un arrière-plan culturel différent se rencontrent, qu’est-ce qui se passe? »

Ce film à travers son humour et ses clichés montrent plusieurs choses importantes pour les mariages interculturels:

– Certaines personnes se sentent presque prisonnières de l’endogamie que leur culture leur imposerait, de cette obligation de se marier avec quelqu’un de sa communauté. La pression de l’endogamie produirait-elle alors potentiellement une prédisposition à se marier « ailleurs », avec un(e) étranger(e)?

– « Je ferai tout ce que je pourrai pour pouvoir être accepté » même au prix d’une conversion religieuse dans le film et dans le cas de certains mariages interculturels. Mais est-ce réaliste? Est-ce souhaitable? Est-il si simple de vivre sous de nouvelles traditions religieuses ?

– Les mariages interculturels peuvent être mal vécus par les parents et les familles et perçus comme une trahison à la règle de l’endogamie. Ces mariages posent également la question des relations entre belles-familles qui devront, elles aussi, gérer leurs différences culturelles mutuelles: « Nous avons tous été gentils avec eux et ils nous regardaient comme si on s’était échappé d’un zoo. Cela ne marchera pas; ils sont différents… » dit le père grec à propos de la famille blanche américaine WASP.

– L’organisation de la cérémonie d’un mariage interculturel est un véritable défi souvent sous-estimé et qui s’avère difficile à gérer: le choix du lieu de réception, les invités (ceux des mariés ou ceux de la famille)… Un mariage interculturel est aussi la rencontre de cuisines et de régimes parfois très différents. Une famille peut être tentée de s’occuper de la cérémonie  pour garder un certain contrôle (culturel?) sur le déroulement de la journée.

Dans le film, le frère (grec) de l’actrice principale donne un dernier conseil à sa soeur avant son mariage:

« Ne laisse pas ton passé te dicter qui tu dois être, mais fais de ton passé une partie de ce que tu deviendras »

Quels sont les enseignements que vous avez tirés de ce film? N’hésitez pas à laisser un commentaire.

(My big fat greek wedding)
Film de Joel Zwick (États-Unis/Canada, 2002, 1h35mn)
Scénario : Nia Vardalos, d’après la pièce éponyme
Avec : Nia Vardalos (Toula Portokalos), John Corbett (Ian Miller), Michael Constantine (Gus Portokalos), Lainie Kazan (Maria Portokalos), Andrea Martin (tante Voula), Gia Carides (cousine Nikki), Joey Fatone (cousin Angelo)
Image : Jeff Jur, Musique : Alexander Janko, Chris Wilson, Production : Gold Circle Films, Home Box Office, MPH Entertainement

What every intercultural couple ought to know about their “legal” identity.

09/05/2013

or “Who are you, YOU, who want to marry someone from our country?”

Passport immigration stamp

“Who are you?” and “What is your identity?” are questions that intercultural couples will face early in their relationship.  This is especially true for those who do not have the same nationality, those who are called sometimes mixed, bi-national, transnational or international couples. In fact, if you have a different nationality from your spouse and want to get married, you will eventually have to clarify your identity and your spouse’s in front of various civil agencies, authorities or institutions of your country of residence, as well as your country of origin: consulates, embassies, prefecture, immigration services, etc.

The question these services basically ask is: “Who are you, you who want to marry  someone from our country?”  This question will obviously not be stated in such plain terms, but this question is the one that will stand in the background of the immigration and civil procedure which an inter-national couple will be required to comply with (a couple whose spouses not sharing the same nationality).

Future spouses and their relatives may underestimate this notion of “legal identity.”  Seldom do they realize initially that laws concerning citizenship and rights of residence for foreigners can have a significant impact on their relationship and status as a couple.  Some countries require complex legal procedures for integrating a foreigner in the case of a marriage with a national citizen.  The process is longer, more costly and frustrating than one expects. Civil administration may require papers that are difficult to obtain or the (costly) assistance of an attorney.  In the worse case, one spouse may lose his or her nationality by marrying someone from a different country, something that is rarely foreseen.

