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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2005, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Question on multicultural homes

Has anyone here married or dated someone of a different culture or religion? The reason I am wondering is because my boyfriend is from a Muslim background, he is Kurdish. I was born in Canada and am from a Christian background. We have been together for 3 years, living together for 2 with really no problems. As most of you know, we went to England over Christmas to spend time with his family. I had never met them before. They are VERY nice people, however the culture difference is noticeable. Since we have returned home, we have done a lot of talking about the differences and what we want in the future. I am willing to compromise and he is too. I was just wondering if anyone has been in this situation before and how you handled it, and what the end result was! Thanks!

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2005, 04:37 PM
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Yep. My husband is half italian & half puerto rican and was raised Catholic, though he's now an atheist. I'm germanic and a practicing mormon. It's worked out really well for us. The obvious part is to be sensitive to one another's beliefs. The not-so-obvious part is to make a conscious effort to retain your beliefs and sense of self. It's very easy to forget yourself in these relationships.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2005, 06:30 PM
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I've kinda been in that situation. I am Catholic and my bf at the time was Pentacostal (denomination=First Assembly of God.) He and his family were so "wrapped up" in their religion. (I don't mean that to sound mean...I think it's good to be active in your religion but they were to the point of almost "cult" like.) I was willing to compromise (not ditching Catholicism but also realizing his views in his religion) but he was not willing to compromise and he ended up dumping me. I now see it was definently for the best!! My advice: Really evaluate your situatin before you get too deep into it. If one of you realizes your future will not allow a whole different culture and religion into your life, then get out of the relationship now. It'll only gets harder as you invest more and more in the realionship if one of you in the end won't be able to compromise.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2005, 06:54 PM
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My boyfriend is Mexican. We aren't religious in any way, shape or form. But, his family is Catholic and he was raised Catholic. I was never raised in any religion. Anyway.... religion plays no part in our relationship. I like his culture.... especially the food if you know what I mean!!!! His mom makes AMAZING tamales, and even though she lives 500 miles from us she occasionally sends them to us.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2005, 08:50 PM
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There's one thing what you guys are having together, where religion might not play a big part. But since you end up with each others families too, there might be some conflicts, especially if you marry and have children.

I don't have personal experience, but I've heard enough stories to make sure that you're on the same page before you start a family, etc. For instance, lets say your future inlaws will not accept that your children is not raised according to their religion? You future husband might not care at all, but can he stand his ground with his parents or will he give away from the pressure from his family? Same of course goes the other way, about your family.

And, what happens if you seperate? I know it's a odd thing to talk about before you even get married, but it's good to know, so you don't end up with a big conflict because of culture and religion. Of course you don't have to be of different culture or religion to end up with a nasty conflict about custody of the children etc, but it might be an added problem if you don't have the same background.

I know you don't pick your inlaws, but I think it's important especially if you're from different cultures and religion to talk about "what if's". I mean we all know that men are "mommy's boy" all the time... and add to that misunderstandings because of different backgrounds, it can be a real mess.

I find it very nice to have my inlaws an ocean away... even if they are pretty much like us here in Sweden. It's still a few things that "you just don't tell dear mother-in-law".
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2005, 09:30 PM
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I agree with the other posts. You have to be careful.

I was raised as an atheist (most of the people in Czech are either atheists or Catolic) and my husband is orthodox. I was baptized prior to our marriage and our marriage was in the orthodox church. I actually wanted to have a wedding in the church so it wasn't hard for me to go through all this - I'm glad I got baptized! I knew little bit about Catolic religion and I realized it's very close to Orthodox. So, I knew what I was going into.....

I think if my parents would be here it would get more complicated. They would maybe have arguments with my in-laws about me being baptized, etc.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2005, 11:11 PM
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Interracial marriage here. We've been together 15 years now. We agree on fundamental issues like religion, family, politics, children, and life, which makes for a more harmonious relationship. Especially when we're opposite ends of the spectrum in everything else, and we argue like .... cats and dogs.

Where religion was concerned, it was easier for us because we're both atheists. If you both have strong beliefs in different religions, a lot of compromise will be needed. Ranking and identifying principles which are non-negotiable, open for discussion, or voided is important. Like Annissa said, being sensitive to each other's beliefs is paramount.

As for cultural differences, we just learned to respect each other's way of doing certain things.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 09:36 AM
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My best friend comes from a Christian background while her husband is from Pakistan and is Muslim. They've been happy together for 7 years now by respecting eachothers rights for their own beliefs and finding other common ground. It hasn't been easy for them, though, by any means. She claims that while they love and adore eachother, this is a major obstacle for them. I suppose it just depends on your spiritual priorities and their importance to you (and your mate). Also, how willing both of you are to compromise and how it will affect your family (should you decide to have one) later. They faced some specific challenges adjusting to how the family unit would work, with him being of traditional Muslim beliefs and her being an independant woman. In short, he wanted her to stay home and inside with the kids while she prefered to be out and about staying busy. Most everyone has had some good advice. Best wishes in your relationship!

Elly May, critter mama to Mikko (Tux) and Jake (GS & Lab) Charlie now in forever home!

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 01:32 PM
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my boyfriend is jewish, i am not. it's not a big deal at all because neither of us believe in religion, but it sure makes the holidays easier. no fighting over who's family we spend them with! plus, i have discovered that i LOVE jewish food. mmmmm, latkes.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice! We have been doing a lot of talking about all the issues and it seems to be going well. As for inlaws....his family is also an ocean away, they all live in England and we in Canada. He is the only one of his family that resides here, and he loves it so much I know he would never want to move away. We have come to the agreement that I will not change my religion (as I do not want to), we will celebrate Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and all the other observable holidays that are important to my family and my traditions. I have agreed that if he wants, I will support him should he decide to do Ramadan since he's Muslim (though not practising at all!). Kids will be aware of both religions. I have already decided I want to stay home with my kids once they are born, so that isn't an issue!
I feel better now that we have done lots of talking, and compromising. Thanks for all the replies and advice!

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