I have been wanting to write about multicultural relationships for a while, but I keep feeling blocked. I do not think that my relationship with my husband is particularly affected by the fact that we come from different cultures, or at least not as much as one might think.
What is it that really makes up culture? Of course nationality is important, but what about religion, political views, social class, whether you grew up in a city or not, who you were friends with growing up, and what kind of school you went to? The U.S. is so big and diverse in cultures that I can easily find other Americans who have a culture very different from my own.
Before I was openly dating my husband, I had a friend in Morocco tell me that her mother had advised her not to date someone from another culture. Her mother had said that marriage is hard enough, so you should not add cultural differences on top of that. To me this seems like a lazy approach to a relationship, and her statement ignores the fact that culture is not black-and-white.
There are certainly things that my husband and I do not have in common. He likes eating meat (with the bones!) more than I do. I like to always plan ahead and be on a schedule far more than he does. We don’t always have the same taste and we express ourselves differently. But in general, those differences complement one another.
Just the other day we ate an African dish at a restaurant, and he wordlessly spooned his vegetables onto my plate as I handed him the parts of the chicken that were attached to bones or skin. And I thought, what would we do without each other?