Such complexities are sometimes a shocking discovery for both the foreign and the national spouse and it will affect their wellbeing. When civil authorities and administration ask:  “Who are you, you who want to marry someone from our country?” the foreign spouse will possibly ask  out of frustration: “Will your country ever accept me?”

All intercultural couples, whose spouses do not share the same nationality, will be confronted at some point with legal procedures that can, at times, become legal obstacles. Consequently, early and romantic feelings of acceptance towards a new country may fade away when confronted with civil authorities. While the foreign spouse may have already made significant steps toward social integration or assimilation prior to his or her marriage (by learning the culture, the language or simply falling in love with the culture of his or her spouse), frustration and even feelings of rejection can quickly arise as he or she is relegated to the status of an alien among many others, and pushed to affirm a new identity in a foreign country. Legal identity as a necessary step underlines the conflict that may arise between social and legal integration.

QUESTIONS:

–       Are you proficient with the marriage procedure you must comply with if you marry a foreign spouse? Are you familiar with the visa you will apply for and the documentation you must present?

–       What are the identification requirements?

–       Are there any prior residence requirements in order to get married? Do you realize that, in some cases, you may not be allowed to travel overseas during the entire marriage procedure application and sometimes until you get official and permanent residency?

–       Does the country of residence require medical or blood tests?

–       Are there any specific rules and instructions for spouses who previously divorced?

–       Have you discussed with your spouse the worst case, which is if your visa may be denied?

Mon conjoint étranger face à l’administration civile de mon pays…

19/04/2013

iStock_000008290405Small

Un mariage interculturel est avant tout une rencontre entre cultures – et à partir de là, tout se décline… ou se complique. Parfois, il s’agit d’une rencontre entre deux cultures tribales, communautaires, régionales, nationales, parfois entre deux religions, enfin entre deux nationalités, ce dernier critère étant retenu par les statistiques officielles en France.  Ces couples « différents » que l’on appelle aussi franco-étrangers ou binationaux font face à de nombreux défis. Outre les difficultés communes à tout mariage, une fois passés la découverte de « l’autre » et l’exotisme de sa culture, le premier des défis sera de construire son identité conjugale. En effet, avant que deux personnes décident de s‘unir pour la vie, ils doivent prendre conscience des éléments qui forment leur identité qu’ils apportent dans leur relation. Se demander « Qui suis-je », « qu’est-ce qui est vraiment important pour moi ? » n’est qu’un point de départ. Alors ils regarderont à leurs différences culturelles mutuelles, les étudieront et les compareront. Alors enfin ils pourront décider des éléments de leur identité qu’ils vont garder, mettre de côté ou fusionner.[1]

Dans le cas de couples de nationalités différentes, cette question d’identité au sein du couple interculturel se posera d’abord devant les autorités civiles dans le cas d’un mariage. Chacun devra montrer qui il est, d’où il vient et, parfois même, démontrer et prouver la motivation de son amour envers l’autre. Tout ceci va être mis à l’épreuve par l’administration. Il s’agira de se marier au consulat ou à l’ambassade ou de faire valoir son mariage dans les services civils et administratifs du pays de chacun pour demander des visas et suivre une procédure… toujours trop longue et de plus en plus complexe. Objectifs : visa, carte de séjour, carte de résidence, carte verte… L’intitulé est différent mais l’objectif est le même : obtenir  des autorisations officielles de séjour pour vivre sereinement son couple et son mariage dans le pays de l’un ou de l’autre. Certaines associations s’investissent pleinement dans la défense et l’aide à l’intégration d’un conjoint étranger. Tel est le cas de l’association « Les amoureux au ban public »  qui n’avait pas hésité à interpeler les candidats à l’élection présidentielle sur le sujet.

