The playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, "The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished." Intercultural couples know this like no one else!
You may already be committed to an intercultural marriage, or you may be considering marrying a person from a different country, culture, or ethnicity. If so, these eight tips will empower you and your significant other to build a healthy, happy marriage on the firm foundation of Christ.
1. Communicate with grace. In Colossians 4:6, the apostle Paul wrote, "Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone." Be proactive about discussing your expectations, needs, and wants with each other. My husband, David, and I have discovered that it's always best to ask questions first, especially regarding important decisions, family matters, and emotionally charged issues. Don't assume that you know what your loved one will say or do in a particular situation. And keep in mind that important events and holidays can stir up trouble due to conflicting expectations and worldviews. One Korean woman, who is married to an American man, says, "Sometimes we have conflicting ideas about holidays, and I've learned to tell my husband what I expect ahead of time so that I'm not disappointed when he doesn't read my mind."
2. Discuss your finances and your goals for giving, spending, and saving. Be clear about your expectations regarding providing support for one or both families, as this is a common practice for intercultural couples. David and I have made many sacrifices in order to provide financially for his family, including waiting seven years to purchase a home and start our own family. But we've also gained blessings and rejoiced because we were able to help them with their needs. Pray together about your finances. Most important, establish a budget and stick to it. Hebrews 13:5 says, "Don't love money; be satisfied with what you have." Christian financial planning books like Your Money Map by Howard Dayton and The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey will help you navigate the budgeting process and create a practical plan for achieving financial freedom.1