Race, culture, and religion have a significant influence on how we see ourselves and what we bring into our relationships.
Intercultural relationships (and interracial couples) can face unique challenges as they struggle to navigate racial, religious, and cultural differences, which are often embedded deep within our identity, and difficult to articulate. This can include challenges from extended families, experiences of prejudice and discrimination, differing parenting approaches, differences with fundamental beliefs and identity.
Most romantic relationships often have some degree of cross-cultural differences as most couples come from different families and backgrounds. For some couples the differences will be easy to adjust to; however for others the differences in our customs and beliefs can become an issue. As a Melbourne based black therapist Jill understands the inherent loyalty to our families and cultures so when we are at odds with those of our partner we may feel we have to choose one over the other.
Some issues faced in intercultural relationships include:
• Loss of identity
• Language barriers
• Differing beliefs regarding gendered roles
• Differing religious/spiritual or core fundamental beliefs
• Situational stressors - political/financial/ legal (Eg. immigration/visa and employment issues)
• Long distance relationships
• Experiences of discrimination and racism
Benefits of couples therapy:
• Can help couples explore cultural differences
• Facilitate a greater understanding and acceptance of cultural experiences.
• Create a safe place to find middle ground, and negotiate a way forward based on empathy, understanding and compromise.