Parfois, les époux ignorent avant leur union que les lois de leur pays d’origine exigeront des procédures complexes pour reconnaître leur mariage. Cela peut avoir des conséquences importantes sur leur vie de couple mais aussi, sur leur identité. Dans le pire des cas, certains devront même renoncer à  leur nationalité en se mariant avec un étranger. Ce n’est pas uniquement le fait de couples de nationalités différentes. En effet, il n’y a pas encore si longtemps de cela, se marier avec quelqu’un de « différent », d’une autre culture ou d’un autre groupe quel qu’il soit, était interdit comme ce fut le cas aux Etats-Unis jusque dans les années 70. Dans certains pays, encore aujourd’hui, lorsqu’une femme se marie à un étranger, les enfants de leur union ne seront pas officiellement reconnus : ils ne pourront avoir la nationalité de la mère, ne pourront pas bénéficier de certains droits sociaux et, parfois, même ne pourront pleinement hériter des biens de leurs parents.

La difficulté à obtenir un statut, un visa, une autorisation de séjour ou de travail aura un impact sur le sentiment d’intégration du conjoint étranger. Dans le cas où un statut légal est obtenu facilement, on se sentira accepté, bienvenu. Par contre, ceci est de moins en moins le cas. Souvent, le processus de régularisation est long et devient frustrant. Il est même parfois très couteux dans le cas où le couple doit faire appel à un avocat. Alors que l’étranger tombe parfois amoureux de son conjoint du pays et de la culture de celui-ci, les premiers sentiments romantiques peuvent alors vite se dissiper lorsque l’un des époux est renvoyé brutalement par l’administration à un statut d’étranger, un parmi les autres. Même lorsque l’intégration sociale précédait l’intégration légale, rien n’est joué dans un mariage interculturel.

QUESTIONS : Quelles sont les difficultés que vous avez vécues lors de votre mariage avec votre conjoint étranger ? Comment cela a affecté votre couple ? (Les témoignages seront approuvés par un modérateur)


[1] G. Shelling and J. Fraser-Smith, In Love but World’s Apart (Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2008). 47

RADIO INTERVIEW

02/03/2013

ACP_Today

I was invited last week for the live radio show of The American Church of Paris.I was thankful for the invitation and the experience. Everyone was very gracious and kind. However, at the end, I felt that I had much more to share. I actually prepared « for more. »  So, I returned to the original script I was given and thought of writing this post  with the information I meant to share but did not. Voilà:

INTERVIEWER: Good evening Jean-Christophe. Thanks for accepting our invitation. You assisted to a meeting of the ACP (American Church of Paris) multicultural group in order to deepen your research. Can you tell me more about that research?

JC: Good evening. I am currently a Ph.D candidate at King’s College University of London. I am  writing  a thesis on “Developing a Christian Theology for Ministering to Intercultural Couples” This thesis attempts to bring together the insights from several disciplines such as sociology, theology and psychology on the issue of intercultural marriage. By drawing on the research findings of these fields, I attempt to provide a resource that Christian clergy can use for informing their ministry to intercultural couples.

INTERVIEWER: You yourself are in a multicultural relationship. Was that one of the main reasons you wanted to pursue research on this topic? Did you feel that the Christian community did not take sufficiently in account your situation?

JC: My research came out of my pastoral experience in France. About 90% of the couples I was marrying in my  church in the business district of Paris were intercultural. As a pastor providing premarital counseling, I looked for pastoral ressources in French  for ministering to intercultural couples and… I found none!  Actually, even in English, there are few resources available from a Christian point of view for premarital counseling with intercultural couples. I called some friends who were pastors and asked them how they were doing counseling with these couples. They all answered that they were not doing anything specific. Their answer blew my mind. « So you are doing premarital counseling with French-African or French-Asian couples the same way as with French couples? » They did. Or rather, they did not take into account cultural differences and challenges in their premarital counseling. At that point I thought of doing more research on this subject and King’s College offered me the opportunity to do so. 

