Just because a couple is from the same race and country does not mean that they have the same culture. Two people of entirely different races could marry each other and literally have more in common than 2 people from the same race. According to Wikipedia:
Culture is a word for people’s ‘way of life’, meaning the way groups do things. Different groups of people may have different cultures.
This country is so vast and such a mish mash of cultures, ideas and with layers and layers of individual tradition. Diversity can indeed exist in a household with two African American people who have chosen to join their lives together. That being said, it’s easy to understand how a small town Black girl from Indiana, like me, who was raised Lutheran was unable to fully relate to my husband’s customs and traditions at the beginning of our marriage.
Hailing from Metro Detroit, my husband comes from a large family (8 kids) and was raised by both parents. His mom and dad were married for 50+ years. He was raised Baptist. Meanwhile, I was raised by a single mother and have one sister. I went to private school. He went to public school. We both went to college – -me on scholarship to a Big Ten University and him to technical school to learn a trade. Having such drastically different backgrounds was an issue early on from everything to the food we ate to the church we attended.
See, just because we were both Christians, didn’t mean that we would prefer the same church. I was used to hour long services that began and ended timely without incident or fanfare. Going to church with him was like going to a circus as far as I was concerned. And he thought my church was boring.
In his family, they all sat down to dinner together. In mine, we grabbed a plate and ate anywhere in the house. In his family, his mom stayed home and was there to greet them every day after school. In my family, we came home to an empty house while our mom worked two jobs.
I came from a family ruled for generations by women…He comes from a family of men. We lived for a time in a huge house with just a few people…They grew up in one small house with a jillion people.
The list goes on… there were just so many differences. But somehow, we have been able to build a stable life together, joining our two individual cultures. And we are now creating our own traditions with our kids. I just wish we had insight beforehand.
Here are just a few tips to make the transition to your happily ever after a bit easier.
- Take the time prior to marriage to really get to know your mate. ie: learn not just where they grew up but how they grew up.
- Talk about what traditions are important to them by discussing things like religion and holiday celebrations.
- Be willing to compromise in areas where your cultures differ.
If you think that because you unite with someone that LOOKS like you that you will share the same traditions and values, then you better think again.
There are many newlyweds who do not know this and they start their marriage journey off with conflict and unfair expectations. There are differences and similarities within all unions. Start your lives together by embracing your differences and celebrating your similarities while creating new and unique traditions of your own.
BMWK – In what ways does your culture or traditions differ between you and your mate?