When I first started dating my husband, I didn’t think a lot about our cultural differences. Sure some of them were pretty obvious, like the fact that I love to dance to music like salsa, cumbia, and merengue and he’s more of a country boy. But it wasn’t something that wouldn’t let me sleep at night.
In fact, those little differences were something exciting because it was something new, and the fact that we met in Montana didn’t make those differences that obvious because the amount of Hispanic population is really low so I had to adapt in order for me to “survive”.
So now, after being together for 4 years and having our first child, we’ve realized that our cultural differences have a certain impact on our marriage. Is not necessarily a bad impact, but the two of us had to change or compromise for certain things that probably if we had married to someone from our same culture, we wouldn’t’ have done.
The first thing that we had to adapt to was food. Everything related to the kind of food that we used to eat by ourselves and the time of the day that we used to do it has changed. For example:
- Our breakfast got heavier (not as heavy as brunch but we eat a good amount of food). In Mexico I was used to having a heavier breakfast because for us, breakfast is the most important meal for the day and here in the USA, I noticed that people tend to skip it. So we found an amount of food that would work for the two of us without overeating or feel hungry after eating breakfast.
- Dinner time starts later. In the USA, dinner time starts at 4 pm ( I guess because in most of the places they give you a huge amount of food that includes either soup or salad and your main course ) but again, we had to adjust because for me dinner was the lightest meal of the day and would start around 6 or 7 pm. So we both compromised with the amount of food again and now due to Jon’s work, we eat dinner around 8 pm.
- We celebrate more holidays. Mexico has about 16 statutory holidays (plus over 30 observances ) during the year, and the US has about 12 federal holidays. When we got married, we decided that we would celebrate those holidays that we liked the most and that we would have a family that will try to keep as many traditions from both sides as possible.
- Language barrier. My family and I are Spanish native speakers and my husband and his family only speak English. Hence, that’s something that affected us a little bit because most of the time I would have to be there with all the family to be the interpreter. Now, things haven’t changed a lot but at least Jon is able to understand a little bit more Spanish and that’s really good.
- Relationship with our parents. The relationship that I have with my mom it’s pretty close, I talk to her every day over WhatsApp or facebook and Jon talks to his parents as much as he considers it’s enough (about a couple times a month maybe).
After all, each relationship regardless of cultural differences needs love, comprehension, friendship, complicity, and compromise if you really want it to work.
It won’t be easy, but it’s worth it.