INTERVIEWER: What did you think about the ACP multicultural couples group? Do you think it can be a solution for multicultural couples or do you think, on the contrary, that more must be done for them by the Christian community?

JC: Research shows that intercultural couples need friendships – more often new friendships with couples like themselves. They are often isolated from their family of origin – sometimes rejected by them or simply far away from them. Intercultural couples need friends and usually, as research has shown, their friends tend also to be intercultural couples – people who share the same challenges. An author, Romano, wrote: “Such couples usually know how not to intrude and also can serve as sounding boards for one another, sharing the mutuality of problems not experienced by same-culture couples.” So, to come back to your question, intercultural couples’ fellowship groups like the ACP multicultural couples’ group are essential. It is a place of fellowship and laughter  but also support – and I mean mutual support. The ACP multicultural couples’ group is the first of its kind that meets on a monthly basis – I do not know any other churches that actually offer such a fellowship for intercultural couples even though there are more and more intercultural couples in France and… in the Church in general.

INTERVIEWER: What are often the biggest challenges for multicultural couples?

JC: The challenges are: 1. Facing my predisposition to marry someone from a different culture – why did I choose to marry someone different from me? (If you are honest with yourself – you will be honest with your spouse)  2. The definition and redefinition of adjustment patterns – how can we function together as an intercultural couple? (Is it about forgetting my culture and adopting a new one or a 50/50 agreement or compromise?) Someone wrote: “A marriage is a process in which two persons learn to live together and adjust to each other … When persons of different cultural backgrounds marry, their difficulties in adjusting to one another are far greater than for couples of the same culture. » 3. Facing daily cultural differences. A cultural difference can be new, exotic, even charming at first, but when you have to face it and deal with it everyday, it becomes a problem; a real problem, which over time can contaminate the couple’s well being and harmony. Cultural differences are numerous and complex – to name just a few: identity, gender roles, communication and language (beware of non-verbal communication), country of residence, food, time, and finances.

INTERVIEWER: Is there anything in their relationships that makes things easier instead of harder?

JC: Without hesitation, yes:  sharing the same religious beliefs. It is recognized even by secular psychologists as a factor of stability within marriage. Everyday, I mean everyday, I hear intercultural spouses struggling with religious differences. I have a whole chapter in my thesis on this subject. When couples do not share the same religious beliefs, great challenges are to be expected, regardless of how nice and kind  and willing each spouse is. Challenges arise very early in the relationship (religious wedding), when the couple has children (the issue of religious education), at the mid-life point (many people return to their religious beliefs when they are 50 – to the surprise of their spouse and children) and at the end of life. Sharing the same faith will actually help the couple talk, pray together and seek help from God and from their religious community. In the case of Christianity, at the heart of Christianity, there is something essential for intercultural marriages: the doctrine of forgiveness; forgiveness that is sought and forgiveness that is offered…

INTERVIEWER: What about when two people speak the same language, but are from two different countries?

JC:  Let me give you one example. I met a couple once from the French “Antilles” and from French-speaking Africa. Same language – even same faith, but actually great problems – even just before the wedding ceremony. The problem at stake was la dot,   dowry. She, being African, expected that he would offer a symbolic dowry to her parents. For her, dowry was about “how much value do I have for you”. But for him, who was born and raised in the Antilles, he rejected the dowry – it was nonsense! His line of argument was: “I don’t want to purchase you! You’re not a product!” Two great people, same language, same faith, but a major problem for them and their families.

INTERVIEWER: Are there certain pairing of certain nationalities that seem to work particularly well – or not?

JC: I do not think any pairing seems to work particularly well. Even when you are from the same culture  around 50% of French couples end with divorce. What works well is having a positive attitude and a  willingness to learn and being someone who is flexible and does not take himself or herself too seriously.

INTERVIEWER: Thanks again for this interview Jean-Christophe. We will further discuss this issue with Renata. But before doing that, I would just like to mention your website http://www.intercoupleculture.com that is full of useful information on and for multicultural couples.

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :