Different Cultures


By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.

Our families are like unique cultures. Each culture has its own way of communicating, arguing, eating, sharing, and showing affection. Most cultures remain intact by passing along their nuances, habits, and sayings for hundreds of years, with only slight variations occurring within each generation. The same is true for families.

When two people get married, it can be like a clash of cultures. Each person brings to the relationship their own unique way of communicating and dealing with conflict. As the infatuation stage wears off in most relationships, awareness of those differences become more apparent. This is around the time when couples start asking questions like:

No matter how hard we try to be different from our families (mainly our parents), we will repeat many of their behaviors throughout our marriage. It is important for couples to discuss with each other how their families behave in different circumstances, and explore reasons why. Couples then need to talk about how they would like to handle things in their own relationship. This will most likely involve a lot of compromise and will be something that couples will work on throughout their marriage.

Part of having a meaningful and enjoyable marriage is having an awareness of each other's family culture. From there, couples can develop their very own unique way of communicating that incorporates positive aspects from both families, and hopefully filters out unwanted patterns.

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